The fifth in Hasegawa’s folktale series, Kachi-Kachi Mountain (Kachikachi yama), was illustrated by Sensei Eitaku and translated by David Thompson. The story stems from oral tradition and explains the origins of tanuki, also known as the badger, in this specific story. This is one of the few stories that portray the tanuki as the villain. According to Suchi, the first and second portions of the story were originally separate but were combined some time during the Edo Period (1600-1868)… [I]n some versions the trickster is represented by a wolf or a monkey” (Kodansha Vol. 4, 100).
The plot is about a badger who terrorizes a farmer, his wife, and his land. The farmer finally becomes fed up with all of the badger’s mischief and creates a trap to catch the pesky rodent. After successfully catching the badger, the farmer tells his wife to prepare the badger for supper. Once the farmer leaves, the badger begins to beg the wife for mercy, saying he will make dinner if she lets him go. She accepts the deal and the moment the badger is free, it kills the farmer’s wife, puts her into the soup, and assumes her form. The farmer, upon his return, eats the stew and the badger reveals his devious plot. The farmer then asks his friend, the rabbit, for assistance in attaining vengeance for his wife’s murder. The rabbit puts the badger through a series of torturous trials and finally finishes the badger by drowning him.
Kachi Kachi Mountian conveys the moral of Karma through the lesson that every action has an equal reaction.. The badger exemplifies this lesson by first stealing from the farmer then getting captured. When it uses trickery and violence to escape its previous punishment, it is tortured and killed.
Exhibition Created by: D. Abelson and R. Glantz