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Asian Fox Spirit

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"The kitsune is multitalented, appearing in local folklore, historical records, literary texts, theatrical performances, and contemporary popular culture. It can be a dangerous shape-shifter and it can possess people; but it is also a standard feature in Inari worship, and stone statues of kitsune are stationed at shrines throughout the country. With so many different incarnations and meanings, it is fair to say that in Japan today the kitsune — a charming and cunning deceiver that emanates an aura of danger and malevolence — is admired, worshipped, and feared."
The Book of Yokai: Mysterious Creatures of Japanese Folklore, by Michael Dylan Foster

In East Asia, Fantastic Foxes are prominently featured in folklore.

Broadly speaking, these East-Asian foxes have a number of similarities: they're often intelligent, shapeshifters, and possessed of multiple tails.

However, the different cultures of East Asia have within them different names for these supernatural foxes:

  • In China, they are called húli jīng ("fox spirit") or jiǔwěi hú ("nine-tailed fox").
  • In Japan, they are called bake-gitsune ("changed/changing/monstrous fox") or youko ("youkai fox"), though both are often localised simply as kitsune ("fox").
  • In Korea, they are known as gumiho/kumiho ("nine-tailed fox").
  • In Vietnam, they are referred to as hồ ly tinh (a direct transliteration of huli jing) or yêu hồ ("demon fox").

And likewise, differences exist in the depictions of such beings—for example, the Korean gumiho/kumiho is more often presented as outright malevolent than is the Japanese kitsune — often killing humans in order to eat their hearts and/or livers. The kitsune, on the other hand, is depicted as sometimes marrying humans, in which capacity they prove to be devoted spouses and parents.

Indeed, kitsune, when benevolent, have come to be closely associated with a Shinto kami, Inari.

Nevertheless, when the stories of such foxes cross borders, the local word is simply applied: that is, when a story of a húli jīng is imported to Japan, it is told as a story of a kitsune. For example, the Chinese húli jīng Dájǐ is usually considered to be the same entity as the Japanese kitsune Tamamo-no-Mae.

But it should not be thought that these foxes begin their lives as supernatural beings. Instead, in many depictions, they start as normal foxes. As they grow older, they grow too in power (and number of tails). Eventually they gain human-level intelligence (or greater), as well as various powers: Voluntary Shapeshifting (in particular to human form), possession, enchantment, supernatural wisdom, and more.

A fully nine-tailed fox may be depicted as being incredibly powerful, and dangerous even if they're not malevolent.

Physically, they have a few distinguishing features: as already mentioned, they have multiple tails (up to nine). They may also have squinted eyes or Eyes Always Shut (which is called kitsune no me in Japanese, meaning "fox eyes" or "shifty eyes").

In behaviour, their activities vary from divine servants (or even gods of a sort), through shapeshifting tricksters and seducers — to bringers of ruin and eaters of men. Or, as mentioned above, they might fall in love and marry, and live happily that way. (And in that last case, their children — while not foxes themselves — will inherit magical powers.)

One particular variety, the small, weasel-like kuda-gitsune or "pipefox" (sometimes known as kanko, izuna or osaki)note  is employed as a Familiar by human families. In most depictions, they follow commands faithfully but are capable of slowly bringing their masters to ruin (most often by multiplying until they run out of food). These are sometimes depicted as "fragments" of more powerful foxes (see Tamamo-no-Mae under Mythology), or even their detached tails come to life.

In modern fiction, such foxes turn up often: anime in particular has them as a staple whenever mythology appears, while Western writers note the similarities between them as The Fair Folk, and use them thusly.

Additional fun fact: kitsune are common Animal Motifs for Japanese character types, and are often portrayed as foils and rivals to Tanuki. In fact, in Japan women are considered to be "tanuki-faced" (square/round) or "kitsune-faced" (inverted triangle/heart-shaped), the latter being considered sexier, so to call a Japanese woman fox-faced is looked upon as paying them a very sultry compliment.

