In Japanese mythology, Kamaitachi (窮奇, sometimes also 鎌鼬) is a weasel-like creature that rides in a whirlwind, most common in the Koshinetsu region.
Toriyama Sekien was presumably the first to imagine the apparition to have the form of a weasel. The weasel was a typical Toriyama pun - one of the folk names for the appparition was kamaetachi (構え太刀), meaning "attacking tachi", which he changed slightly to mean "sickle weasel".
Kamaitachi was traditionally classified as a wind yokai and is often associated with a trio of weasels with sharp claws, riding on a gust of wind and cutting peoples' skin on the legs. Sometimes the three are described as brothers, sometimes as triplets.
Sometimes a person walking in the mountains will be beset by a ferocious wind, and only later will they discover the deep but painless gashes made in their skin as if by some very sharp instrument. According to this interpretation, the first weasel knocked the unsuspecting victim down, the second cut the victim's flesh and the third applied medication to the wounds, so that at the time the victim realised what was happening they were left only with painful wounds that weren't bleeding.
The idea of lightning fast weasels wielding razor-sharp claws appealed to manga and anime artists and the kamaitachi often appear in those media.
- Temari in the manga/anime Naruto uses kamaitachi-inspired techniques including the summoning of a kamaitachi named Kamatari.
- Fuuko in the anime Flame of Recca uses air cutter attack on one of her enemies named kamaitachi.
- In the anime series Bleach (anime), Ikkanzaka Jiroubou is also known as "Kamaitachi Jiroubou" for his kamaitachi attack method.
- In the Digimon series, Kyukimon is a digimon patterned after the legend of the kamaitachi. The characters ??, used to write kamaitachi, can alternatively be read as kyuki.
- In the Japanese version of Pokémon, there is an attack named Kamaitachi. It was translated into English as Razor Wind.
- There is a series of Sound Novels by Chunsoft entitled Kamaitachi no Yoru (Night of the Kamaitachi).
- In the PlayStation game Final Fantasy Tactics, Kamaitachi is one of the elemental abilities of the Geomancer Class.
- In the anime Ushio and Tora, one of the three Kamaitachi triplets goes on a killing spree, forcing the other two to ask Ushio for help.
- In the anime Mokke, episode 10 concerns a young girl befriending a kamaitachi.
- In the annime Ghost Hunt, episode 24 includes kazuyasu of the Yoshimi family to be possessed by a spirit that uses a kamaitachi as a weapon
- In the Super Nintendo game Ninja Warriors AGAIN, Kamaitachi is one of the three playable characters, a cyborg ninja that attacks with blades on its arms.
- Kamaitachi appears as an enemy monster in the PlayStation 2 game Okami.
- In the Nintendo DS game Megaman ZX, one of the eight main bosses, Hurricaune, is a weasel that fights with electric blades.
- In the MMORPG Ragnarok Online, the Ninja class has a skill named Kamaitachi. It is described as the wrath of the wind.
- In the Anime and manga series Ghost hunt, during the cursed house case some of the zombie/dead spirits used Kamaitachi
- In the Monster Rancher video game series by Tecmo, Ripper, a swift, weasel-like monster species capable of manipulating ice and wind is based on the kamaitachi legend.
- Kamaitachi is the name of the program used to subvert the Apple Computer-supplied bootloader / kernel system in the Apple iPhone to get it run alternative kernels such as linux.
- Manga/TV anime Gegege no Kitarou - Kamaitachi appear in this series.
- Manga/TV anime Honoo no Rekka/Flame of Rekka - In this series, madougu Fuujin contains small gems that turn into cute weasel-like creatures who deliver powerful wind-based attacks.
- Manga/TV anime Inu-Yasha - Kamaitachi appeared in an episode of this series.
- Manga/TV anime Jigoku Sensei Nube (official site) - Kamaitachi make an appearance in this series as well.
- Manga/TV anime One Piece - Tashigi, a swordfighter, uses an attack she calls kamaitachi.
- Manga/OVA Ushio to Tora/Ushio and Tora - A trio of kamaitachi appear in this series.
- Gegege no Kitarou (Gameboy Advance) - Kamaitachi appear in this game as foes.
- In the Game Boy Advance game Golden Sun, there is an attack item named Weasel's Claw, which unleashes a wind-based attack.