Mythological Creatures: Kitsune

KitsuneToday’s magical mythological creature is none other than the kitsune.

Kitsune is the Japanese word for fox, so it’s not surprising that this mythological creature’s origins are in Japanese folklore. Most of the time, kitsune look like regular foxes, until they reach a hundred years old or so, then they start to grow more tails. They can have as many as nine, and the more tails a kitsune has, the older, wiser, and more powerful it is.

They can be quite powerful. Among other things, kitsune can shapeshift into a human form—typically either as an old man or a young woman—they can generate fire from their tails, bend time and space, and create illusions so flawless you believe they’re reality. Pretty powerful stuff for a little animal.

Kitsune are also pretty adept in the art of seduction. If you encounter a strange vixen you just can’t seem to take your eyes off of, check her shadow. A kitsune may be able to shapeshift, but their shadow will remain true to their vulpine form, tails included.

Although all of them seem to embrace their inner trickster, there are two kinds of kitsune, the good ones and the bad ones. I’d rather run into one of the good ones.


So how does our many-tailed vulpine friend stack up as a pet?

Protection Ability: More of a trickster than a brute squad, the kitsune has the ability to seduce, create illusion, and outwit many a foe, but it would have to be a pretty powerful one. Young ones don’t have all the power the other ones possess.

I’ll rate that 4 out of 5 claws


Temperament: Well, there are good ones and bad ones, so make sure you’re actually getting a good one. They’re affectionate, they keep their promises, and they’re as smart as a cat-o-nine tails, but they’re also mischievous and not very easy to control.

3 out of 5 claws


Good with Children: Kitsune often grow very attached to a person who respects them and treats them kindly. Then it uses its powers to be very nice to that person. As long as the child treats its kitsune well, I think a relationship would blossom. I mean, what child doesn’t want to tell their teacher the kitsune ate their homework and then have their pet happily supply an illusion proving the whole scenario? The ones in real trouble here are the adults.

4 claws


Trainability: Kitsune don’t really do the training thing. They prefer a relationship of mutual respect and benevolence. If you can handle that, you could probably have an agreeable housemate, but their trickster side never rests, so don’t be so sure you’re not the one being trained.

1 out of 5 claws


Grooming: Let’s face it, a lot of tails is a lot of fur. Not to mention all that shedding!

2 claws


Nutrition Needs: I recall reading somewhere that kitsune are fond of deep fried tofu. So, just keep plenty of that on hand.

4 claws


One fun tidbit about foxes: their urine smells like skunk spray. I don’t know if that applies to kitsune, but since they are foxes, I’m going to recommend proceeding with caution.


I didn’t know there were so many books with kitsune!



S.D. GrimmS.D. Grimm loves reading and writing all types of speculative fiction, especially YA fantasy. Scarlet Moon, the first book in her YA fantasy series Children of the Blood Moon will be released in October 2016 from Enclave Publishing. She’s an editor at heart and does freelance work in addition to editing for Splickety Publishing Group. When she’s not reading, writing, or editing, she enjoys making clay creatures for her Etsy shop, Grimmlies, listening to loud music, Netflix binging, and anything outdoorsy. Her office is anywhere she can curl up with her laptop and at least one large-sized dog.



2 Responses to Mythological Creatures: Kitsune

  1. Chris March 18, 2016 at 6:27 pm #

    Kitsune is one of the villains in the IDW comics version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And the evil Witch in 47 Ronin was a Kitsune. And then you have Vulpix and Nine Tails in Pokemon. And Steve Rzasa has a Vulpix were fox in his novel The Bloodheart.

  2. Laura VanArendonk Baugh March 23, 2016 at 10:23 pm #

    I have a series based around kitsune folklore (which can be traced back 5,000 years and is shared with Chinese and Korean sources, though the Japanese creature is best known here in the west) and that of other youkai. It’s a fascinating topic!

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