The closest thing I got from looking this up is a game. But I kind of need a non-modern interpretation answer for an idea I'm working on.

In the Edo period (1603–1867), kitsune were seen as witch animals. With a little research, I found out that witch in Japan were viewed more or less the same as the rest of the world (evil or with malintent). Witches used kitsune for their power to suite their own wants.

Did anyone ever wish a kitsune harm and end up killing it?

  • ?? What research say this? Kitsune weren't "witch animals", they were messengers of the harvest god.
    – Semaphore
    May 9, 2018 at 9:37
  • The mention of the Edo period comes from the Kitsune Wikipedia and the notes about being seen as familiars is on the Witchcraft Wikipedia. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witchcraft#Japan May 9, 2018 at 15:53
  • That's a rather bad article (lack of references is a sign). There are no close analogs in Japan to the western witches. Kitsune-mochi and tsukimono-suji both refers to spirit possessions, not witchcraft or familiars. The exact details vary from region to region - some are said to cause sickness; others are sort of a guardian spirit that enriches their family only to bankrupt them later on, etc - but the fox spirit (various names include yako, ninko, osai, or kudakitsune) do not assist in using any magic the same way familiars do.
    – Semaphore
    May 9, 2018 at 17:57

1 Answer 1


One belief is that when a kitsune changes shape, its hoshi no tama holds a portion of its magical power. Another tradition is that the pearl represents the kitsune's soul; the kitsune will die if separated from it for long. Those who obtain the ball may be able to extract a promise from the kitsune to help them in exchange for its return

This is what the Wikipedia article says about kitsune.

It also states that when kitsune gets old enough it ascends to heaven, so they are immortal in that sense.

After reaching 1,000 years of age and gaining its ninth tail, a kitsune turns a golden color, becoming a 'Tenko' ("heavenly fox"/"celestial fox"), the most powerful form of the kitsune, and then ascends to the heavens.

Kitsune is surrounded by folklore, so the stories may vary. I would suggest reading the article yourself, since It is out of scope of this answer.

But I have not found a mention about somebody killing a kitsune.

  • I did read the article. How do you think I was able to ask 6 questions in a row about the Kitsune? lol. Part of the reason I ask this question, it doesn't mention if or how a Kitsune can be killed or die (save for being separated from its star ball for too long). May 12, 2018 at 1:29
  • I guess I could be asking for a way other then separating them from their star balls May 12, 2018 at 1:34
  • It is a spirit. It has potential to become something like a deity. I don't think there would be any more weaknesses. I am doing a little bit of digging and I hope I can find something more. But this weakness seems pretty solid from a storytelling standpoint. May 12, 2018 at 9:38

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