A drawing of a Kappa supposedly caught in 1836.
Gender Both, usually male
Region Japan
Habitat Bodies of water
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Diet Livers, cucumbers

A Kappa is an amphibious imp that dwells in lakes, ponds and streams. It resembles a young boy with a turtle shell on its back, webbed hands and feet, and green skin. The Kappa emerges from its watery home to prey upon livestock, as well as the occaisional young human. It prefers to feast on the liver, which it will either pull or suck out through the anus.

Its most distinctive feature is its bowl-shaped head, in which lies a thick liquid that is the source of its power. Upon encountering this creature, the best defence is to bow deeply to it. Out of politeness, it will bow back and spill the liquid from its head. This gives the human a chance to escape while it is too weak to give chase. Alternatively the human may refil the bowl with water, which in some stories compels the Kappa to serve the human out of gratitude.

While Kappa are often malicious, they will sometimes help or make deals with humans. One of its favorite foods (besides young humans) is cucumber, and if humans inscribe their names on a cucumber thrown into the nearby lakes or rivers, the Kappa living there will not harm them. They will also obey any promise they make, even if they realize they have been tricked.

Once a Kappa was trying to pull the liver out of a cow, when the cow suddenly ran off and took the Kappa's arm with it. When the Kappa caught up to the cow, it found that the farmer had taken the arm and asked for it back. The farmer was not inclined to give the creature its arm, so the Kappa promised to teach him how to set bones in exchange. The farmer agreed, and became a great doctor who passed on the knowledge to the rest of mankind.


Nintendo's Mario francise features a common enemy known as the Koopa Troopa, which was based off of the Kappa.