Tanuki (狸; タヌキ) refers to either the subspecies of raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides viverrinus) native to Japan or the species known as Nyctereutes procyonoides. Different subspecies of raccoon dogs have either a prefix before tanuki, called by their native name, or known by their scientific name. Tanuki are usually represented with large bellies, which they may beat on like a drum. The males are also often depicted with infamously large "balls," which are meant to represent financial fortune.
Bake-danuki (化け狸, "monster raccoon dog") is the youkai form of the tanuki in Japanese folklore; in addition to shapeshifting into humans, bake-danuki can transform into objects such as trees or teapots. Leaves are often a component to the tanuki's shapeshifting magic, and bake-danuki would often fool merchants by paying them with leaves disguised as paper money. Like the maneki neko, tanuki are believed to represent good fortune, and they are often associated with precious metals.
Tanuki in Touhou
Bake-danuki are very common youkai in Gensokyo much like how the Raccoon Dogs as a whole are a successful species throughout East Asia and to many introduced areas. Tanuki appear to be the first culprit for minor events such as Reisen being mistaken for one by Reimu Hakurei during her travel to earth in Silent Sinner in Blue.
Characters under this Bestiary
- Wikipedia entry for Tanuki
- Wikipedia entry for Bake-danuki
- Wikipedia entry for Japanese Raccoon Dog
- Wikipedia entry for Raccoon Dog (Japanese)
- Obakemono entry for Tanuki