Waira

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Waira

Region of origin: Japan

Living near shrines in Japan’s more isolated forests, waira are thought to be toads who lived long enough to magically become a yokai, taking on a more bovine appearance with single scythe-like claws tipping their legs. With names derived from the word kowai, or “frightening,” they function alongside the otoroshi to safeguard the shrines they inhabit, scaring away wicked individuals who might try and enter, using their flat bodies and coloration to stay camouflaged against the forest floor to make up for their slow speed. Their claws, however intimidating, are primarily used to dig up and pin down food, feeding on moles and other small rodents.

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