I'm trying to do some research into Kitsune's (and other fox spirits) but I am finding it difficult to find any named Kitsune apart from Tamamo-no-Mae whom has been shown to be quite villianous (although they may be considered a protagonist of their story?)

Are there Kitsune's that can be considered more heroic or are there stories that I can use for my research? Named Kitsune's that serve Inari or even stories of Inari if there are any. I'm having quite a difficult time coming up with anything and would love to learn more on the subject!

1 Answer 1


Kitsune in Japanese mythology fall into one of two categories:

  • 善狐 zenko, literally "good foxes"
  • 野狐 yako, literally "foxes of the fields"

Zenk are benevolent, celestial foxes associated with the god Inari; they are sometimes simply called Inari foxes. Even if they do not have nine tails they are always depicted as being white of color.

There are many stories of Kitsune falling in love with a human man and choosing to live out their lives in the human world. Most of the stories follow the same pattern: a young man falls in love with a beautiful fox lady and they marry, unknowing about the fox’s real identity. She proves to be a very loyal and good wife. But once the man discovers (mostly by accident) that his wife is a fox, she must flee in order to not be killed by the villagers. The most famous story is of Kuzunoha, the mother of strong magic user Abe no Seimei. When fox wives bear children, they receive a part of their mother’s supernatural abilities.

The tale of Kuzunoha was so popular it has been made into a Kabuki play called Ashiya Dōman Ōuchi Kagami (A Courtly Mirror of Ashiya Dōman) in 1734 based on a bunraku (puppet) play.

Here's a video of a part of the play where Kuzunoha interacts with her young son Abe No Seimei (no subtitles).

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