This evening, I asked my Korean son in law if he had any interesting ideas for me, and he came up with something very interesting. These things aren’t written in English, but in Korean, and he gave me a Spanish translation to read. I have written about the nine tailed fox before on my blog, but I thought she was only Korean. However, this evening, I found out she could be Korean, Japanese, or Chinese. I have also written about Amaterasu, the Mother goddess of Shintoism, the Japanese original domestic religion, and I was really surprised to find out that some people think she was a nine tailed fox.
If you have never heard of a nine tailed fox, I learned about her because there was a TV show here in Korea called “My Girlfriend is a Nine Tailed Fox.” It was about a lovely girl that reverted to a fox if things didn’t go well. That is what the myth is about. The Korean TV show was really cute. In Korea, the nine tailed fox is called Goomeeho. In Japan, she is called Kitsune. In China, the fox spirit is called Ping Yin and if the fox spirit has nine tails, they call it Huli Jing. The fox spirit can have one tail, five tails, seven tails, or nine tails. They are supposed to have infinite wisdom and knowledge. They are magical creatures that appear as beautiful young women, and the beautiful young women prey on men. My daughter says in the stories she read, the nine tailed fox eats people’s livers. The longer they are able to live the more tails they can get, and the more power they have. Every time they get a new tail, they turn either white or gold. If they live 1,000 years, they can get nine tails and become human. There are several different kinds of stories about them from each country doing all kinds of things. What I read said that the nine tailed fox originally came from China, but the myth has been around so long she is interwoven with both Korean and Japanese stories.
In Oriental lore, girls like these could be nine tailed foxes.
They are often in horror stories in Korea. However, in the Korean horror stories, they don’t usually hurt anyone. They just want to be human. However, in Japan, they are always bad. They are basically fox spirits who can trick people.
My daughter knows all the Naruto stories, a very popular series of Japanese kid’s stories. She says in those stories, Naruto has a nine tailed fox trapped inside of him. The spirit was originally trapped inside of his mother, and the spirit got out and was killing everyone in the village. Naruto is an extremely strong ninja, and the nine tailed fox had to be contained, so Naruto’s father put the nine tailed fox in him because he knew he was strong enough to keep it inside so it couldn’t hurt anyone.
There have, evidently, been several nine tailed foxes in Japan. A woman who lived in the courts of Emperor Konoe in Japan named Tamamo-no-Mae wrote many stories about nine tailed foxes. One story she wrote said the high priestess of the temple named Miko was a nine tailed fox.
Another story Tamamo-no-Mae wrote talked about two generals, Kazusu-no-Suke and Miura-no-Suke, and 10,000 soldiers who were sent to kill a nine tailed fox. This nine tailed fox was eating women and travelers, and it was their mission to stop her. The nine tailed fox defeated them. They shot arrows at her that hit one of her tails and ended up on a rock, and they said if anyone touched that rock, they would die.
Someone could call any of these young girls nine tailed foxes. The first one is the only one who looks like she could be dangerous, but they think they would all be dangerous.
Emperor Konoe was sick. The man who was in the court trying to heal him decided that Tamano-no-Mae, the woman who did all the writing about nine tailed foxes, was the reason he was sick. He concluded that she was actually a nine tailed fox. The story says that in 753 B. C. there was a seventeen year old girl named Wakama from China. She was brought to Japan by Japanese generals who had taken campaigns into China to fight there. They ran across a pretty young girl with no family and brought her back to Japan from China. According to Abe -no- Yasuchika, the healer trying to heal the emperor, that young girl became a concubine of the emperor, and her name was changed to Tamamo-no-Mae. He said she was a nine tailed fox who was responsible for the emperor’s maladies.
I have been told that it doesn’t matter if the girl is Oriental or not. If she is beautiful, young, and has long dark hair, she could be a nine tailed fox, so so very dangerous! 😉
There are also ancient paintings that depict Amaterasu, the mother goddess of Shintoism, and the ancestor of the current emperor of Japan, as a nine tailed fox. There are many, many stories in Japan about this nine tailed fox. You can look back through my recent blogs and find more information about Amaterasu, and if you look at even older ones, you may find where I wrote about the Gumiho, the nine tailed fox, here in Korea.