Morning Myth – Kitsune

Today’s Morning Myth is one that often shows up in anime and is usually portrayed as a beautiful girl.

狐 (きつね)
“Found throughout East Asian folklore are innumerable tales about the fox, an animal considered predisposed to magic and particularly prone to developing ghostly qualities. Like the tengu, foxes were both divine and mischievous beings, adept at shapeshifting and illusion and often accused of possessing and misleading humans.

The fox refines its talents over the years and acquires wisdom with age, and it was thought that a fox lucky enough to survive fifty or a hundred years would then be sufficiently skilled in magic to transform into a person. As a sign of its seniority, a long-lived fox would develop an extra tail with each passing century, until it possessed nine and had become impossibly powerful and clever.

Foxes were thought to live lives much like people, and in art they often interact with each other in a partially anthropomorphic form, standing on two legs and wearing clothes. But to enter the world of humans they had to look completely like them, as foxes caught trying to trick people with disguises would be severely punished, and often wound up in soup. A fox wishing to transform itself had many special techniques at its disposal, such as placing a human skull on top of its head and praying to the Big Dipper. A careless fox might still leave elements of its anatomy unchanged beneath its clothes, usually a tail but sometimes fur and paws as well, and sometimes it was thus discovered.”

The Obakemono Project



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