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"You are walking outside and suddenly discover that your leg has been cut as if with a sharp blade. This is said to be the work of a kamaitachi— literally a "sickle weasel.""
The Book of Yokai: Mysterious Creatures of Japanese Folklore
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Kamaitachi - known to English speakers as the "Scythe Weasel" or "Sickle Weasel" - is a type of Youkai that can be found in various regions in Japan, most commonly in the mountains of Koushin'etsu.

Kamaitachi are reported to operate in trios that follow a Thief, Fighter, Mage setup: the first one knocks down a traveler with a gust of wind, the second cuts the traveler with its sickle-like claws, and the third applies an ointment that stops the bleeding, leaving the victim with bloodless but inexplicably large and painful wounds. The reasons for this depend on the region, as while some believe that the scars they create on their victims are a part of a competition between them, others believe that they subsist on blood and feed from the cuts they make.

They're essentially the personification of the pain felt during a bitterly cold wind, and are Japanese culture's answer to a scientific phenomenon where shallow cuts appear on the legs of travelers in mountainous regions, believed to be caused by small debris carried by stray air currents. The British Medical Journal Spontaneous Wound Report even calls it "kamaitachi disease" after the beast of legend.

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In pop culture, their appearance can often differ, often ranging from the size of your average weasel to bigger than a horse, their behavior often predatory. Their iconic blades are either a part of their bodies or they could even carry around real-steel farming tools that evoke the image. Being Youkai, they are seen as magical beings with a strong affinity towards wind and ice magic.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Jack in Beyblade V-Force has a kamaitachi as bit-beast. It's only one weasel and not a trio of them, though. Jack used it to do some serious harm not only to Dranzer, but also to Kai, without anyone seeing the actual attack.
  • Durarara!!: Izaya jokes that he's a kamaitachi after shaving a thug's head with his knife in a split second.
  • Hell Teacher Nube: The kamaitachi show up in all their glory: the eldest sibling carries a cudgel to knock people over or inflict severe bruises; the middle sibling's forelegs are shaped like Absurdly Sharp Blades which can literally cut up anything and anyone; the youngest carries a jar filled with a mending balm. Makoto inadvertently takes the latter as a pet, and as the elder ones tried to find it they bring catastrophe to the town — nearly killing Nube by slicing him in half until Makoto finally releases the younger kamaitachi and it heals the teacher with its balm.
  • Naruto: Temari, a special technique that involves summoning a kamaitachi. She is the wind user, while the kamaitachi does the cutting. The only time it was used, the opponent was too dead to notice if the bleeding had stopped.
  • Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan: Itaku is a kamaitachi that can appear as a ninja or as a weasel-faced demon.
  • One Piece:
    • The tenth movie features, among the other creatures under Shiki's rule, the Tsujigiri Itachi (killer weasel), which actually wield small scythes with blades made from a Kenju (sword-tree) leaf.
    • The pirate Cavendish is known, among other titles, as the "Kamaitachi of Rommel", thanks to his Split Personality that can move and cut down people so fast that it looks like the wind itself is doing it.
  • One shows up in the first chapter of Sand Land as part of Prince Beelzebub's raiding party. When one of the humans tries to use holy water on the Prince, he intercepts it, pointing out that such items don't work on Japanese demons.
  • Tsukipro's youkai AU features twins Ichiru and Issei, as well as SOARA's Ren, as Kamaitachi. Ichiru and Issei are featured as main characters in the "Natsu-Yume-Matsuri" stage play of this AU.
  • Ushio and Tora: Two sets of kamaitachi siblings appear. The first help the heroes out (and one even falls for Tora, though he doesn't return it), the second are Psychos For Hire. Most notably, they can conjure their sickle blades from their bodies even when in human form, the latter three even have gimmicks related to their blades (The first can form giant flesh-rending scissors, the second can conjure spinning blades from his arms and legs, the third can expel his scythes to form projectiles.)
  • Yuki Yuna is a Hero: Fu's Fairy Companion Kamatachi grants her throwing knives.

    Live-Action TV 
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    Tabletop Games 
  • Malifaux: Kamaitachi can be summoned by the Ten Thunders faction.
  • Pathfinder: Kamaitachi are malicious fey creatures resembling flying weasels with curved blades instead of legs, who delight in causing pain and suffering. They have the ability to delay the actual damage caused by their slashing claws — effectively, someone they cut won't actually start bleeding and hurting until the kamaitachi decides they should — and use this to force people to shame and demean themselves in exchange for their lives.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Yosenju archetype. Yosenju Kamaitachi is the gust of wind (it returns an opponent's card to the hand), Yosenju Kamanitachi cuts the opponent (it can attack directly), and Yosenju Kamamitachi applies the ointment (it adds a Yosenju to your hand).