Fortunately, all of these fox-spirit types can be cowed by the presence of dogs.

See also Youkai, Little Bit Beastly, Beast Man, The Fair Folk, and Ghostly Animals. Compare Tanuki. Fantastic Foxes is the Super-Trope. See Fox Folk for other fox people. The Femme Fatale kitsune is automatically a Foxy Vixen, and evil examples fall under Foul Fox.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • Agents of Atlas: Superspy White Fox (Ami Han) is the last-known surviving kumiho in Korea, all others having been slaughtered by three-legged canine demons called Samjoksu. She's a Voluntary Shapeshifter, has Super-Senses, Super-Speed and Super-Reflexes, Speaks Fluent Animal, can hypnotize others with her voice, and can drain life energy using her Yaewoo Guseul (Fox Marble). She is firmly on the side of good and is the top operative of the South Korean National Intelligence Service.
  • Fables: The spin-off Fairest shows bisexual Rapunzel once had a relationship with a female kitsune named Tomoko, (who mostly looks like a human woman with three fox-tails but would gain various other vulpine attributes while having sex and drinking the blood she drew from bites), and they still mean a great deal to each other.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (IDW): Kitsune appears to be named after the Japanese fox spirits, although she might be a bit odder than that, having recently been implied to be from a whole family of ancient, powerful animal spirits.
  • The Sandman (1989): The spin-off The Dream Hunters is a kitsune tale in which a fox falls for a monk targeted by a cruel Onmyoji and goes to Morpheus for help.
  • Shang-Chi: One of the species of mystical beasts from Chinese mythology found in Ta-Lo are jiuweihu, white fox-like creatures with multiple tails. Despite existing in the same universe as White Fox, it's not clear if they're related to the Korean kumiho.
  • Usagi Yojimbo has Kitsune the gentlewomanly thief who is a wily fox but not a magical one, a fake kitsune in the background of "The Inn on Moonshadow Hill" and two real kitsune who teach Gen a lesson. While in "Fox Fire" Usagi saves what looks like a mundane fox from hunters, then is bewitched by a fox woman, only for the fox he rescued to come to his aid.
  • Vampirella: The Warren run had the series "The Fox", featuring huli jing Ming Toi in ancient China.

    Card Games 
  • Kitsune: Of Foxes and Fools has the players take the roles of kitsune inflicting karma on sinful humans (fools) by way of "tricks" in order to gain tails. Or they could scheme against one another instead.
  • Magic: The Gathering: The Kitsune of Kamigawa are patterned off of this. Per Word of God, it was originally intended for the sets to have a wide variety of Kitsune types, such as Blue to represent tricksters and White for shrine foxes. However, the plans were scrapped and they became the purely White-aligned clan seen in the final version. Much like their mythological counterparts, they grow tails the wiser they get. A notable feature is their faces, which are depicted as kabuki theater kitsune masks instead of conventional fox heads.

    Fan Works 
  • In The Bridge, a gumiho features as an Arc Villain. Lifted almost exactly from the Korean fable "The Fox Sister", she's a cannibalistic sadist who stalked an immigrant across the ocean to Equestria after murdering her fiance and his family.
  • In Constellations, a pair of twin kitsunes appear to cause mischief, and a young one adopts Assault as her father after he buys some fried tofu for her.
  • In Lighting Candles, when Tadashi Hamada becomes a guardian spirit, he is able to turn into a fire kitsune (particularly ironic since he died in a fire).

Harry Potter

  • Harry Is a Dragon, and That's OK has twin kitsune Tyler and Anne Smith, depicted here as beings with some innate magical abilities and who can shift between fox, human, and human/fox hybrid forms. The two are among the first of many non-human students that are enrolled in Hogwarts after Harry's arrival, and they swiftly enter a Friendly Rivalry with Fred and George Weasley (the other mischief-inclined twins at Hogwarts).
  • In Make a Wish, Harry Potter finds a young kitsune that attempts to prank him. Harry puts her in touch with the Weasley twins.

