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Last Updated:11.27.06

A Kappa on a cucumber (Piggott, 67).

Much like the tengu, the Kappa are more a periphery presence within Japanese myth rather than major players. Juliet Piggott describes them as "furless, monkey-like creature[s] living in rivers, ponds and lakes and feeding on the blood of drowned victims" (67). Though they seem ghastly at first sight, Kappa are far from completely evil. Piggott continues by saying "The Kappa is a creature of more intelligence than the oni [demon] and is by no means wholly malevolent, in that it can be placated by man and has been known to impart certain skills" (65).

(Piggott, 67).

In the original two Pokemon games (Red Version and Blue Version), released in the United States in the fall of 1998, players were introduced to a number of unique, fantastical creatures around which the games revolved. One Pokemon character in particular--Golduck--is influenced in part by Kappa, a detail the creators made readily known.

The Pokemon Golduck, which bears similarities to Kappa (Pokemon Red..., np).

As players capture different Pokemon, the creatures' information becomes stored in a Pokedex--a sort of Pokemon encyclopedia. In the Red/Blue versions of the Pokedex, Golduck was described as "Often seen swimming elegantly by lake shores. It is often mistaken for the Japanese monster, Kappa" (np). Later, the Crystal Version of Pokemon informed players that Golduck "swims gracefully along on the quiet, slow-moving rivers and lakes of which it is so fond" (np). Both descriptions cast Golduck as a water-based creature, much like Kappa, and the first entry actually makes a direct comparison with the mythical goblin. Golduck, however, is never known for vampirism of any sort, and it likewise doesn't drag hapless prey into the watery depths to drown. Also, though Golduck doesn't impart any particular skills to other in-game characters (such as bone-setting, which Piggott also describes), players are allowed to make use of the Pokemon's inherent talents once it's tamed, such as swimming and using water-based attacks on rival Pokemon creatures.