Kappa (Cape) with Tombo (Dragonfly) and Daikon (Radish)

Also called katsumushi or the "victory insect", the dragonfly was a favorite symbol of strength, courage, success and victory among Japanese samurai warriors. Radishes can represent good health, fertility and fortune as well as Daikoku, one of the “Seven Gods of Good Fortune.” In addition, the humble food of radishes could represent the simple life and disciplined practices espoused by Zen Buddhism which many samurai followed. Dragonflies paired with radishes is a rare combination. Capes like this were worn by travelers during the Edo and Meiji periods.

Copyright 2006 Jeffrey Krauss and Ann Marie Moeller