Have you ever noticed a statue of a raccoon dog in front of many houses and restaurants while walking through the streets of Japan?
With their large, round bellies and big, circular eyes, these adorable (or weird?) guys are called tanuki. They are a beloved icon of Japan, and popularly crafted as Shigaraki ceramic wares in the pottery capital of Shiga Prefecture, Japan. The tanuki is a symbol of good luck and fortune. One of the reasons for this is because the word "tanuki" is said to mean "lucky."
Contemporary Tanuki are creatures of wealth and whimsy; symbols of prosperity seen outside many temples, shops and restaurants. These vintage statues of modern day Tanuki were designed by Shigaraki potter, Tetsuzo Fujiwara, in the early 1950s (Showa Era). They embody these 8 virtues:
1 Big Hat = protection against trouble
2 Big Eyes = perception for decisions
3 Sake Bottle = virtue
4 Big Tail = steadiness until wealth is attained
5 Big Testicles = financial luck
6 Promissory Note = trust
7 Big Belly = bold decisions
8 Friendly Smile