In Japan, kawauso are river otters, and like many other animals it is believed that once they reach old age they can develop supernatural powers and become yokai. They are renowned shape-shifters and can accurately mimic sounds, using this ability to play tricks on humans. They also enjoy putting out lanterns and leaving travellers in the dark. Fortunately they are far more playful than dangerous. 

They love alcohol and can often be found in towns disguised as a young beggar in a straw hat trying to buy sake. If spoken to they tend to repeat what was just said, which usually gives them away. Sometimes they take the form of a beautiful woman to seduce men, but if they succeed they just run away laughing.
Toriyama Sekien

Edward Welch

Statue of Kawauso on Mizuki Shigeru Road

Yokai Watch

Kawauso figurine