Yōkai Poetry: Kamaitachi

Kamaitachi

A night in August /

Three weasel brother running /

On the mountain winds //

 –

Sharpest claws in sickle hues /

Effortlessly run /

Unseen on the wind, but known //

The first brother’s fat /

Strikes when the wind blows hardest /

The hiker succumbs //

 –

The second brother paints wounds /

Across the man’s skin /

When the wind blows the swiftest //

 –

The third brother’s spit /

Cleansing wounds on softest wind /

The blood never comes //

The winds invents the scars /

By weasels never seen //

Kamaitachi

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Have you been on a mountainside, and you’re suddenly blown back and forced down by a ferocious wind, and discover that you have painless gashes in your skin like you were cut by something really sharp?

A drawing of a Kamaitachi by Toriyama Sekien

A drawing of a Kamaitachi by Toriyama Sekien

My friend, you just had an encounter with the wind yokai, Kamaitachi (lit. sickle weasel).

 

This beast is exactly what it sounds like, a weasel with sickle-like claws.  They are known to ride on gusts of wind, mainly in groups of three.

 

There is a method to their attacks.  The first weasel knocks the victim down, the second weasel cuts the victim’s flesh with its sickle-like claws, and the third weasel applies a special medicine to the wounds in order to stop the pain and stifle the blood.  By the time the victim realizes what is happening, he is only left with painful wounds that aren’t bleeding.  So the Kamaitachi must work really fast.  They could probably be amazing at delivering pizzas!

 

Fun little fact: do you know the Pokémon Sneasel and Weaville?

Sneasel and Weaville

Sneasel and Weaville

They most likely draw inspiration from the Kamaitachi.  In fact, there are quite a handful of yokai that draw inspiration from different yokai, but that’s for another post.

 

Until next time, see ya!

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One Response to Yōkai Poetry: Kamaitachi

  1. Steven Spitz says:

    I was on a plane to China 2 weeks ago and saw something about a cartoon type character called “Sticky Weasel” or maybe it was a “Stinky Weasel”… perhaps this is the year of the WEASEL!

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