.mw-parser-output .hidden-begin{box-sizing:border-box;width:100%;padding:5px;border:none;font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .hidden-title{font-weight:bold;line-height:1.6;text-align:left}.mw-parser-output .hidden-content{text-align:left}@media all and (max-width:500px){.mw-parser-output .hidden-begin{width:auto!important;clear:none!important;float:none!important))You can help expand this article with text translated from the corresponding article in Japanese. (June 2021) Click [show] for important translation instructions. View a machine-translated version of the Japanese article. Machine translation, like DeepL or Google Translate, is a useful starting point for translations, but translators must revise errors as necessary and confirm that the translation is accurate, rather than simply copy-pasting machine-translated text into the English Wikipedia. Do not translate text that appears unreliable or low-quality. If possible, verify the text with references provided in the foreign-language article. You must provide copyright attribution in the edit summary accompanying your translation by providing an interlanguage link to the source of your translation. A model attribution edit summary is Content in this edit is translated from the existing Japanese Wikipedia article at [[:ja:あらいぐまラスカル]]; see its history for attribution. You may also add the template ((Translated|ja|あらいぐまラスカル)) to the talk page. For more guidance, see Wikipedia:Translation.
Rascal the Raccoon
Screenshot of the opening logo of Araiguma Rascal
(Araiguma Rasukaru)
Anime television series
Directed byMasaharu Endō
Hiroshi Saitō (1-33)
Shigeo Koshi (34-52)
Produced byJunzō Nakajima
Yoshio Katō
Written byAkira Miyazaki
Shōgo Ōta
Kasuke Satō
Music byTakeo Watanabe
StudioNippon Animation
Original networkFuji TV
English networkJET TV
Original run 2 January 1977 25 December 1977

Rascal the Raccoon (あらいぐまラスカル, Araiguma Rasukaru, literally Raccoon Rascal, with the Japanese word for raccoon meaning "washing bear") is a 1977 Japanese animated series by Nippon Animation.[1] It is based on the 1963 autobiographical novel Rascal, A Memoir of a Better Era by Sterling North.

As a result of the anime's popularity, Japanese imported many pet raccoons, which caused raccoons to become an invasive species in Japan.



The anime revolves around a young boy who decided to provide shelter to a raccoon that was discovered by a hunter. As the boy attempted to domesticate the wild animal as part of his family, he soon realized through trials and tribulations that his efforts were futile and decided to release Rascal back into the wild.[2]



The series uses two pieces of music for the opening theme and the ending theme. The opening theme song is called "Rock River e" (ロックリバーヘ, Rokku Ribâ e, lit. "To Rock River"), and the ending theme is "Oide Rascal" (おいでラスカル, Oide Rasukaru, lit. "Rascal Come"), both written by Eriko Kishida and sung by the Japanese vocalist by Kumiko Oosugi. The opening theme was later used as the main gameplay theme for the 1981 arcade game Frogger. The show's music was composed by Takeo Watanabe, who worked on many anime of the 1970s and 80s.


Main article: Raccoon § Distribution in Japan

Byōdō-in in Kyoto, Japan

Raccoons are an invasive species in Japan and there is evidence that Rascal the Raccoon has contributed enormously to the problem of invasive raccoons in Japan. Like other invasive species, raccoons in Japan have few natural predators.[3]

Although the anime Rascal the Raccoon's storyline revolves around the difficulties of taking in a raccoon as a pet, Japanese citizens became inspired to import raccoons in to the country as their pet, leading to unforeseen consequences.[2] In Japan, up to 1,500 raccoons were imported as pets each year after the success of Rascal the Raccoon. In 2004, the descendants of discarded or escaped animals lived in 42 of 47 prefectures and then to all 47 prefectures by 2008.[4] These raccoons are now a pest in Japan and imports of raccoons are now banned.

The importation of raccoons was banned because people in Japan started releasing their pet raccoons in to the wild—especially after the final episode of Rascal the Raccoon was released. Additionally, raccoons can become too violent and hard to handle once they grew up, which further encouraged people to release them.[3]

This negatively affected Japan's natural ecosystem and man-made infrastructures and it was estimated that about 80% of the temples in Japan were damaged by raccoons including Byōdō-in in Kyoto which has more than 900 years of history.[2][5] Raccoons attributed to Rascal also caused the destruction of crops in the agricultural sector[2] and Japan suffers an estimated of 30,000,000 yen annually from the effects in the agricultural sector alone.[6]

Even with backlash from animal advocates, the Japanese government decided to adopt the 0% tolerance policy where the goal is to kill as many raccoons as possible. This includes killing thousands of raccoons each year. The government also placed a lot of tight sanctions to minimize the chances of being able to import any more raccoons into the country.[2] In 2003, the Hokkaido government specifically implemented the 10-year plan to completely eradicate raccoons in Japan, but attempts proved to be mostly futile as there was not enough financial support.[6]

Rascal appearances

Rascal appeared in commercials, games and anime:

Video games


  1. ^ "Araiguma rasukaru" (1977) Archived 2004-06-17 at the Wayback Machine Internet Movie Database (Retrieved 3 October 2009)
  2. ^ a b c d e Macewan, Matthew (2014-11-21). "Rascal's Secret Plan: the Raccoon Invasion of Japan". Tofugu. Archived from the original on 2020-10-17. Retrieved 2020-10-16.
  3. ^ a b ZankDigiTrash (January 12, 2013). "Rascal the Raccoon Anime and effects on Japan". Youtube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-17. Retrieved October 24, 2020.
  4. ^ 山﨑晃司・佐伯緑・竹内正彦・及川ひろみ (2009). 茨城県でのアライグマの生息動向と今後の管理課題について (PDF). 県自然博物館研究報告 (in Japanese). 12: 41–49. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 29, 2011. Retrieved July 3, 2011.
  5. ^ Rascal the Raccoon, archived from the original on 2020-08-05, retrieved 2020-10-16
  6. ^ a b Ikeda, Tohru; Asano, Makoto; Matoba, Yohei; Abe, Go (December 31, 2004). "Present Status of Invasive Alien Raccoon and its Impact in Japan". Global Environmental Research: 125–231 – via Google Scholar.
  7. ^ "RASCAL – LINE stickers". LINE STORE. Archived from the original on 2019-04-03. Retrieved 2020-10-22.