My Hero Academia

  • In Turning a New Leaf, Chairwoman Kannazuki Shizuka has fox-like characteristics that evoke the kitsune.

One Piece

  • In This Bites!, in order to keep up with the rest of the crew, Su, the cloud fox, decides to gain kitsune-like powers by finding "the Children of Inari". It's implied that this will be the training she undergoes during the two-year Time Skip.

Puppy in My Pocket: Adventures in Pocketville

  • Nihonverse Pocketville:
    • Kitsune are prominent characters in the series, one of the most important being Amaterasu, the High Priestess of Onmyou.
    • Kyuubi Emiko, also known as Queen Elaine, is a six-tailed kitsune gijinka who is one of the most important Otherworlders who stepped foot onto the queendom, being the Seventh Folklorist.
    • The Moon Queen is an anthropomorphic nine-tailed kitsune Goddess of the Moon who also happens to be the spirit of the late Elizabeth II. She used to be Emiko’s predecessor, the Sixth Folklorist.

Whateley Universe

  • Kitsune: References the concept by title, and is a reference to the fox-girl nature of its protagonist.

    Film — Animation 

    Film — Live-Action 


  • Akira Kurosawa films:
    • Ran is an adaptation of King Lear for Japanese audiences. One of the three sons of the elderly Great Lord has a wife who is clearly manipulating him to his downfall. She has her husband send his right-hand man off to kill a rival woman and return with her head encased in salt. The would-be assassin takes a page from Zhuge Liang and returns telling a tall tale about how he beheaded a kitsune. He opens his satchel and reveals the head of a kitsune statue, then curses the "demon" who got away, likes to disguise itself as a beautiful woman, and seeks to corrupt and ruin men. The wife reacts with fury. Sadly, the son does nothing. It doesn't end well.
    • Akira Kurosawa's Dreams has a segment in which a little boy wanders into the woods and seeks a kitsune wedding procession.

