•About this yokai•
Onikuma - 鬼熊
A particularly ferocious & unnaturally large Bear from the folklore of Nagano Prefecture. like most other animal yokai, when bears live an exceptionally long life they transform into a yokai. (ordinary bears that attack humans get this title too, so onikuma is also just as often a descriptive term meaning “big, tough, scary bear”) More aptly put: its a bear that never stopped growing and now it's a monstrous size. now standing twice as tall as a horse.
These bears become menaces, stealing livestock from farms & devouring them just as quickly.
Some legends say that arrows couldn’t pierce its thick pelt and that they can could walk upright like a human: their only weak point was said to be its heart. Its pelt was as large as 6 tatami mats!!
There are also some stories about onikuma picking up gigantic rocks pushing them off cliffs, sending them hurling them towards hunters: these boulders are known as “onikuma-ishi” and can be found in odd locations around Nagano & the Kiso mountain range.
The one appearing in “Ehon Hyaku Monogatari.” 絵本百物語 (1841) appears to be a black bear. - [any resemblance to a certain mascot from Kumamoto is entirely coincidental. ❤]