Why do Mice Drop Bombs in Japan?


#1

Someone asked on Twitter a while back why so many mice in Japanese games, etc. drop or throw bombs.

I looked into it SUPER briefly and I read on some Japanese sites that fake rats were used as bombs during WWII in Europe. But I don’t know if that’s the reason for this pattern. I get a hunch that it’s similar to other patterns in that some big/important piece of entertainment did it once, and then everything else sort of referenced it after that. But I haven’t looked into that yet.

If anyone has any ideas and/or examples of this happening in Japanese stuff, share it here!


#2

This is not the correct answer, but I found this Japanese animation from 1936 of a fake Mickey Mouse attacking Japan:


#3

There was a lot of strange propaganda back then, I remember watching some in one of my history classes.


#4

Is that Momotaro at 3:45? :astonished:
I’m guessing there are a lot of cultural touchstones in this short. Any chance we can get a breakdown?


#5

Sorry for replying to this old topic, but I think the recurring association of mice with bombs might be an allusion to one of the more obscure creatures from Japanese folklore, called the kodama nezumi (小玉鼠), which is described as living in the mountains and appearing to be a spherical mouse. When humans encounter it, it suddenly explodes with a deafening noise, and it’s said that such encounters are a sign of the anger of mountain Kami, and that hunters who encounter it must turn back or they will be threatened by natural disasters such as avalanches.

There’s a Japanese Wikipedia article about this creature here (which, unfortunately, isn’t available in any other languages.) Curiously, it uses the word 「幻獣」 to describe the kodama nezumi. I thought that word was only used in Final Fantasy games, although it is listed in Jim Breen’s dictionary…


#6

Whoa, that’s really cool!

And it’s no problem, you can reply to old topics here. Especially if you have new info like this~