Specific Films

  • 47 Ronin: Witch is a malevolent kitsune with heterochromia who serves as The Dragon to the main antagonist.
  • Painted Skin: Xiao Wei is a malicious nine-tailed huli jing who maintains her youthful human form by eating men's hearts, but falls in love with a human general who saves her life. She conspires to take the place of his wife, and nearly succeeds, but ultimately sacrifices her power in order to undo the damage she caused. In the sequel, set 500 years later, she escapes the glacier she was imprisoned in and conspires to become a human by getting a human to willfully give her their heart during a solar eclipse, initiating a love triangle between herself, a Rebellious Princess with a scarred visage, and the princess' Bodyguard Crush to accomplish this.
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings: White-furred fox-spirits — referred to as jiuweihu, another name for huli jing, by tie-in merchandise — are seen among the supernatural wildlife present in Ta-Lo, with a three-tailed kit being shown playing with its nine-tailed parent.
  • Umma: After the delivery of Amanda's mother's cremains, Amanda finds the kumiho (nine-tailed fox from Korean mythology) that was eating her chickens.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Akumaizer 3: Episode 33 features Kitsunen of the Akuma Clan, a white fox-like demon who runs a bathhouse that lures in unsuspecting people and carries with her a pot to boil people in.
  • Forbidden Love has a race of nine-tailed fox-people, one of whom falls in love with a human.
  • The Fuchsbau Wesen in Grimm are very similar to Kitsunes. There is also a type of Wesen known as Kitsune, and according to legend, are one of the very few Wesens to have a tail—nine, in fact.
  • Gumiho Tale Of The Foxs Child is a Korean Thriller TV miniseries about a gumiho who has to endure 10 years of marriage to become human. On the eve of her 10th anniversary, her husband breaks his vows, leaving her and the 9-year-old daughter who has inherited her abilities. Oddly, the gumiho in this story is sympathetic, only wishing a normal life as a human. It is only when her daughter is lynched that she becomes vengeful.
  • Lost Girl. Inari, the Villain of the Week of "The Kenzi Scale" is a kitsune (constantly mispronounced as "kit-soon") fae who does a kidnap-and-replace of Kenzi, desiring the strong friendship she has with Bo. She's apparently insane as the other kitsune fae shown in the episode aren't villainous.
  • The eponymous Kamen Rider Geats aka Ace Ukiyo is based on the kitsune, and not only is he an Experienced Protagonist, he's also willing to manipulate and lie - though he's also got his softer side.
  • Lovecraft Country: Meeh Ji-Ah is a Korean woman possessed by a kumiho/nine-tailed fox, and she must kill 100 men and absorb their souls through her tails during sex to become a human again. She's convinced to stop at 99 and learn to accept herself as she is.
  • My Girlfriend Is a Nine-Tailed Fox involves an Idiot Hero freeing a trapped gumiho spirit from a painting. It goes about as well as one would expect. In this version, however, the stories of her eating men's livers in order to become human are deliberate slander, intended to discourage human menfolk from pursuing her beauty and thus leaving the local human women bereft.
  • My Roommate is a Gumiho: As evidenced by the title, Woo-yeo is a gumiho. He spends most of the show in his human form but will occasionally transform into the full fox-spirit form. He takes the life force from women and absorbs it in order to slowly become human. Dam has swallowed his fox bead and the two need to work together to get it out of her.
  • The Supernatural episode "The Girl Next Door" features a kitsune with the alias Amy Pond. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the portrayal of the creature is almost wholly inaccurate. Here, the kitsune is presented as a being of human appearance with the ability to transform its hands into deadly claws. Amy and others like her must feed on human brains in order to survive and can only be killed with a stab to the heart. About the only thing the show's kitsune have in common with the mythical creature is their foxlike eyes.
  • Super Sentai
    • Kyuemon Izayoi from Shuriken Sentai Ninninger, who fits the trickster archetype because he's extremely secretive and manipulative, and you never really know where his loyalties lie until late in the series, where it turns out he's Big Bad Gengetsu Kibaoni's firstborn son. The same goes for his Power Rangers counterpart, Madame Odius, who ends up usurping Galvanax as the Big Bad.
    • Kitsune have appeared as a Monster of the Week in certain series:
      • Kagaku Sentai Dynaman: Fox Evo, while nominally based on a normal fox, possesses many of the magical powers associated with kitsune like shapeshifting and illusions.
      • Ninja Sentai Kakuranger featured a nine-tailed kitsune who wrapped most of her tails around her body like feather boas. She appeared in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers as Katastrophe, the result of Rita Repulsa turning Katherine, the soon-to-be second Pink Ranger, into a monster.
      • Samurai Sentai Shinkenger: The ayakashi Isagitsune is based on kitsune (and In-Universe is the basis for them), which is exemplified by the array of magic spells that he uses to befuddle and overpower the Shinkengers. He appeared in Power Rangers Samurai as Vulpes.
  • Tale of the Nine Tailed features a whole bunch of Korean fox spirits. The protagonist is an ancient and powerful former deity (he resigned), but the more common "liver-eating monster pretending to be a beautiful woman" also appears.
  • On Teen Wolf, the second half of the third season deals with kitsune mythology. Kira Yukimura is revealed to be a kitsune and possesses a golden spiritual aura in the shape of a fox. In keeping with the idea that the kitsune can create fire or lightning by rubbing its tails together, Kira has the ability to manipulate electrical currents. Her mother has these powers as well. There are said to be 13 different types of kitsune, including the nogitsune — a trickster spirit that feeds on chaos, strife, and pain. The latter comes into possession of Stiles' body for the remainder of the season.
  • Ultraman Taro: Appropriately for a series inspired by Japanese fairy tales, had a kitsune kaiju called Miegon as a Monster of the Week. While its appearance was rather reptilian for a fox, Miegon possessed all the qualities one would expect, like nine tails, illusory tricks, and various fire-based abilities.

