However, Japanese interest in the lowly raccoon antedates the anime by upwards of a century. Sapporo's famed shopping arcade Tanuki Koji, named for the animal and with a shrine honoring it in the middle of the arcade, is commonly known as Sapporo's oldest shopping area, dating from the late 1800s. Some shops there have been in business for 100 years. It's an amazing place, burgeoning wish all sorts of shops, from clothing stores to the nationally famous "Sapporo Ramen" and "Jingisukan" shops.
[Hat tip to C.B.]