Kappa flyers seeking witness reports posted in Iwate

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Takayuki Urano holds a flyer asking for information on kappa sightings, in Tono, Iwate Prefecture, on Wednesday.

MORIOKA —“We are looking for kappa.”

“About 60 centimeters tall, sex unknown.”

Flyers designed like wanted posters and bearing these words have been posted at tourist facilities in Tono, Iwate Prefecture. The plea for information on sightings of mythical water imps called kappa has got people talking.

The kappa is an imaginary creature featured in “Tono Monogatari” (“The Legends of Tono”), an early 20th century collection of local tales. But local people claim one was last sighted in the city in July 1974 at a river in the Tsukimoushi district.

The flyer shows a composite imitating a police sketch that was drawn made by an artist based on witness reports. It does not have the bald spot on the head that is generally depicted, and its entire body is covered with hair.

Tono Furusato Shosha, semi public organization in Tono, made about 3,000 flyers in July and distributed them at tourist facilities.

Denshoen Park, an open-air museum, also posted a picture of the flyer on Twitter. The unusual portrayal of a kappa has met with general approval, with one individual saying, “Unlike the cute kappa character, this one is very realistic.”

So far, no reliable sightings have been reported. Takayuki Urano, 48, who hatched the idea for the flyers, said, “I hope people will visit Tono, where one feels as if a kappa might just pop up on you.”