Home Podcasts Ichimon Japan What is the best Japanese name for a bear that isn’t actually a bear? (About Hole Bears, Bag Bears & More) | Ichimon Japan 35

What is the best Japanese name for a bear that isn’t actually a bear? (About Hole Bears, Bag Bears & More) | Ichimon Japan 35

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A cute drawing of a koala head can be seen. On the top left is the Ichimon Japan logo. On the bottom left there is text reading "hole bears, bag bears & more."

On this episode of Ichimon Japan we once again ask: What is the best Japanese name for a bear that isn’t actually a bear?

Topics Discussed

  • Japanese names of animals that have “kuma” in them but are not actually bears
  • What an anaguma is
  • How you say badger in Japanese
  • What a mujina is
  • What honey badger is in Japanese
  • What fukuroguma are
  • What the word fukuro means
  • What “bag bears/pouch bears” are
  • How you say marsupial in Japanese
  • What a kinoborifukuroguma is
  • How you say koala in Japanese
  • What a “bag/pouch wolverine” is
  • Japanese terms used to refer to the tasmanian devil
  • What wolverine is in Japanese
  • The 1984-85 spike in popularity that koalas experience in Japan (a.k.a. the Japanese koala boom of the mid-80s)
  • The 1984 anime Fushigi na Koara Burinkī (ふしぎなコアラ ブリンキー, Noozles, The Wondrous Koala Blinky)
  • The 1984 anime Koara Bōi Kokkī (コアラボーイコッキィ, Adverntures of the Little Koala)
  • What a komoriguma is
  • What a shirokuroguma is
  • What the wamei (native Japanese term) for panda is
  • Whether pandas are bears or raccoons
  • Rilakkuma
  • The theory that Rilakkuma is actually a man in a full body costume (kigurumi)
  • How you say raccoon in Japanese
  • What araiguma literally means
  • Whether the name “washing bear” is an accurate name for a raccoon
  • Do raccoons actually wash their food before they eat it?
  • A funny Japanese video showing a raccoon trying to wash cotton conday only to see it dissolve in water
  • What the earliest documented case of raccoons escaping activity in Japan appears to be
  • The 1977 anime Araiguma Rasukaru (あらいぐまラスカル, Rascal the Raccoon) and the raccoon craze it helped spark in Japan
  • The explosion in the raccoon population that happened as a consequence of Japanese people who tried to keep raccoons as pets realizing that raccoons do not make good pets
  • The 1964 children’s book Rascal: A Memoir Sterling North
  • The irony of how Araiguma Rasukaru made people want to get pet raccoons
  • The raccoon problem that Japan has been experiencing for the past few decades
  • Raccoons damaging crops, temples, shrines and other property
  • Efforts to get the raccoon population under control in Japan
  • A recent team up between Araiguma Rasukaru and Demon Slayer (Kimetsu no Yaiba)
  • The best name for a non-bear bear
  • How you say “procyonid family” in Japanese
  • And much more!

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And it goes without saying that if you sign up, you’ll also get my undying gratitude. Thanks in advance!

Sources, Links, Videos, Etc.

Here’s some of the English-language sources used in this episode.

Here are the Japanese language sources used.

If you would like to see images of the team-up between Demon Slayer and Rascal the Raccoon, click on the link below.

This is episode one of Fushigi na Koara Burinkī (The Wondrous Koala Blinky, Noozles).

Here is the Japanese opening song of Koara Bōi Kokkī (Adventures of the Little Koala).

Here’s the Japanese video of the raccoon dipping cotton candy into water.Cotton Candy

Here’s a Japanese news reprt about problems being caused by raccoons in the Tokyo area. The video shows a raccoon who had started living in the ceiling of someone’s house.

Here is episode one of the anime Araiguma Rasukaru (Rascal the Raccoon).

To check out the episodes of Ichimon Japan that were mentioned in this episode, use the links below.

To listen to the latest episode of Japan Station, use the link below.

If you would like to check out the Kimito Designs shop, then use the link below.

Use the link below to get your very own Tree Climbing Bag Bear Koala shirt.

Japanese Vocabulary List

Most episodes feature at least one or two interesting Japanese words or phrases. Here’s some of the ones that came up on this episode. All information is from Jim Breen’s WWWJDIC.

  • Kuma
    • クマ : 熊 【くま(P); クマ(P)】 (n) bear (any mammal of family Ursidae)
  • Anaguma
    • アナグマ : 穴熊; 貛 【あなぐま; あなくま; アナグマ】 (n) (1) (uk) badger
  • Fukuro
    • 袋 : 袋(P); 嚢 【ふくろ】 (n) (1) bag; sack; pouch
  • Kuzuri
    • クズリ : 屈狸; 貂熊 【くずり; クズリ】 (n) (uk) wolverine (Gulo gulo); glutton; carcajou
  • Araiguma
    • アライグマ : 洗い熊; 洗熊; 浣熊 【あらいぐま; アライグマ】 (n) (uk) common raccoon (Procyon lotor)
  • Komori
    • 子守 : 子守(P); 子守り 【こもり】 (n,vs) (1) nursemaid; nanny; babysitter; (n,vs) (2) child-minding; babysitting
  • Komoriuta
    • 子守歌 : 子守唄; 子守歌(P) 【こもりうた】 (n) lullaby

We Want Your Questions

Is there something about Japan that confuses you? Is there something about Japanese culture that you would like to learn more about? Is there something in Japanese history that you would like us to explain? We’re always looking for new questions about Japan to answer, so if you have one, please send it to ichimon@japankyo.com.

Special Thanks

Opening/Closing Theme: Produced by Apol (YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Fiverr)

Ichimon Japan cover art: Produced by Erik R.

Follow Japankyo on Social Media

Full Show Notes


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