How to pronounce kitsune? Alex US English. Daniel British. Karen Australian. Veena Indian. How to say kitsune in sign language? Popularity rank by frequency of use kitsune Select another language:. Powered by CITE. Are we missing a good definition for kitsune? Don't keep it to yourself Zen may not have come to America before Europeans, but koans were here already.
While kitsune stories do not have the diversity that a continent the size of North America afforded to the Coyote stories, there are still some years of known fox tales in Japan, and they are not necessarily consistent. Since around A. The foxes are mischievous, sometimes self-absorbed, sometimes helpful, and in some cases actively evil. The chief non-cultural distinction between Coyote stories and kitsune stories is that in the former case, the stories are about the same being, reincarnated when necessary. Kitsune stories are about different foxes each story. Beyond that, there are obvious similarities.
Both foxes and Coyote take the form of humans to trick them out of food or out of favors sometimes sexual. Both show great power at times, and at other times get killed doing very foolish things. They are magical, but only when it fits the story, and the idea of what fits is seemingly subject to the whim of the storyteller.
Kitsune in the literal sense is the Japanese word for fox. Foxes are a common subject of Japanese folklore; in English, kitsune refers to them in this context. Kitsune (狐 or きつね, Kitsune) is the Japanese word for fox. Foxes are a common subject of Japanese folklore; in English, kitsune refers to them in this context. Chinese folk tales tell of fox spirits called huli jing that may have up to nine tails (Kyūbi no Kitsune in Japanese).
The antecedents of kitsune stories seem to have entered Japan along with Buddhism, and Zen teachings suggest an appropriate cautionary note when we play anthropologist. When we look for patterns, we will find the patterns we ourselves impose.
We certainly find recurring imagery and conceits throughout the stories, but nothing in the stories implicitly leads us to a Kitsune Grand Unification Theory. In the many kitsune tales, the fox fits into the same role across Asia. The earliest Japanese written records simply mention white and black foxes as portents of good or evil, a concept imported from China.
Down through the centuries, however, the Japanese have also avidly read Chinese tales of the supernatural, and produced similar stories, embodying the belief in the ability of foxes to transform themselves at will into any shape of their choosing, from scholars, students and bodhisattvas to beautiful women who seduce men.
We see the two separate threads of good and evil: fox as benefactor and guardian, and fox as beguiler and trickster. In such stories a manipulative nature may be a positive trait in men, but never in women.
Foxes and femme fatales have been connected in Japan for over a thousand years, as Goff writes:. The poem is about a fox in an old grave changing into a beautiful woman with fine makeup and a lovely hairdo, its tail flowing like a long red skirt. Many of the earliest stories of kitsune that survive today come to us through the Konjaku Monogatari, a volume collection of narratives written in the 11th century.
By this time, Buddhism had entered Japan and was becoming quite popular. Takakuni, the author of the Konjaku Monogatari, was a Buddhist, and the principles of that belief system, of karma and samsara transmigration , are reflected in his tales.
Like many Coyote stories, the narratives about the kitsune in this collection have negative lessons—that is, they are not figures to emulate. Kiyoshi Nozaki writes:. Kitsune, as you will read in such a book as the Konjaku Monogatari, is an animal wanton by nature.
It is supposed to satisfy its desire by having relations with men through the art of bewitchery. Apart from the question of the possibility of this, you will notice, in the fox tradition, that kitsune is making use of its superior brains in various ways in bewitching men. This is the time-honored tradition of Japan in regard to the bewitchery of kitsune. Perhaps the Zen answer is the best answer: they just do.
In some tales the foxes must perform a ritual to assume other shapes. To appear human, they put a skull on their head and pray until the change is affected. In most tales if the fox is in another shape, we meet it as a human or perhaps a tree or a stag , so we do not see any ritual necessary for shifting. The shift back to a fox is always instant. In some tales the fox has been given away by the glimpse of a fox tail from under a kimono. Foxes walking as men and women are invariably described as attractive, and having a distinctive look to the face which is considered subtly alluring.
In this aspect kitsune tales have a passing resemblance to some Celtic folklore of the faerie lands, where humans follow a Sidhe into a dream life of domestic bliss with a nice home, wife and children. Usually, the tales have a man who becomes lost, and follows a woman—often a princess—to her home and stays there for what seems to him years, settling into a new life. Fortunately, for each year the victim imagines he has spent, only a day has passed in reality. Some of these tales are more gentle. Janet Goff relates the origin of the fox-wife genre, which, like the Konjaku Monogatari, comes through Buddhism rather than Shinto:.
The genre of fox-wife tales in Japan dates back to a story in an early ninth-century collection of Buddhist tales called Nihon Rydiki about a man searching for a wife. While crossing a field, he comes upon a pretty woman who agrees to marry him. Around the time that she bears the man a son, their dog gives birth to a puppy which sees through her disguise. Eventually she becomes so frightened that she turns into a fox and runs away. Sometimes this is through movement particularly slow wagging of their tail.
In a handful of stories, foxes in their natural form have imitated human voice. In most of these stories the fox seems to be exerting its power for its own amusement rather than for dark ends. From Nozaki:. When possessed by a high-class Kitsune, it is difficult to notice any difference in the way of bewitchery. According to a certain kannagi maiden of the shrine who divines things, besides having other duties , there are 13 kinds of foxes with their different methods of witchery, such as celestial foxes, earthly foxes, black foxes, white foxes and so forth.
Such foxes are very strange and fantastic. There are tales of fox-possession recorded in the Konjaku Monogatari, but there seem to be relatively few tales concerning possession rather than shape-shifting.
The superstition of fox-possession continued in civilized Japan until the turn of the 20th century, and may still continue in rural areas today; dementias and hallucinations were often ascribed to fox possession, just as they were ascribed to demonic possession in Europe. The most common manifestations of these in stories are hosts of small lights, like fireflies, or larger fireballs.
In the Issho-wa, published in , a story is told of foxes observed chasing one another in the yard of an Inari shrine, breathing fire from their mouths. Kitsune are a supernatural species within the Teen Wolf Universe. They are described as "tricksters" with no care for the concept of right or wrong. In Japanese folklore, all foxes exhibit some level of magical ability including shapeshifting into people, other creatures, and inanimate objects. These powers increase with age and wisdom.
In ancient stories, some foxes use their magic for good while others are malevolent. They are often portrayed as tricksters. Like most supernatural creatures, Kitsunes demonstrate enhanced strength, speed and accelerated healing. We have only observed two Kitsune so far, Kira Yukimura and Noshiko Yukimura and have always appeared human to the naked eye.
When a Kitsune is using its abilities, there is an orange glow that appears in its eyes.