Why “Tanuki” Raccoon Dog Figures?

By Yoshi, November 9, 2010

We could see “Raccoon Dog” figures in front of some shops and houses in Japan.

What are they for?

They are a kind of charm.
“Tanuki(たぬき)” has two meaning. one is “Japanese raccoon dog”, the other ( is short for “Ta wo nuku(たをぬく,他を抜く)” means “be better (than others)”. it’s a literal translation. Simply put, it means “luck in Business, good fortune”.
It seems people place a “Raccoon Dog” figure in their shop as a lucky charm to increase his business and place it in front of their house to bring them good fortune.

These figures are mainly made in Shigaraki area, Shiga Prefecture (next to Kyoto prefecture). Shigaraki kiln is one of ‘The Six Old Kilns’ in Japan.
When “Showa” empire visited there, he made up a Japanese poem about “Raccoon Dog” figures. With his poem, These figures are well known in Japan.

Anyway, “Raccoon Dog with sake bottle” figures looks cute, don’t they?