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TOP > Newsletter > back Number Vol.1

SAGEMONOYA Newsletter back Number Vol.1

The Badger’s Bellydrum ~ Tanuki no Haratsuzumi

The Japanese badger, or Tanuki as it is known in the Netsuke world, is a subject known to bring luck to the owner because “Tanuki” (狸 Japanese raccoon dog) is pronounced likewise as “ tanuki” (他抜き to exceed or stand out from others). Without knowing the Japanese language, such context may not come across one’s mind naturally…

Tanaka Minko (田中岷江) and his pupils Kokei (虎渓) and Shuko (周江) are some of the renowned carvers of Tanuki Netsuke during the Edo period.

The style of this family, as shown in the photograph, depicts two Tanuki with bulging stomach and a raised paw . This is a popular Netsuke design,“Tanuki no haratsuzumi” (the badger’s bellydrum).

Badger Netsuke Wood Signed MINKO 31㎜

Badger Netsuke Wood Signed KOKEI 32㎜

Like “fukura suzume” inflated sparrow, “fukura” (inflated, pudgy) leads to “fukura” (福良 good fortune). The bellydrumming composition is considered to have derived from the Chinese idiom ” kofuku gekijyo” (鼓腹撃壌 to beat full stomach whilst stamping and singing to rejoice world peace).

However, the real life Tanuki are prone to a difficult situation as they are compelled to search food out of their territory, leading to ravaging farms. I just cannot but pray so we may continue to coexist in harmony with our unique endemic species…

Oh how lovely those Tanuki look at the time of the year as they start to store fat looking pudgy and round!

SAGEMONOYA Newsletter back Number