, also written koropokkuru
, or koropokkur
, are a race of small people in Ainu
folklore. The name is traditionally analysed as a tripartite compound of kor
("under, below"), and kur
("man, husband, person") and interpreted to mean "people below the leaves of the butterbur
plant" in the Ainu language
The Ainu believe that the koro-pok-guru were the people who lived in the Ainu's land before the Ainu themselves lived there. They were short of stature, agile, and skilled at fishing. They lived in pits with roofs made from butterbur leaves.
Long ago, the koro-pok-guru were on good terms with the Ainu, and would send them deer, fish, and other game and exchange goods with them. The little people hated to be seen, however, so they would stealthily make their deliveries under cover of night.
One day, a young Ainu man decided he wanted to see a koro-pok-guru for himself, so he waited in ambush by the window where their gifts were usually left. When a koro-pok-guru came to place something there, the young man grabbed it by the hand and dragged it inside. It turned out to be a beautiful koro-pok-guru woman, who was so enraged at the young man's rudeness that her people have not been seen since. Their pits, pottery, and stone implements, the Ainu believe, still remain scattered about the landscape.
In popular culture
- Korobokuru appear as a playable race in the Dungeons & Dragons: Oriental Adventures rulebook, but do not appear in the base setting of Rokugan. They are described as short, insular, animist humanoids dwelling in remote and wild regions of the world.
- In the manga Shaman King the koropokkur ("minutians" in the English version) are depicted as a race of tiny spirit creatures which are influential to the background of the teenage Ainu shaman Horohoro. A particular koropokkur—named Kororo (Corey, in English)—accompanies Horohoro as his guardian spirit.
- In the video game Ōkami, a tiny people known as "poncles" (from Ainu pon-kur "small person") live underground in the small city of Ponctan (from Ainu pon-kotan "small village"). The city is located in the territory of a tribe known as the "Oina" (a reference to the Ainu people). The territory is "Kamui", which is the Ainu word for god. Issun (named for the Japanese fairy tale character One-inch boy), who travels with the protagonist throughout the game, is one of these poncles.
- The Natsume video game Harvest Moon DS is called Bokujou Monogatari: Colobocle Station in Japan. Like other games in the Harvest Moon series, it features tiny people who help out around the farm (called "harvest sprites" in the English version).
- The Square Enix video game Seiken Densetsu 3 has a race of really small creatures called "Korobockles".