Top Ten Pokemon Based On Japanese MythologySince pokemon is based on Japan, a vast majority of it is inspired by Japanese mythology and folklore. Here, I will present the ten pokemon that have similar relations to Japan's folklore.
Phantump is based on the Kodama, a spirit that dwell and possesses trees and is said to curse those who try to chop off the possessed trees, those victims are then granted some kind of supernatural power. Its eerie sounding cry from Phantump may share relations to the yamabiko, a spirit that yelps delayed echoes throughout the mountains and valleys. Phantump's pokedex may share similar relations as to those spirits.
Based on the Kitsune, simply meaning fox in Japanese, which is a known Japanese legend said to possess many tails and live for very long, and as they age, they can also be able to possess as spirits, which explains that Ninetales has the ability to learn a handful of ghost and psychic type moves. Paired with that and the ability to live 1,000 years, Ninetales fits this legend perfectly.
Since Froslass is created when a woman strays afar lost on the snowy mountains according to legend, this pokemon may be based on the Yuki-onna, meaning "snow woman" in Japanese, a floating spirit and is generally seen as pretty as Froslass. According to the pokedex, Froslass takes the souls from men and other souls and takes them to its den. Froslass's behavior also similarly matches the Yuki-onna as they tend to strike terror on those who get lost on the middle of blizzards.
Like Ninetales, it is most likely based on the Kitsune. Both Zoroark and Kitsune share similar abilities such as being able to shapeshift into humans. In Zoroark's case, Zoroark can look like both humans and pokemon. More specifically, Zoroark may also share similar relations to Yako (spirits that possess foxes and tend to act mischievous/destructive)
Espeon shares traits with the bakeneko and nekomata, but may be based closer to the nekomata since it has two tails, and both have the ability to possess foreseeing and psychic powers. Espeon can be often seen as mysterious, as both those two share those traits.
Based on the Japanese mythology creature Namazu, a large lurking catfish that has the ability to trigger earthquakes. Since the pokedex mentions its ability to create earthquakes, Whiscash makes this a reality in the pokemon world.
Since Banette is an inanimate doll known to be possessed when its owner abandons it, it may be based on the Tsukumogami (also known as tool kami), a type of yokai that tools and other inanimate objects are possessed by spirits.
Bronzong is based on the Dotaku, which are ancient bronze bells similar the design of Bronzong. While Bronzong is said to bring rain according to Pokedex, Dotaku may have been used for the bringing of good harvests and other agriculture purposes and believed to bring rain on crops. Apparently, Bronzong is also nicknamed as the "bringer of harvests" which might explain the relation in between those two.
Because of its cute yet deceiving appearance, Mawile may be based on the Futakuchi-onna, which is a woman possessing two mouths. One on the face, which is the normal mouth, and the other larger mouth on the back of her hair behind her head.
Because of its "devious" and cunning personality, it may be based on the Kamaitachi, which are yokai demons known as sickle weasels that attacks people with their sharp claws.