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Suiko Koryaku
The 7th year of Tenpo (1836)
Writer: Touan Koga

  “Suiko” in the title is written in kanji as “tiger of the water” and means kappa, a mischievous riversprite. Information about kappas was gathered from all over Japan and this investigation was added to these Edo era research documents. This book from the latter half of the Edo era is a copy of the original. The original was compiled by Touan Koga, a follower of Confucianism and a teacher of the Shoheizaka school of the shogunate. Touan Koga’s disciples from the shogunate scoured the country to hear from people who had experiences with kappa and that information plus articles gathered from Japanese and Chinese literature was added to this book. Furthermore, the many added sketches of captured and witnessed kappas were done by Tanshu Kurimoto who was a famous natural historian and doctor from Edo castle.
 This is a figure of a kappa which hung in a net in Mito in the first year of Kyowa. The height is 3 shaku 5 sun. That means it was a little more than 1 meter. The chest is swollen and the neck is thick and short. On its head, a plate and on its back, a shell, are drawn.
 This is a kappa found in the area currently known as Fukuoka. Fine hair, like that of a monkey, grows all over the body. It is written that they understand human words, like sumo and try to avoid being seen by people. Notice a shell is not drawn on the back of this one.
 The kappa caught in Honjo of Edo during the time of Meiwa has a height of 2 shaku. In other words it is about 60 centimeters. Something like bog moss grows all over the whole body and it is said to be slippery like a catfish.
 Tanshu guessed that kappa were a kind of mountain or river spirit from information in the ancient Chinese books, “Setsumon” and “Enanji” and from Japan, “Yamato Honsou”. Top class scholars were eager to exchange research across the country, not only on kappa, but also rare and unknown animals and plants. Through this book we can see the view of nature of Japanese during the Edo era at a time shared with an unknown creature, the kappa.