    Video Games 
  • There are two kamaitachi-based digimon in Digimon, the first being Kyuukimon and the second being Reppamon. Kyuukimon, "kyuuki" meaning "supply of air", is a straightforward adaptation, though it comes alone instead of in a set of three. It uses both wind and its arm blades to attack. Reppamon, "reppa" coming from "reppaku" meaning "cutting through fabric", is a liberal adaptation. Rather than arm blades, its tail is a blade. Like Kyuukimon, it operates alone and combines wind powers with mundane slashing.
  • Etrian Odyssey: Multiple games in the series have Kamaitachi as enemies known as Wind Cutter, Windsnip, or Illgaze. Nexus includes a quest to investigate strange icy winds that have been knocking other explorers down with strange slashes at their ankles, naturally it turns out to be a stronger Icy Wind Cutter.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics: One of the Geomancer skills is a wind attack called Kamaitachi that can trigger the Paralyze (i.e. Don't Act) Status Ailment.
  • Ghosts 'n Goblins: Among the first enemies Sir Arthur faces in Ghouls 'n Ghosts are kamaitachi, depicted as small floating creatures with scythes that turn into tornados.
  • Golden Sun: While the critter itself doesn't appear in the game, there is an item (called Weasel's Claw in the translation) that lets the user attack with Jupiter (wind) Psynergy by hurling Razor Wind at enemies.
  • Inazuma Eleven GO 2: Chrono Stone introduces the Avatar Youki Kamaitachi/Thin Air Slasher Sickle Weasel. As its dub name implies, it manifests into a weasel with giant claws. When used together with the technique Whirlwind Blade, the Avatar turns into a really fast wind energy that allows the user to dribble past the opponent.
  • A trio of kamaitachi, known as the Gale Ninja Squad, are among the Unidentified Mysterious Animals in the 2015 game that launched the Kemono Friends franchise. The group consists of Kamaitachi Ten (Shift), armed with a kaginawa, Kamaitachi Setsu (Cut), armed with a kusarigama, and Kamaitachi Chi (Cure), armed with a kusuri-dansu. They are punishers of evil.
  • In La-Mulana, Kamaitachi first shows up as a Mini-Boss in the Graveyard of the Giants, and reappears in Hell Temple.
  • Muramasa: The Demon Blade features a series of swords, going from 3 Kamaitachi to 5 Kamaitachi. The user spins holding the sword out in a rainbow like arc, and the number indicates the total of clones plus the user that use the move.
  • Minecraft: The Game Mod Kindred Legacy adds in an assortment of Pokémon-themed mobs with special traits, one of which combines the Pokemon Mienshao with the Swordie Seru monsters from Legend of Legaia to create a mob known as the Swordie Mienshao, a highly aggressive entity with sharp blades replacing its arm fur that'll try to slash and dice through almost any living entity it bumps into (minus passive mobs and the explosive Creepers as to prevent griefing, according to the mod creator).
  • The fourth Monster Rancher game introduces the Ripper species, a bipedal weasel with sickles on their arms and a claw-like tail, known for their high accuracy and speed. They're able to create razor sharp winds to attack their opponent.
  • Namco × Capcom: Features kamaitachi-style enemies, which subsequently reappear in the Endless Frontier and Project X Zone games.
  • The Ninja Warriors Again: The third player character is named Kamaitaichi, and is heavily based off them, being a dual-sickle wielding SkeleBot 9000 who serves as the "Speed" of the Balance, Speed, Strength Trio.
  • A trailer from Nioh 2 shows the player fighting a gigantic Kamaitachi (appearing as a giant, mark-covered weasel with huge scythe blades emerging from her body) in a forest at night. The beast can perform a Rolling Attack which can actually cut down trees caught in range, as well as impale the player.
  • In Ōkami, the Kamaitachi (translated as Poltergeist) come in the form of three sickle-wielding weasels that can fight separately or join their weapons together to form a wheel of blades. Instead of just wind they can also use the elements of fire, lightning and ice.
  • Onmyōji: Appears as a monster and attainable shikigami as a weasel version of the Totem Pole Trench.
  • Shin Megami Tensei: In the "Devil Kids" line, Kamaitachi appears as a potential demon ally. Additionally, one of the Wind type fusion attacks in Persona 2 is named "Kamaitachi", in honor of this youkai.
  • Pokémon:
  • The boss of the Storm Fortress of Kh'lar in Skyblazer is an anthropomorphic weasel which generates two clones and attacks with whirlwinds.
  • The World Ends with You: The Mink Noise are based on Kamaitachi. All of them have long claws and a tendency to make themselves into whirlwinds. There's even a pair fought together as an Optional Boss.
  • Yo-Kai Watch: Yo-kai Watch 3 introduces a Kamaitachi. It's renamed Whirlweasel for the English version.

 
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