foxes and human beings lived close together in ancient japan; this companionship gave rise to legends.
kitsune is the japanese word for fox. it is often translated as fox spirit as it is believed all long-lived foxes gain supernatural abilities, magical powers as well as superior intelligence.
a kitsune may take human form, an ability learned when it reaches a certain age—usually 100 years. as a common prerequisite for the transformation, the fox must place reeds, a broad leaf, or a skull over its head.
foxes are particularly renowned for impersonating beautiful women. common belief in medieval japan was that any woman encountered alone, especially at dusk or night, could be a fox.
kitsunetsuki literally means the state of being possessed by a fox. the victim is always a young woman, whom the fox enters from beneath her fingernails or through her breasts.
folklorist lafcadio hearn describes the condition in his Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan:
strange is the madness of those into whom demon foxes enter. possessed folk are said to speak and write languages of which they were totally ignorant prior to possession. they eat only what foxes are believed to like — tofu, aburagé, azukimeshi.
in medicine, kitsunetsuki is a culture-bound syndrome unique to japanese culture. symptoms include cravings for rice or sweet red beans, listlessness, restlessness, and aversion to eye contact. kitsunetsuki is similar to but not distinct from clinical lycanthropy.
jessica barensfeld and simon howell, jewellery designer and photographer
his eyes struggling from their demure downward cast to turn over to me, his face suffusing with a sudden blush that seems to advertise his glances, writhing with his body one way while his gorgeous enormous eyelids unfurled the other way, in my direction, to reveal eyeballs in the act of rolling with indescribably veiled languor, mixed with shy shames and raptures of all kinds, as if from premeditated evil depths, from long private preparations no man could ever dream was possible to the mind, mincing deliciously all over like this big lovely child that reads the Apocalypse, wrapping himself around doors, melting, like Bloom, most like Leopold Bloom in a Dream
- from visions of cody by jack kerouac
The woman . . . condemned as . . . figure or power of lying. . . . He was, he
feared such a castrated woman. . . .
The woman . . . condemned as . . . figure or power of truth. . . . He was, he
feared such a castrating woman. . . .
The woman . . . recognized, beyond this double negation, affirmed as the
affirmative, dissimulating, artistic, Dionysiac. . . . He was, he loved such an
- spivak on nietzsche in the translator's preface of of Grammatology by derrida
jean paul gaultier's wondrous spring 2007 couture collection