  • The extended Old Master Q epic, "Master Q and the Fox Spirit" have the titular character randomly befriending a millennia-old Fox Spirit (who spends the entire story disguised as a human) who decides to bestow Master Q superpowers in return for breakfast. But then another fox spirit, one assuming the form of a gorgeous young woman, starts stalking Master Q and blackmailing him as an accomplice to help her steal an enchanted diamond. Turns out the second, gorgeous fox spirit is the wife of the first, who's tasked with arresting her after she escapes from her heaven prison, but is unable to do so and thus manipulates Master Q into completing the job for him. Which Master Q isn't too happy about to say the least...

  • Shin Gumiho retells the myth of the Gumiho who wanted to become human.
  • Laon: The eponymous Laon is a mischievous — and occasionally malicious — gender-bending nine-tailed kumiho who was stripped of all but one of their tails as punishment for losing a bet, and departs to the human realm; allying with amnesiac journalist Taeha Gwon to get them back.
  • Nowhere Boy: The gumiho, who is actually one of the thirteen people who have to save the world. She still has her cravings when her animalistic side gets tempted.

  • Babymetal uses kitsune as a recurring motif, especially as the main theme for the song "Megitsune", which compares women to kitsune — specifically, how women can disguise their appearances with makeup, much like how kitsune can disguise themselves with illusions.
  • "Kitsune" by O'Hooley & Tidow is a rare western example that has the narrator falling for a girl who turns out to be a Kitsune and disappears in fox form every now and then. Until she gets run over by a car while in that form. The ending is somewhat ambiguous as to whether she survives or not.
  • In Akiko Shikata's song "Otoshimono" (from her album Wokashi), a girl speaks of her brother who was taken by foxes as a child, and apparently turned into a kitsune himself.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • Chinese Mythology:
    • Huli jing are thought to form the template for the Japanese kitsune and Korean kumiho, transmitted across East Asia by Buddhist monks. First described in the ancient text called the Classic of Mountains and Seas, the specific traits of huli jing have evolved over time, but they generally start out as regular foxes who cultivate spiritual power through Taoism. As their power and knowledge grows, they sprout up to nine tails that serve as a marker of their wisdom and power, develop shape-shifting abilities (sometimes by placing a human skull on their heads), and practise Taoist sorcery to cast curses and illusions. Huli jing can be good or evil — often seeking to gain power by draining yang energy via sex — and nine-tailed huli jing, or jiuweihu, were sometimes said to ascend to become celestial beings akin to the gods.
    • Daji — featured as an antagonist in the Fengshen Yanyi— was a woman possessed by a sadistic nine-tailed fox who became the favorite consort of King Zhou of Shang and brought about the downfall of his dynasty to the point that fox cults were outlawed in China. Katsushika Hokusai and other Japanese artists expanded the narrative by drawing from the Hindu legend of Kalmashapada and stating that after her plot was uncovered, Daji fled China for India, where she resumed her activities under the name Lady Kayō, concubine of Prince Banzoku — who she corrupted into a cannibalistic tyrant. She later returned to China as Bao Si, becoming the concubine of King You of Zhou, before fleeing to Japan as Tamamo-no-Mae.
  • Korean Mythology: Kumiho or gumiho are the Korean version of fox-spirits, and over time diverged from the Chinese template to acquire culturally-specific attributes. Kumiho are almost always evil, seeking to cultivate power by devouring the hearts or livers of men, and draining their victims' life force through a magic orb called the "yeowoo guseul". If a would-be victim swallows a kumiho's yeowoo guseul, however, they will gain supernatural powers and wisdom. Some legends state that kumiho can permanently become human if they abstain from consuming human flesh for a prolonged period of time.
