Kitsune Onna: The Fox Woman

I’m over at Part-Time Monster this week talking about the Kitsune, one of Japan’s most beautiful and alluring female monsters. Easily equated with the mermaid brides of Europe, Kitsune Onna is not always evil, but almost always mischievous. Have a look and tell me what you think!

Part Time Monster


Many, many years ago, a young man in Gifu was lovestruck by a beautiful woman in a field. Determined to make her his wife, he proposed on the spot. To his great delight, the coquettish lady agreed, and they were married.

Their marriage was a happy one, and in the first year, the wife gifted her husband a son, strong as a god, and as fast as one, too. Yet the husband’s dog and her own puppy would always growl and snap at the wife when she passed them. The wife, fearing the animals, begged her husband to get rid of them, but he could not bring himself to do so. 

One day, the dogs at last attacked the wife, who, jumping on a rice barrel, suddenly revealed herself to be a fox. Her husband, exposed to the truth, lamented her discovery, for though they could no longer be together, he still…

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5 thoughts on “Kitsune Onna: The Fox Woman

  1. Crispian Thurlborn says:

    “Dream Hunters” is an excellent book. It’s been ages since I read it, but I well remember the artwork.

    This is similar to the Kumiho (구미호) or “nine-tailed fox” from Korea. Although there are rare instances of the kumiho being benevolent, most Korean tales depict them as not the sort of creature you want to cross paths with. Interestingly, there are a number of stories in Korea that tell of a kumiho becoming human… most of them are tragic and rarely end well.

    You might like “The Fox Sister” comic which is based upon a kumiho looking to become human by eating the livers of her victims. There was also a TV show called “Gumiho: Tale of the Fox’s Child” (Korean translation).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alex Hurst says:

      I have a few artbooks of Amano’s. Love them and could spend hours simply staring at how gorgeous his paintings are. I’m a little sad I haven’t been able to see an exhibition while in Japan. But he has a few more artbooks I have my eyes on…. hopefully if I can scrape the cash together!

      Yes, the Korean nine-tails was very similar to the Japanese myth, and it’s actually Korean influence that made her more malevolent, which I found interesting, and maybe telling about how much influence Silk Road trading and education influenced Japan (more than it likes to admit). For example, Kyoto city’s original layout was actually copied from a Korean city, not something often mentioned when the history books talk about how that layout was chosen.

      I’ll check out “Fox Sister.” It sounds interesting!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. roweeee says:

    Alex, I really enjoyed reading your post and love learning more about the great mythologies of different cultures. Last night, I read about the origins of the headless horseman in Irish mythology and now this fox woman in Japanese mythology and am feeling my circle of understanding and reach expand…if that makes any sense. I’m no longer just in my own backyard but stretching roots and tendrils out in to the world.
    I recently went to Byron Bay and was observing a Japanese bride and groom posing for photos at a lookout. The photos would have shown a backdrop of the blue ocean looking tranquil and serene. However, from where I was standing at an angle some distance away, I saw them standing on the edge of a steep precipice…jagged rocks tumbling down towards an unforgiving surf. I thought this backdrop really conveyed what our journey through life is really like. Not always smiles and picture-perfect but very difficult and sometimes these things can get forgotten on wedding days. Marriage isn’t just about, lace, perfect smiles and luxury honeymoons.
    Anyway, I wrote this poem, which I thought you’d enjoy:
    It seemed to accompany your post so well xx Rowena

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alex Hurst says:

      Oh, that’s something I’d like to learn! If you could link me to the source (unless you’re going to blog about it) that would be great! 🙂 How fun.

      That’s a really interesting observation…. but quite apt. I think too many people are taught that the fight and challenge ends at “I do.” Couldn’t be further from the truth!

      I’ll definitely check out the poem, as soon as I hit reply. 🙂


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