"Namahage are the embodiment of the loneliness inherent in snowy lands. Raising a terrifying voice, they seek out and attack living things. If you cross paths with one, you should play dead. They regard the lazy as friends and are lulled into a false sense of security.
They say you should play dead if confronted by a Namahage, but it can be quite fearsome to hide in plain sight of an armed foe. A legend tells of a samurai that tried to banish the Namahage. He attacked its blade with a nearby brush while it was distracted. Without its weapon, it grew afraid and left, promising to reform."
-Okami (Nintendo Wii)
Once upon a time, I came across this creature in an excellent video game. And so, I decided to search for where it came from and find out more about it.
That somewhere is Akita prefecture: specifically the Oga peninsula, an hour north of Akita city by train.