Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Tag: japan

Fred Patten on mythical creatures and Happy Science of Japan.

by Patch O'Furr

From the archive: Fred Patten, who passed away in late 2018, was a furry fandom founder who was also key for importing anime to the USA in the 1970’s and preparing it for English speaking audiences. As a historian and fan, Fred spoke to fellow researchers overseas. This led to discussing obscure traditions and customs. Occasionally they would come up about stories he was considering, but were too footnotey to add to the main articles. Below is the first of two interesting side topics, Happy Science of Japan. Coming next is Mandaean religion of Iraq, with 60-70,000 members worldwide. Fred suggests its mythology could be “a whole new area for furry artists and writers”. – Patch

From a story by a Japanese reporter about a visit to a 1994 “Happy Science” ceremony at age 15. The religious leader, riding on a dragon stage prop, ranted about a Japanese term for pornography which reveals the hair of a woman’s nether-regions.

Fred’s Happy Science story (6/25/15)

Dear Patch;

I don’t think I’ve ever told you about my encounter with the Happy Science religion.

This is more anime than furry-related.

Around 1995, give or take five years, I was contacted by a Japanese group.  They had just released an animated theatrical feature in Japan that was #1 at the box office for two weeks, and they were trying to get U.S. distribution for it.  They were about to have a Japanese-community screening of an English-subtitled print.  Did I want to attend it?  I did.

Read the rest of this entry »

Netflix’s Aggretsuko: “We Wish You A Metal Christmas” Special was a Yuletide Treat – by Tempo

by Patch O'Furr

Welcome to Tempe O’Kun, author of Paranormal Furry Romanceanthropomorphic-animal Westerns, and a frequent guest of the site.

The smash-hit furry anime Aggrestuko that came out April 2018 is already slated for a second season, but we got a Yuletide treat: a Christmas special. Read the rest of this entry »

Monster Party Cafe opens in Japan – the first permanent furry-themed business?

by Patch O'Furr

It’s fun to go to themed places that make you feel like you’re in a movie. There’s Speakeasy and Tiki bars, or even Horror and Clown themed bars. For a spooky time, try The Jeckyl and Hyde Club in NYC, Donnie Dirk’s Zombie Den in Minneapolis, or Lovecraft Bar in Portland, Oregon. How about a visit to Toontown?

For some people, it’s more than fun. Night life is real life. Some places support subculture or identity like Gay and Leather bars.

Why not a furry bar? It’s a half-joke/half-suggestion I’ve been making for years. One night a month, you can do dances like Frolic in San Francisco, Foxtrot in Denver, Tail! Party in Long Beach, or Howl Toronto.  But what if there was a place to be your furry self almost any night?

There have been a lot of “fandom firsts” in a short while – some good, some bad. There was the first mainstream-accessible furry movie and the first Furry political scandal.  Now, new ground has been broken by a permanent establishment with a furry theme. It’s an idea that could go much farther, but take a look.

Read the rest of this entry »

Spirit Hunters Book 3: Tails High, by Paul Kidd – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

51jdimr-pplSpirit Hunters. Book 3: Tails High, by Paul Kidd. Illustrated.
Raleigh, NC, Lulu.com/Perth, Western Australia, Kitsune Press, September 2016, trade paperback $26.59 (423 pages), Kindle $7.90.

Here are four more of Paul Kidd’s witty tales of the Sacred Isles, the land of Japanese mythology; about a hundred pages apiece. The Spirit Hunters are a quartet who venture throughout mythical Japan hunting inimical yōkai (supernatural spirits) to exorcise or kill them. They are Lady Kitsune nō Sura, a fox woman, and her companion Tsunetomo Tonbo, a huge human samurai, who hope to be paid for their services; Asodo Kuno, a young low-ranking human samurai who has joined them to gain a reputation and higher status; and Nezumi nō Chiri, a shy rat-spirit who Sura has invited to join them. Sura and Chiri, and any other animal-people who the quartet meet, can shift among three forms: human except for animal ears and tail; anthropomorphic, looking human but with an animal head, full fur or feathers, and tail; and fully animal but still able to talk.

Book 3: Tails High is a bit darker than the first two. The first tale is light, but it turns ominous in its final paragraphs. These four are set a little later than 900 or 1000 A.D. The Emperor is faced by rising powerful regional lords (daimyō). He must decide whether to fight to retain his authority and have the Sacred Isles rent by civil war, or to appoint a warlord as his supreme general – his shogun – and submit to becoming a mere figurehead. We know how this turned out in our Japan. But in the Sacred Isles, with the Spirit Hunters’ aid …?

