Koropokkuru (コロポックル, koropokkuru, "men under the petasite leaves" in Ainu) are in Ainu mythology dwarfs living underground and in the stems of coltsfoot or petasite leaves (especially in one of the largest of all petasites in Japan).
The size of a child's foot, these "goblins" are strictly speaking plant kamuys ("spirits" in Ainu language).
Established in the forests, they appear to the lost traveller to guide him on his way.
Contrary to other beliefs, Ainu legends do not consider that their spirits speak to them, in the sense of expressing themselves with articulated words.
But the sounds and attitudes must be interpreted to understand the meaning of the message sent by the kamuys.
Koropokkuru Reuse in contemporary culture
In the video game Ōkami, we encounter a miniature plant people living in the forest, very much inspired by the Koropokkuru, in the Kamui region (link to Kamuy), near the village of the Oina people (link to the Ainu people). Towards the end of the game we learn that Issun, the second main character of the game, is himself a Koropokkuru.
In the video game Zelda: The Minish Cap, the Minish seem to be inspired by both the Koropokkurus and the Borrowers of the English author Mary Norton.
Also in The Legend of Zelda game series, especially in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, we can meet the Korogu, small sylvan beings wearing masks made of leaves, whose name is directly taken from the Koropokkuru.
In the manga Shaman King, Horo horo has as a guardian ghost Kororo, a Koropokkuru.
In Dungeons and Dragons, the Korobokuru are the equivalent of the Dwarves in Kozakura, part of the Abeir-Toril world inspired by medieval Japan (Oriental Adventures).
In Trials of Mana, the Koropokkurus live in a village under flowers and tree trunks; they are called Koropokkurus, their leader being called Domperi.