Suppon (鼈 or すっぽん, Suppon) is a creature from Japanese folklore.
The suppon, or Chinese soft-shelled turtle (Pelodiscus sinensis), is a real animal found in fresh water bodies throughout Japan, considered in some places to be a type of water monster. Much like the kappa, it is blamed for the drowning deaths of children and feared as a man-eater that drags swimmers under the water to pull out their anus.
The suppon is also considered a delicacy, and a few strange tales feature these turtles casting a curse upon restaurant owners who specialize in dispatching and cooking them.
One of these appears in the Hokuetsu Kidan 北越奇談, a collection of strange stories published in 1812 by Tachibana Konron Shigeyo 橘崑崙茂世 and illustrated by Hokusai:
A man of Niigata, by the name of Kiroku 亀六, ran a suppon restaurant. Every day he bought up all the soft-shelled turtles for miles around and cooked several hundred of the poor creatures. One night in bed his body became heavy and felt as cold as if it had been immersed in water. He could not speak. Slowly he looked around and saw that he was covered in hundreds of turtles, and realizing that they were concentrated at the base of his neck, he finally released a startled yelp. This woke his wife, but when she asked him what was wrong, Kiroku opened his eyes and the turtles were gone. Almost every night from that point on, the same thing would happen shortly after he fell asleep. Regretting his life of slaughter, Kiroku became a monk.
Another story from the Kanden Kōhitsu 閑田耕筆 relates the experience of three friends from Nagoya, who went to eat suppon one day. As soon as they entered the shop, all three suddenly changed their minds and left hastily. On the way home, the three asked each other what had killed their appetite, and the reason was that they had spotted a turtle napping on the shop's heated table which, on closer inspection, appeared to their terror to be the shop's keeper.
- Suppon on the Obakemono Project