Made In Japan: Kanto Edition Part 3

By Factory White Head

Today we won’t be looking at your average animal-like Pokemon like last time. No, today we’ll talk about a leek-bearing duck, a ghost, dream-eating tapirs, and a tree that grows heads. Sound strange? You got it. Here’s the third installment of the Japanese Kanto series.

A really strange Pokemon is called Farfetch’d. It comes from the saying “Kamo ga negi wo shotte kuru,” translating to “a duck comes bearing green onions.” It roughly means “something surprising but convenient,” which Farfetch’d certainly is. It’s a duck carrying a green onion, which are both commonly used in stew. Who would have thought you’d find both of them together? It’s your lucky day!.. Or maybe it’s just something Farfetched, hence the name. Farfetch’d’s Japanese name is Kamonegi, which references the saying I mentioned earlier. This makes its name mean “Wild duck green onion”. To be honest, some of our English names are pretty odd—er, simple, so I guess this makes us even. I think I might Sawk the next guy who tries to Throh a punch at me.

Gastly is obviously based on a ghost (possibly a will-o’-the-wisp, known in some parts of the United States as a “ghost light” or “orb”), but it may also have Japanese origins. The sōgen bi is the decapitated head of a monk that is doomed to wander the Earth while aflame. Monks are bald, and Gastly appears bald as well, and the smoke around its head/body can be taken to resemble flames (the shiny form really looks like supernatural flames). But it’s up for debate. What’s your opinion on this? Is Gastly a sōgen bi, or is it just a regular cartoonish ghost?

Two well-known Psychic-type Pokemon, Drowzee and Hypno, have origins in the baku, a tapir-like creature that eats dreams. Munna and Musharna, fellow Psychic-types, are also baku. Baku are not generally evil creatures, and are sometimes treated like dream catchers, as they may ward off nightmares. However, Drowzee and Hypno also have traits of hypnotists, as they make people fall asleep so they can have a nice meal to themselves. So… they might not be the best bet to keep with you by your bedside. Sweet dreams.

The Jinmenju is an odd tree that grows human heads, all of which smile and laugh. Thinking about this in Pokemon terms, does it bring to mind a certain Grass/Psychic-type? Exeggutor gets its design from this oddity, smiling faces and all. Of course, the “human heads” have been replaced with coconuts or a similar fruit. Exeggcute, as a result, would be a collection of the heads that have fallen off of Exeggutor. If that’s the case, then what’s with that “egg” that’s always near the back of the group…?

We’re almost done looking at the Kanto Pokemon. It’s downhill from here, just twen- er, four more to go. Now it gets tricky, so listen real good!


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