Cats are everywhere in Japan. While it is easy to see they are well-loved, Japan also fears cats. The country has a long, often terrifying history of folklore involving monstrous supernatural cats. Japan’s magic catlore is wide and deep, ranging from the fanciful, shapeshifters known as bakeneko to the demonic corpse-eaters known as kasha.
Kasha is actually a yōkai in Japan that would steal corpses from funerals and cemeteries. What exactly the exact true identity of the creature is not firmly set and there are examples all throughout the country. In many cases, their true identity is actually a cat yōkai, and it is also said that cats that grow old would turn into this yōkai. However, there are also other cases where the kasha is depicted as an oni as well that carrying the damned in a cart directly to hell.
Kasha is a type of bake-neko or monster cat. They are large, bipedal felines as large as or larger than a human. They are often accompanied by hellish flames or lightning. They like to appear during rainy or stormy weather, and most often during the night. Kasha often lives among humans, disguised as ordinary house cats or strays. However, they reveal their true forms during funeral services, when they leap down from rooftops to snatch corpses out of their coffins.
Kasha is occasionally employed as messengers or servants of hell, in which case they are tasked with collecting the corpses of wicked humans spiriting them off to hell for punishment. Other times, they steal corpses for their own uses either to animate as puppets or to eat. It is nearly impossible to retrieve a person’s remains after they have been snatched by a kasha. This makes passing on to the next life difficult. The best defense is to be prepared, temples in areas where kasha are said to prowl have devised unique ways of defending against these monster cats.
Sources: YouTube Storied.