Kitsune (狐) is the Japanese word for fox. Before the term was used for every other fox species around the world, the term kitsune would likely be used for Vulpes vulpes japonica (Japanese fox) and Vulpes vulpes schrencki (Hokkaido fox), two subspecies of the red fox.
In Japanese folklore, youkai kitsune (妖狐, "Youko") are believed to possess great intelligence, long life, and magical powers. One of the more notable features of the kitsune are their numerous tails; they may possess as many as nine. The more tails a kitsune has, the older and more powerful he or she is, for every one hundred years they live, another tail grows. Once they have lived for eight hundred years they will have nine tails, one of them the one they were born with, and the other eight grown through the ages. A kitsune's greatest power is that of illusion; they are able to trick a human into seeing almost anything. Because of this ability, they are regarded as playful tricksters in many stories.
Some legends say that once a person has won the trust of a kitsune, it will be difficult for others to convince that kitsune otherwise. They are extremely loyal to those they trust, and would often do anything for those people.
Kitsune in Touhou
Monster foxes (化け狐, "Bakegitsune") is generic term for foxes that became youkai. Specific species of fox youkai also exist like the kuda-gitsune. However from what Kasen Ibaraki says, the kuda-gitsune may not be classified as a normal youkai fox as it can biologically breed if a male and female are present, making it a pure species of youkai.
Characters under this Bestiary
- Ran Yakumo (Youkai)
- Unnamed kitsune (Youkai)
- Unnamed kuda-gitsune (Kuda-gitsune)
- Unnamed Fox student (youkai)
Books and articles
- Wikipedia entry for Kitsune
- Wikipedia entry for Youko (Japanese)
- Wikipedia entry for Fox
- Wikipedia entry for Fox (Japanese)