a mythical Japanese animal looking something like a raccoon. They often appear in games, where the word is usually translated to raccoon (examples: Kikikaikai/Pocky and Rocky, Goemon). Statues of them are often placed outside stores to bring luck.
A creature native to Japan that is similar in appearance to a raccoon, and are sometimes referred to in anime and manga as 'raccoon dogs'. In Japanese folklore Tanuki are believed to have shape shifting abilities, something which is often represented in anime and manga. Pronounced ‘tah-noo-kee'.
(Nyctereutes procyonoides). These canid species native to Japan are N. p. viverrinus, the (ordinary) Japanese racoon dog and N. p. albus, the white variety found on HokkaidÅ. Tanuki have been part of Japanese mythology since ancient times.