If you're still answering werewolf-relate…

If you're still answering werewolf-related questions, does Japan have any werewolf legends? From what I've seen of anime/manga, werewolves are either based on the cursed, Western kind, or are some kind of yokai.

They do! Not very many at all, though, and not what we think of as traditional werewolf legends. China has more traditional ones, actually.

However, they were very much not at all like the cursed, Western werewolves (not that all Western werewolves were considered “cursed”!), and they definitely weren’t yokai! That’s modern pop culture with the “werewolves are always evil and/or insane” trend.

Wolves in ancient and medieval Japan were actually worshiped as very positive, benevolent beings. They were guardians – protectors and sacred animals of the “Large-Mouthed Pure God” of wolves, who offered protection from disease, injury, and vermin animals that would destroy crops. Wolves and worship thereof offered protection from fire and disease, healing, fertility, and more.

Offerings would be left at wolf dens to ask for protection against hard times. Wolves were considered a good omen, etc. You get the idea.

One of the few Japanese werewolf legends I’ve encountered so far involved a white werewolf woman who married a nobleman. Some versions just call her a wolf!

This is an area I’m currently actively researching in, but I’ll definitely be posting more info about it here soon. 🙂 But they absolutely aren’t anything like modern pop culture werewolves, and they certainly aren’t evil or demons or anything of the sort.