Okuri Okami

In Japanese folklore the okuri okami, also known as okuri ini, is a ghostly wolf or dog-like creature who haunts dark mountain passes, or roads through forests. The name translates as 'sending-off wolf or dog' or 'escorting dog' because this yokai trails closely behind travellers at night, appearing to be sending them on their way. In some cases it may and appear to be guiding them to their destination safely. Whether okuri okami is benevolent or malicious depends though. If you are able to reach your destination without tripping or falling, it is likely a protective guardian. However, if you do fall, the wolf will pounce on you and rip you to shreds. 

'One Hundred Aspects of the Moon - Musashi Plain' - Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, 1892.

There is a loophole though. If you can somehow pretend that you fell on purpose, the wolf will wait until you get up and continue to follow you home. The way to do this is to pretend that you are tired and are taking a rest. If you stumble, quickly get into a sitting position and say out loud how exhausted you are, 'shindoi wa,' and then rest for a short time before continuing on. This will trick okuri okami and as soon as you start walking again, it will continue to follow you on your way. There are also some accounts that suggest if you throw a sandal at the wolf, it will catch it and run away. Although the prospect of being followed home by such a vicious creature is rather terrifying, on the positive side, as long as the okuri okami is near by, no other yokai is likely to bother you. 

'Okuri-Inu' - Ryukansai in Kyoka Hyaku Monogatari, 1853.

'Wolf, Lady and Samurai' - Tomioka Eisen, 1895.

'One Hundred Aspects of the Moon - Kityama Moon' - Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, 1886.

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