Format: TV SHOW
King Kappa is a show that asks what would happen if I, a Canadian thirty-something under-achiever, moved to Japan on a whim? Think about it for a second; I can’t speak Japanese, everybody would be staring at me the entire time, and I can barely use chopsticks. There are all kinds of day to day social rituals and bits of etiquette that soar over my head. I would make such an ass of myself every day.
Pretty funny, right? You know what would make it funnier? If I constantly had hallucinations of a turtleish Japanese folk monster who gave me bad advice, wore a ratty orange beret, gorged on cucumbers and hand-rolled cigarettes, and spent much of his time trying to catch a glimpse of what’s under a kimono or capture a tourist’s child to snack on.
The idea for King Kappa came out of a business trip to Japan that involved slightly too much drinking for two friends, Kevin and Lordy. One afternoon while driving to visit a blacksmith way up in the mountains, Lordy started pestering Shiba (our friend and sometimes reluctant guide) about something he read about as a kid, mischievious monsters that live in the rivers called Kappa. Every body of water passed prompted Lordy to ask Shiba, “Are there Kappa in there?” At first Shiba didn’t bite, he pretended not to know what Lordy was talking about but eventually Kappa were everywhere. They were stealing our drinks and food, tripping us as we drunkenly stumbled around the Gion in Kyoto, and peeking at us from the bushes lining the rivers.
The show is a dirty love letter to Japan and Kyoto, written by someone who never thought it would get read. It examines the differences in our cultures by focusing on the quirks and fantastic oddities of Japan. It’s important to not that King Kappa does not laugh at Japan and the Japanese people or culture it and all of its strangeness, but celebrates how different, crazy, and exciting life can be there. Each episode teaches us a little more about living in Japan by showing us how big of a buffoon Ryan is.