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Monday, May 4, 2020

Mystery: Kitsune

Let’s take a trip over to Japan. Land of Godzilla, Gundam, and creepy ghost girls. It’s a fascinating location historically and culturally—the latter of those two being the central focus of today’s mystery. I’m sure most of you have likely heard of the Kitsune. If you haven’t, it’s a nine-tailed fox that has become something of a peculiar “waifu” to many who fall into the category of being a furry or a weeb, though you need not be either to appreciate the creature of legend. Now, given my pension for saying that legends had to have come from somewhere, it stands to reason that the Kitsune would fall into that category, right? Well, let’s take a gander at just that.

The Story

In Japanese folklore, the Kitsune is said to be an intelligent fox-like being that has a great deal of magical capabilities. While typically seen as little more than a myth and spirit of fable and legend, there are those that believe this creature to in fact be a real-life creature. Now why is this? Well, if you’ve read the write-up I did on Slender Man, it’s a lot like that. While nothing more than a niche belief, some think that the Kitsune may in fact be a real creature, or at least was a real creature. Whether this creature has been manifested through the collective belief of humans or if there truly was a nine-tailed fox is up for debate however.

So what of reports? Well, that was a bit on the weird side. I couldn’t find any, at least not any physical ones. Stories of the Kitsune as a Yokai are common because of the writings throughout the ages, but the belief and hope for it to be a physical being exists—perhaps in ways too extreme for my tastes. Though I won’t judge; so if there are no reports, then why bother writing about it? Well, in my eyes, it’s because several other legendary creatures are said to be real. Dragons, merbeings, and even phoenixes are said to live among us, so why not a nine-tailed fox? Well, I guess if nobody’s reporting it, that’s just too dang far. The flaming bird is okay, but not the fox with many tails. By golly this is a weird world. Oh well, onto the theories!


1. It is/was a real creature

There are only two theories today, so kicking things off is the theory that the Kitsune is, or was, a real creature. A lot of people who are really into Japanese culture would likely squeal if they learned that it was real and as such, I’m sure that someone out there can or will tell you that it’s, well, real. That said, in the way of proof, I found precisely jack squat. In fact, when I Googled “Kitsune Sightings”, I got a result in the images for Slender Man sightings. I’m serious.

So with the Kitsune having been btfo by Slender Chad, I guess it stands to reason that there’s little in the way of modern day eyewitness testimonies. As such, let’s move onto the next theory.

2. It’s merely a legend

The second and final theory is that the Kitsune is merely a legend. While this may go against the religious beliefs of some, I’d like to stress that this isn’t what I’m targeting or trying to imply. Ultimately, while I may not align with your personal beliefs, I cannot—and would not—want to say that what you believe in spiritually is wrong. Rather, what I mean is that the Kitsune as a real, physical creature, is merely a legend.

This theory more or less gets its evidence from the area where many, many other claims that a legend is (or was) real from: we have no photographic, video, or fossil evidence of its existence. A lot of fantastical claims about such magnificent, extraordinary creatures ultimately lack any sort of proof. Stories of old can only go so far before you require some sort of proof of such a creature and, like many creatures that fall into the category of being a living legend, the Kitsune lacks any of that. There are merely stories and only stories.

My Take

Ah, the land of legends coming from something real. I’ve talked about this in the past and have stated that I think that all legends originate from something. In some cases, I think that a legendary creature was in fact at one point real. In others, I think that those from times of yore found a fossil (or saw a normal animal) and embellished it to create something like, say, a dragon or gryphon.

In the case of the Kitsune though, I cannot quite say what I think was the inspiration for it. However, I don’t think it’s a real creature whatsoever. My reasoning for this is that, in the time that the story of the Kitsune has been around, no actual physical evidence of any sort has come around. The most we have are just written legends and tales of it. I scoured the Internet for anything of any substance as I wrote this—sometimes outright breaking so I could try to find so much as a grainy, out of focus picture and still I came up empty handed each and every time.

To give an idea as to how pitiful this is, I managed to find more evidence for the existence of the Phoenix.

Now as a spirit, I won’t judge because I don’t like to dictate what someone’s beliefs are, but I don’t think the basis of a real, physical creature is plausible. I could be wrong of course, but I’m quite adamant that a nine-tailed fox isn’t likely.


As fascinating as it is to speculate on whether or not a legend has a basis in reality, any sort of critical eye can likely find more than a few flaws in the belief that such creatures can exist. While the idea of a winged, fire-breathing dragon or a half-man, half-bull humanoid may seem cool and mind-blowing, I’d put money on them not being real. Likewise, I believe it’s a safe bet to say that the Kitsune isn’t real. Though that’s just me. What about you, dear reader? Do you believe the Kitsune is—or was—a real creature? Let me know in the comments. Until then, stay safe and don’t let the Kitsune bite.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, the likelihood of the animal existing is... well, nill to be nice about it. It's a nice thought, but it's not really likely. However, this article is far from complete. You really should have covered some of the stories about the creature for completeness sake.

    There's this frankly beautiful story I found on Wikipedia for example.

    "One of the oldest surviving kitsune tales provides a widely known folk etymology of the word kitsune. Unlike most tales of kitsune who become human and marry human males, this one does not end tragically:
    ''Ono, an inhabitant of Mino (says an ancient Japanese legend of A.D. 545), spent the seasons longing for his ideal of female beauty. He met her one evening on a vast moor and married her. Simultaneously with the birth of their son, Ono's dog was delivered of a pup which as it grew up became more and more hostile to the lady of the moors. She begged her husband to kill it, but he refused. At last one day the dog attacked her so furiously that she lost courage, resumed vulpine shape, leaped over a fence and fled.
    "You may be a fox," Ono called after her, "but you are the mother of my son and I love you. Come back when you please; you will always be welcome."
    So every evening she stole back and slept in his arms.''
    Because the fox returns to her husband each night as a woman but leaves each morning as a fox, she is called Kitsune. In classical Japanese, kitsu-ne means come and sleep, and ki-tsune means always comes."