Believe it or not, but I do occasionally get asked what's up with naming my production company "Starving Kappa Pictures." While I'm far from a fratboy, many people assume it has something to do with a fraternity I must have attended (and been unceremoniously expelled from). Truthfully, any friend of mine would be wise to realize that if I named my production company after a frat I didn't attend, it would be "Delta Tau Chi" or "Tri-Lamb Productions."
No, the real story behind my production company is far geekier (but a little less gay) than a bunch of drunk dudes sharing a communal bathroom, giving man-hugs, and slapping each other on the ass. That IS what happens in frats, right?
The Kappa is a ghoulish little Yokai (creature from Japanese mythology) who has a scaly, ape-like body encased in a turtle's shell and a pool of water vital to its survival sitting atop its beaked head. Amazingly smart, they supposedly taught humans how to set bones and have perfect etiquette, even though bowing will cause the water atop their head to spill out, grievously weakening - and sometimes even killing - the little guys.
A sign in Japan actually warning young swimmers about the dangers of Kappas.
But here's where it gets good. The Kappa also has one other quirk. Its favorite food is human innards - and since Kappas live underwater, the easiest way to grab a quick snack is by swimming up underneath a wary victim, attaching its mouth to their anus, and sucking out their guts.
Yes, their guts. Through their anus.
An instructional 1881 woodcut, explaining that a well-aimed fart will repel a hungry Kappa. Seriously.
And while Kappas adore this particular intestinal indulgence, there's one food they love even more: the cucumber. For this reason, people in ancient Japan would oftentimes swim with a cucumber attached to their belt - or throw one in (with their name written on it, no less!) before entering the water. This also explains why those tasty cucumber rolls you order at your local sushi place are called Kappa-maki. Really.
Kappa-maki. Made with cucumber, not anus.
So, always rooting for the underdog, my production company pays tribute to all of the starving Kappas out there who sadly can't find a single butt to suck. My heart goes out to you, guys. Good luck on your hungry little journeys.
And look on the bright side, in America, all we've got is Bigfoot. And he doesn't eat ass.