Are Kitsune Evil? (The Truth About Kitsune)

I first heard about Kitsunes five years ago from a popular TV show. It depicted Kitsunes as protectors fighting to save a teenager possessed by an evil spirit.

As a theologian and researcher, this piqued my interest. I picked up some books on Japanese mythology and learned all I could about these trickster spirits.

The information came in handy during a recent class. A student wanted to know if the Bible had anything to say about Kitsunes and if they were evil.

Falling back on my research, I shared the truth about Kitsune with my class.

So, are Kitsunes evil?

Kitsunes are believed to be both good and evil. According to Japanese mythology, evil Kitsunes are trickster spirits who cause harm to their victims. According to these myths, these Kitsunes possess people and feed off their life force. These Kitsunes are believed to be rogue spirits out to cause problems. In contrast, good Kitsunes are believed to be messengers of Inari, a deity of the Shinto religion. They’re seen as bringers of good news and prosperity during the rice harvest. Furthermore, some believe they can help heal a person possessed by an evil Kitsune.

Join me in exploring this topic. I’ll discuss the origins of the Kitsune myth, whether Kitsunes are good or evil, and what makes them so. Let’s get started.

Where did the myth of a Kitsune come from?

Historians believe the myth of the Kitsune resulted from frequent interactions between ancient Japanese farmers and foxes. These foxes were drawn to pests such as rats and mice.

Soon, farmers saw them as protectors of their rice fields. It wasn’t until the 8th century that records of foxes with god-like abilities started showing up.

These foxes were associated with Inari, the chief deity in the Shinto religion. Adherents of this religion believed Inari protected their rice fields and brought prosperity.

He was often depicted with hundreds or thousands of foxes (the Kitsune). These Kitsune were seen as Inari’s messengers and bringers of good news.

However, during the Edo period (1603-1867), the Kitsune were divided into two main groups – the Zenko (good foxes) and the Nogitsune (wild foxes).

The Nogitsune was associated with mischief and harm, often possessing women and ruining entire families. You’ll often find the Nogitsune in Japanese trickster stories.

Are Kitsunes dangerous?

Are Kitsune Evil?
Are Kitsunes dangerous? Image source: Pixabay

Yes. According to Japanese mythology, some Kitsune are dangerous. They earned the name Nogitsune, which means wild fox.

The Nogitsune are depicted as tricksters who target greedy merchants and proud samurais. Additionally, they’re believed to harass farmers and common folk for fun.

The Nogitsune are believed to possess women and use them to seduce or harm men. Furthermore, they’re believed to drain their victim’s life force.

Most trickster stories portray the Nogitsune’s tricks as harmless at first. However, they quickly take a dark turn, sometimes resulting in death.

Are there good Kitsunes?

Yes. According to Japanese mythology, there are good Kitsunes called Myoubu. They’re considered loyal servants of Inari who took an oath to do no harm and help the deity’s worshippers.

They’re depicted as fox statues wearing red habits outside Inari’s shrines.

What makes a Kitsune evil?

A Kitsune is considered evil when it resorts to its trickster nature. The Japanese believe such Kitsunes are motivated to humiliate or punish those who offend them or exhibit pride and greed.

Additionally, such Kitsunes harm people for fun. They’re believed to target farmers, priests, and monks with their tricks.

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