Foxtrot's Research on Kitsune Lore
version 3.0
Written by Kit LaHaise, 1997

9) Names and Famous Kitsune

Kitsune come up with the most fascinating names. Each name is a mark on the country, stating the kitsune heritage, and what they have done. Many kitsune in legend have their names.

A kitsune with 'ri' in their name is most likely myobu, or tenko. Many words that are considered holy have 'ri' at the end of the name.

Ikari: Anger of god
Okori: Origin (also means 'power of Mother Nature')
Hikari: Holy Light
Akari: Light of god, Power of god
Inori: Prayer
Mamori: Protection
Minori: Crops

Famous Kitsune

Kuzu-no-ha (Arrowroot-leaf) was a kitsune in a 5-part play of the same name. She fled her family when her son learned of her true nature. Her son, once he had tracker her down, was rewarded with the ability to speak with all creatures.

Cultural NoteThe kitsune were so respected that in the No plays, where all actors wear masks, forcing them to use their bodies to tell the play, *nobody* wears masks when the play involves kitsune.

Tamamo-no-mae, also went by the name Hua-yang. She was a nine-tailed kitsune, and was responsible for the destruction of the king Pan-Tsu, in India, and has over a thousand innocent people killed by him. Later, Hua-yang fled to China, calling herself Pau-ssu. She joins the harem of Yu, king of the Chou dynasty. She eventually becomes his queen, and just to see her smile, Yu goes through unspeakable acts of cruelty. Under her guidance, the Chou dynasty falls.
Pau-ssu eventually fades/dies, only to be reborn in Japan, calling herself Tamamo-no-Mae. She joins the emperor's court, and the deaths continue. When she is discovered, she takes her true form, a golden kitsune with nine tails.

As an amazing coincidence, she is discovered by Abe-Yasuchika, a decendant of Abe-Seimei, who was the son of Kuzu-no-ha, the kitsune listed earlier. Kuzu-no-ha was more than likely myobu, and her child, of course, would be protecting of the emperor, as would his decendants.

She flees after she is discovered, and transforms into a large rock in the moor of Nasuno. In this form, she kills anything that approaches. Birds, people, and plants wither and die around her. It takes a priest with a magic hammer to kill her.

Genkuro is a kitsune, who's parents were 1000 years old, and were hunted to form a magical drum called a tsuzumi. The drum was used to seduce the Fortune of rain into producing storms at the sound of it. It is through a play about Genkuro that it is learned that kitsune are feminine in nature.

Koan (buddhist priest) was a kitsune, who would wander around, telling others he was a Buddhist Priest. He would be invited into homes, were he would tell sermons, and be treated as a proper guest. When he wrote his name for others, he would write his name, age, signature, and seal, along with the character of LONGEVITY.

Jingoro (enshrined) was recored as possessing someone when he thought the man was going to try to kill him. The man, to escape possession and not come to harm, had a shrine built to Jingoro, calling it Jingoro-Inari.

Gengoro (express messenger) was a kitsune known for having the strength, speed, and vitality of three people, and was known to do farmwork, and send messenges for the people he protected. He was later killed by a wild dog.

Genkuro (hair-cutter) was a kitsune who made a habit of tracking down women in Tokyo (then called Edo), and cutting off their hair and breaking pans.

Hakuzo (learned) took the form of a Buddhist scholar, and would talk and answer religious dialogues in the temples. He was seen as very wise, and very scholarly. When he was discovered to be kitsune, he vanished, but would later be seen hanging around outside the temple, preaching the doctrine of Buddha in the dark. Later, the temple was renamed Hakuzo Inari.

Kojoro (little maid) was the mate of Gengoro, and appeared to be a young maid of around 12 to 14. She would do duties for the temple she lived in, and seemed to be quite popular among the children of the region. She vanished after four years.

As is seen, kitsune do not use their real names when among mortals. The true name of a kitsune can be used to bind the kitsune, banish it, or work spirit magic on it. For the most part, the kitsune will take a name appropiate to the task at hand, or as a joke.

Kitsune are spirits, and can be controlled or manipulated as such, though the stronger the kitsune, the more dangerous it is to try this without their name.


10) The End of the Tail

This essay you're reading is the end result of two and a half years of study. I hope you find it informative, and a lot better organized than the last two editions. Thank you for your patience, and please, if you would like to offer information, insight, or ask questions, contact me at:

kit_foxtrot@rogers.com
or
Kit LaHaise
26 A Sonnet Crescent
Nepean, Ontario, Canada
K2H 8W7
Thank you, and enjoy.


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