Book 3 contains the Eighth through Eleventh Encounters. In “Eighth Encounter: The Art of Being Koi …”, the Spirit Hunters come to an entire community of friendly animal-spirits:

“The main house had a great, broad porch shaded by a maple tree. A fine maiden dressed in white priestess’ robes sat in the shade, comforting a desolate young wife.

The weeping young woman was startlingly beautiful. Skin covered in magnificent golden scales, her face was that of a golden carp, with a delicately fanned fish-tail peeking out beneath her robes. Utterly exhausted from weeping, the carp spirit’s long sleeves were wet with tears.” (p. 26)

Read the rest of this entry »

Kitsune-Tsuki / Kitsune-Mochi, by Laura VanArendonk Baugh – book reviews by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten

51Q9XT9YgZL._SY346_Kitsune-Tsuki, by Laura VanArendonk Baugh
Indianapolis, IN, Æclipse Press, September 2012, trade paperback $4.99 (v + 96 pages), Kindle $1.99.

Kitsune-Mochi, by Laura VanArendonk Baugh
Indianapolis, IN, Æclipse Press, October 2013, trade paperback $8.99 (xiii + 291 pages), Kindle $2.99.

Are Baugh’s Kitsune Tales Books 1 and 2 anthropomorphic or not? It’s impossible to tell until about halfway through Kitsune-Tsuki, defined in the glossary as “state of being possessed by a fox spirit”.

These two books are set in Heian Japan, the historical period from 794 to 1185 A.D. This was the period of the most formal Imperial courts, and when the belief in Shintoism, Buddhism, and Taoism were at their height. The imperial court’s most influential courtiers may have been the onmyōji, the practitioners of soothsaying, divination, astronomy, and other forms of fortune-telling. Hardly anyone, from the emperor to his concubines to their servants, did anything without checking with an onmyōji first to find out whether it would result in good luck or bad luck. The most famous onmyōji was Abe no Seimei (921-1005), who was believed to also be a powerful wizard. See the 2001 Japanese feature Onmyōji (it’s on YouTube) about Abe no Seimei as a good wizard battling evil onmyōji trying to destroy the emperor.

This was also the period when belief in ghosts, demons, and shapechanging spirits was at its height, including belief in nine-tailed kitsune (foxes) and fox-spirits possessing people. The insane were believed to be possessed by a fox-spirit. So in Kitsune-Tsuki a short novella or even a novelette), belief in fox spirits is not necessarily a fantasy about their reality. But yes, unmistakable fox-spirits do finally appear.

Tsurugu no Kiyomori is an onmyōji called to the court of Naka no Yoritomo, a powerful daimyō (regional lord) with a court rivaling the emperor’s.

“Naka no Yoritomo believed that a local kitsune meant to work mischief upon him or his new wife, Fujitani no Kaede. There had been strange incidents in the countryside of late, with objects of value disappearing and irrational stories offered by confused laborers for missing goods and missing hours. There had even been a recent case of kitsune-tsuki in the farmers’ village below, a poor young girl possessed by a fox spirit and driven to madness.” (pgs. 2-3)

Read the rest of this entry »

Did the Axis Have Any Funny Animals? – WWII history from Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.  

  • SEE BOTTOM: At Fred’s request, a gallery of rare book illustrations from Van den Vos Reynaerde was scanned for this post by the UCRiverside Library.
  • Animal fables traditionally tell morals – this article shows a historically fascinating misuse of anthropomorphism for fascist and Social Darwinist goals.
  • “Dear Patch; This is basically rewritten from my article for Flayrah, Retrospective: Talking Animals in World War II Propaganda.

Did the Axis Have Any Funny Animals?

Yes. Whether the Nazis and Italians did is technically debatable, but the Japanese certainly did.

(Oops! I am reminded that many younger people today do not know what “the Axis” was. “The Enemy” during World War II. Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy signed a mutual defense treaty on October 25, 1936 that Italy’s Benito Mussolini described in a speech on November 1 as putting Europe on a Rome-Berlin axis. Imperial Japan joined in 1937. On September 27, 1940, Germany, Italy, and Japan signed a Tripartite Pact and formally declared themselves the “Axis powers”. They were joined during the next month by Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia. “The Axis” during World War II meant Germany, Italy, Japan, and their allies.)

There were more funny animals assigned to them by American cartoonists for anti-Axis propaganda than there were of their own. The best-known today are probably the Leon Schlesinger/Warner Bros. animated short cartoons The Ducktators and Scrap Happy Daffy, and MGM’s Blitz Wolf.

In The Ducktators, directed by Norm McCabe and written by Melvin Millar, released on August 1, 1942, Adolf Hitler and the Nazis are ducks, Benito Mussolini is a goose, and “the Jap” (a stereotypical “Jap”) is presumably also a duck (although he looks more like a coot).

Read the rest of this entry »