Kamaitachi Meaning – The Japanese Yokai Weasel

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Kamaitachi is a Japanese yōkai and can also refer to the strange events this creature causes. They appear walking in swirls of dust, and they cut people using the nails on both of their hands that are like scythes. One would receive a sharp, painless wound.

In addition, they are often associated with weasels. Remembering that the weasels, or Itachi, are not very popular in Japan. here on the site we have a good article talking about these animals, it is worth taking a look.

Among other things, we will mainly discuss about Kamaitachi as a Yokai. After all, a phenomenon of nature is not a very interesting thing to associate with culture. For this reason, let's learn a little about Kamaitachi in Japanese culture.

Kamaitachi and its origins

Kamaitachi was initially thought of as a kind of derivative of the word "kamae tachi", which means stance sword. However, because of some facts that occurred, it was reused and described as a yokai weasel.

Soon, kamaitachi established itself as the yokai that it is today. In a certain book, it is mentioned that children on the property called Kagaya in It's from were engulfed in a whirlpool. Then, on the surface of his back, the footsteps of a beast remained. In the book, it was written that this was the proof of a “kamae tachi”.

Kamaitachi meaning - the Japanese yokai weasel

Thus the kamaitachi became known as an animal with fur like a hedgehog and a cry like a dog. Having the ability to fly through the air with wings, they are said to attack people with limbs resembling a scythe or razor.

Legends about Kamaitachi

One thing we know well is how rumors spread. Legends are almost the same thing, so it also has changes. Which leads to the creation of several versions of the same creature. So, let's present some versions about kamaitachi.

The devilish winds that cut people are mentioned in the regions of Chūbu, Kinki and other regions. There are many legends set in snowy regions, and there are some regions that call whirlpools “kamaitachi”. On cold windy occasions and other times they are also a strange event in which someone would fall and have a leg injury.

Kamaitachi meaning - the Japanese yokai weasel

In the Yoshio district area of Nara prefecture, we have another version. It is said that when someone is bitten by a kamaitachi he falls and receives a large wound. But, no blood comes out of the wound, even though there is a large opening in the flesh. Additionally, the Kamaitachi is invisible to the human eye.

In Hida, in the Niu River basin, it is said that in legends, Kamaitachi is a company of 3 evil gods. Being that the first god would knock the person down, the next god would cut with a blade, and the third god would put in a medicine. Thus, the wound would not have bleeding or pain. There are also regions that think of these three gods as father, son and brother.

Kamaitachi in ancient writings

In the Edo period, we have the essay “Sōzan Chomon Kishū” by Miyoshi Shōzan. In it he quotes a feudal warrior from Owari. In the essay it is said that a kamaitachi's wounds do not result in pain or bleeding at first.

However, after some time, the wound brings intense pain and large amounts of bleeding. And they are so severe that sometimes even the bones can be seen from the wound opening. Getting to the point of being in danger of death.

Also read our article talking about 15 Japanese Yokais, Myths and Legends. 

In the essay it is also stated that a kamaitachi cannot jump higher than about 1 shaku, about 30 centimeters. After all, wounds are often received on the lower part of the body.

We have several other references, but there are almost no differences, so let's ignore the others. But you can feel free to comment on any feature or reference that you know.

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