Mythology Monday ~ Kitsune

“Kitsune” is the Japanese word for “fox.” In Japan, foxes have always held great spiritual significance. Foxes are seen as clever, intelligent, and powerful creatures. In Japanese mythology, foxes possess paranormal abilities such as shapeshifting, possession, fire bending, and mind manipulation. Foxes can use their trickery for evil — causing harm to others, or for good — as protection.

In folktale, foxes grow stronger and wiser with age. It is said that for every 100 years they live, they grow an extra tail. A 900-year old fox would have nine tails! The nine-tailed fox is the most feared.

Foxes have been known to use their power for good when they punish those who are wicked and greedy. They do this through trickery, such as stealing or creating illusions. Most often they will shapeshift by taking the form of someone else in order to deceive their prey. They may do this for the purpose of justice, or for the purpose of their own sick amusement.

Character

Kitsune are very wild and like to live by their own rules. They are most amused by puzzles, illusions, and pranks. Due to their intelligence, their minds must be constantly stimulated. At their worst, they are deceptive and manipulative. But at their best, they are intensely loyal.

Types of Kitsune

  • Youko are not true foxes, but purely evil demons that take the form of a fox. Their trickery is always used for maliciousness.
  • Myoubu are not capable of evil. They are completely benevolent. Those who worship them are assisted and protected by them. Followers may perform prayer or sacrifices to them in order to receive help.
  • Nogitsune most commonly interact with the humans. They can be evil or good, depending on their personal preference.

Kitsune tsuki

With one of their psychic abilities being possession, kitsune tsuki refers to a fox spirit’s possession of a human.

Foxes typically take possession of a human in order to seek revenge upon them for causing harm. They most often prey upon women or anyone who is weak-minded. In the olden days, mental illness was blamed on being possessed by a fox spirit. They turn their host into a puppet, causing them to do or say bad things.

Foxes can also take host of an entire family. This is typically done for higher purposes. They can grant a family abundance, fertility, and prosperity while also casting bad luck against the family’s enemies.

Foxes can also act as a medium for divination purposes. Fox spirit may enter a person’s body and give them messages about the future, or give them supernatural knowledge. This can be dangerous, as the fox spirit may be reluctant to ever leave the person’s body.

How to spot Kitsune

  • Usually they will have fox ears and at least one fox tail.
  • They will spend most of their time in hiding.
  • Their skin may be paler or show a lack of sun, due to being in hideout.
  • They will talk differently, sounding like they come from an older time, and won’t be aware of today’s slang/buzzwords. They may speak slower or faster than normal.
  • They are scared of dogs; dogs may be distrustful of them.
  • They do not like the smell of incense.
  • They avoid mirrors; their reflection exposes them.

Sources:

https://mythology.wikia.org/wiki/Kitsune

https://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends-asia/kitsune-0012027