  • Japanese Mythology:
    • Kitsune are the Japanese version of fox-spirits, introduced to Japan by Buddhist monks, and over time became associated with the kami Inari, deity of commerce. By the Edo Period, a bureaucratic hierarchy of fox-spirts had developed with the malicious or mischievous nogitsune at the bottom, while the benevolent zenko — servants of Inari — are permitted to apotheosize and progress through the ranks of kiko, myōbu, tenko, and kūko. Some legends hold that kitsune are also categorized though the color of their fur — gold, silver, white, or black.
    • Kuzunoha, the mother of the astrologer/onmyouji Abe no Seimei, was a benevolent white fox and emissary of Inari. According to legend, a noble named Abe no Yasuna was travelling to Shinoda shrine when he came across a hunter who had trapped a white fox, intending to harvest its liver for medicine. Yasuna fought off the hunter and freed the fox, but was wounded in the process. A beautiful young woman named Kuzunoha appeared and helped him to his home, and they eventually married and had a son, Seimei. Eventually, Kuzunoha is revealed to be the fox that Yasuna saved, but due to her true nature having been revealed she must return to the forest. She leaves a poem asking Yasuna and Seimei to come find her, and it is revealed she is the kami of Shinoda shrine, bestowing Seimei with the power to understand animals. The earliest version of the narrative had the fox-spirit commit suicide out of despair, and some later iterations have Kuzunoha be a human woman who Yasuna was in love with, and who the kitsune impersonates to woo him.
    • The gender-ambiguous and occasionally tripartite kami Inari has white kitsune as servants, and is often depicted as being one - though this is discouraged by Shinto and Buddhist priests. Due to Inari's close association with kitsune, shrines and temples dedicated to them have statues of foxes wearing red votive bibs.
    • Warring States period warlord Shingen Takeda is said to have caused the downfall of his clan by forcibly marrying a kitsune in human form. Their son, Katsuyori, was defeated at the Battle of Nagashino by Nobunaga Oda and Ieyasu Tokugawa, leading to the effective end of the Takeda clan.
    • Tamamo-no-Mae was a beautiful fortune teller who could answer any question, and whose beauty was never tarnished. The Emperor Konoe fell in love with her and made her one of his courtesans, but after several years the Emperor fell seriously ill. Eventually, Abe no Yasuchika, an onmyoji descended from Abe no Seimei, told him that Tamamo was a powerful kitsune — in later versions the same fox-spirit as Daji from the Fengshen Yanyi — that had been poisoning him. Her identity exposed, Tamamo fled, and the Emperor sent his army to kill her. The army tracked Tamamo to the Nara plains, but after 108 days only Kazusa-no-suke and Miura-no-suke — the two most powerful warriors in Japan — remained. Tamamo appeared to Miura-no-suke in a dream, prophesying he would kill her and pleading for her life, but the following day Miura-no-suke shot and killed her. In the original narrative, Tamamo's body was taken to Edo, and miraculous treasures were found inside, but in later iterations it became a cursed stone called the Sessho-seki (Killing Stone) and Tamamo's spirit an onryo who haunted it. In an addendum to the tale written in 1653, Tamamo-no-Mae was eventually exorcized by a Buddhist monk named Genno, allowing her to pass on in peace. In some versions, the Sessho-seki was shattered and its pieces scattered across Japan, manifesting as lesser kitsune called kuda-gitsune and other yokai.

