In Japanese mythology, tanuki and kitsune have special powers, esp. the ability to morph (using a leaf) into whatever they want to be.  Acording to legend, they often disguise as humans and cause trouble and confusion to human society.  Although most of the time not as bad as kitsune, some tanuki are notorious.  In the story bunbuku chagama, a tanuki gets revenge for his murdered family member by disguising himself as a human and approaching the hunter's wife.  The tanuki, like all tanukis, was unable to hide his tail, and the wife finally managed to catch the tanuki for tonight's stew, but the tanuki ended up escaping and clobbering her in the head. The hunter eventually finds him and ends up working out a deal where the tanuki's sent to a freak show and the tanuki does balancing acts for money.

The word for raccoon in Japanese is araiguma, literally meaning "washing bear."