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Not surprisingly, this ongoing mixture of traditions makes it difficult to identify the origins of these “syncretic” deities.

This difficulty is compounded by the lack of Shintō artwork or written records prior to the 8th century.

Some believe the Kappa, who didn’t appear as a popular icon until much later in the Edo Period (1615-1868), is none other than the river deity Kawa no Kami Kawatarō (aka Kappa)Appeared in the Wakan Sansaizue,和漢三才図会, circa 1713, a 105-volume encyclopedia complied by Terajima Ryōuan 寺島良安.

This drawing is considered to be Japan’s earliest illustration of a kappa. Kappa are Japanese flesh-eating water imps who live in rivers, lakes, ponds, and other watery realms.

In many localities, drowning is still referred to as 尻子玉 (lit. The shirikodama is a mythical ball at the mouth of the anus.

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It attacks horses, cattle, and humans, usually dragging its prey into the water, where, according to various legends, it feeds on their blood, or drains their life force, or pulls out their livers through their anuses, or sucks out their entrails, leaving nothing behind except a hollow gourd.Gabi Greve One of the most curious forms of Suijin is said to manifest itself inside sewage water. Gabi Greve, a long-time resident of Japan: "When we remodeled our old Japanese farmhouse, we had to do something about the old toilet.It was just a small pond in the ground, with two beams over it where you had to balance real hard while performing your job. The local carpenter decided to drain the sewage water, fill the hole up with earth, and level it with the rest of the ground.After the water was drained, a pipe was stuck in the hole before it was filled up, so that Suijin-sama, who might have been trapped inside, could find a way out." Gabi-san also discovered a web site (no long online) claiming that this toilet-water Suijin takes the form of good bacteria -- bacteria that cleanses the water for reuse in the soil. , women have played an important role in the history of Suijin worship in Japan.However, with the great influx of Korean and Chinese people into Japan starting around the 2nd century AD, and with the subsequent introduction of Buddhism in the 6th century, Japan’s many indigenous water kami began to slowly absorb attributes from these emigrants and from Buddhism.

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    Some say the best time to go in is any time after 1 am, but whenever you get there, you’ll find a fun, mixed crowd.