Akadenchu - 赤殿中 - [yokai]
• About this yokai: An adorable baby mame-tanuki which disguises itself as a young child wearing a red denchu (a type of sleeveless Haori.) - At twilight, it asks adult passerbys for uppies and to carry them on their backs, when it is picked up, it cheers in delight, enthusiastically flapping its legs like a child, softly kicking the piggybacker on the back. - it feels nice to carry, and it doesn't cause any harm. - When the ride is finished, it turns back into a Tanuki: "Surprise~! I was a tanuki the whole time~!! wahaha!!!" laughs mischievously, then scutters away, vanishing into the night. - One theory states that perhaps a tanuki got jealous seeing little kids being carried around all day, so it decided to trick someone into giving it some attention. - Not all Tanuki pranks are mean, not all Yokai are scary...
• History: Akadenchu was one of several tanuki stories, recorded in Awa no Tanuki no hanashi 阿波の狸の話 ["Tanuki Tales of Awa" 1927] - its a legend from an area in what is today Naruto city, Tokushima prefecture.
According to my yokai inclined japanese friends, There is (...or was?) a small shrine venerating "Akadenchu" somewhere near somewhere near "Oasa Town" (or in the area of where that used to be.) - However, when we searched for it online, it there was curiously not any photographs or evidence of this place!!
I will note here that: Tokushima is in-fact also home to one of Japans 'big 3' tanuki legends, Yashima no hage-tanuki who is enshrined at Yashima-ji. - (so it wouldnt be odd for a tanuki to be venerated in the area.) ...but that tanuki is also described quite differently with its own lore and backstory. So: I suppose the shrine in question could either be a case of a mistaken identity, a rumour, or perhaps the shrine might be the victim of industrialization... [As my priest friend mentioned, Small shrines getting paved for condos, tragically does happen quite frequently these days.] Though, admittedly, it being a shrine to tanuki... (The more I think about it, the more the situation reminds me of a Certain Ghibli Film... hmm.) --I digress! I hope someone visiting the area might be able to track down some record of the shrine!! --/edit/-- [another friend on twitter let me know that the shrine does in fact exist & even gave me coordinates to find it on google maps! you can find photos of it by searching: "赤でんちゅう大明神" mystery solved!!! :) ]
--Anyway, As far as Tanuki pranks go, its actually adorable!! almost makes you want to go around picking up tanuki. --However that is not reccomended, as conversely to the cute Akadenchu, it is worth note is that are actually quite a few different yokai that will ask for piggy back rides, a lot of them will reward you with good fortune, however there are a few dangerous ones too, in fact, there are a couple stories of tanuki that ask for piggyback rides, only to drop a gigantic "log" on your back instead. Do be careful who you let onto your back... (I wonder which story came first.)
[Edo period print of tanuki crushing someone with their 'kintama']