  • In Residents Of Proserpina Park Mirai encounters a kitsune, whom she names Fox Ears, while riding on a bus in Japan. Fox Ears, true to her name, takes the form of a woman with fox ears and a tail. She is haughty and high-strung but also provides helpful information to Mirai.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The 1st edition supplement Oriental Adventures had a fox spirit creature called a "hu hsien".
    • Kitsunemori, a 3rd edition supplement, is a campaign setting with kitsune as a playable race.
  • In Golden Sky Stories, the player characters are shapeshifting animal spirits called henge, with fox henge being one of the available options. In general, fox henge have powerful magical abilities and are often worshipped as gods, but have very little inclination for socializing or menial work.
  • GURPS: The Shapeshifters supplement includes a detailed template for kitsune characters.
  • The card game Kitsune: Of Foxes and Fools has the players taking on the role of mischievous fox spirits playing pranks on mortals who deserve it. It does however draw some inspiration from other mythologies than that of the kitsune—for instance, the "Bloodthirst" consequence temporarily causes them to acquire the "appetites" of gumiho.
  • Ninjas And Superspies adds shapeshifting fox spirits as an available player race in its Mystic China sourcebook.
  • Pathfinder
  • RuneQuest: Fox women are magical shape-changers, spend most of their time in their animal forms, and occasionally change into their human forms. As humans, fox women are legendary for their beauty and lust, and they often seduce human males.
  • The World of Darkness:
    • Old World of Darkness: During the 1998 "Year of the Lotus" releases, Werewolf: The Apocalypse received an Asian-themed expansion called Hengeyokai which introduced the Kitsune werefoxes.note  They are described as the youngest of the Changing Breeds and are the most spiritually inclined. While physically weakest, they are skilled in elemental sorcery as well as paper-themed origami sorcery. As a character goes up in rank, their vulpine forms grow additional tails, generally up to five (the games' level cap), but the legendary Bai Mianxi got up to nine tails.
    • In Chronicles of Darkness, the kitsune are a type of fox-spirit. Due to Father Wolf coercing their progenitor Inari to rein them in during the ancient times, they're divided into two factions: benign Inari Seha (obedient foxes of Inari) and malevolent Inari Kihar (foxes who abandoned Inari). They are most commonly encountered as allies or enemies of werewolves (depending on faction), but kitsune bonded to human hosts are playable.

  • The Tsukiuta stage plays feature Hajime and Shun as Kurotenko and Shirotenko, majestic four-tailed Little Bit Beastly figures who seem to act as rulers of the ayakashi realm.

  • In a case of What Could Have Been, the Monster High/Ever After High crossover movie would have introduced a humanoid kumiho character named Euna. However, with the movie's cancellation, she was unable to properly join either franchise.

    Visual Novels 
  • Miyabi in Enchanted in the Moonlight is a kitsune, with the usual shapeshifting powers, ghostly blue fox-fire, and trickster attitude. He appears variously as a handsome young human man, a longer-haired version of his human form with fox ears and tail, and an actual fox with supernatural markings.
  • Yuuichi Komura from Hiiro no Kakera is descended from one and can partially transform into one.
  • Makoto Sawatari in Kanon turns out to be a fox that Yuuichi cared for when he was young, but he set her free when he had to leave town. Her wish to see him again lets her become human, but despite being able to meet him again years later she has no memories of being a fox, or really anything about her former life at all.
  • The Nine-Tailed Fox who, according to legend, opposed the tengu Tenma Taro in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies. He even inspired a Masked Luchador, the Amazing Nine-Tails.
  • Please Be Happy:
    • The protagonist is a Korean fox-spirit who goes by Miho and is searching for a traveler who showed her kindness when she was a normal fox, wandering the Earth while relying on her mysterious ability to be forgotten after 24 hours by anyone who meets her to survive through thievery. When her travels take her to the floating island city of Wellington, New Zealand, Miho ends up befriending — and perhaps falling in love with — the human barista/aspiring novelist Aspen and the vampire librarian Juliet, and can end the game having ascended into a divine nine-tailed fox once her yeowoo guseul is fully-charged.
    • After Miho starts settling down in Wellington, she encounters a belligerent gumiho who she nicknames Silver, who hates humans and sees Miho as weak and a traitor to their kind for wanting to adapt to civilization. However, Miho's kindness and empathy can break through Silver's bad attitude and they can part ways as friends... not that Silver would ever admit it to Miho's face.
  • Shall We Date? franchise:
  • Kakuya, the Big Bad of Spirit Hunter: NG, is a flute-playing spirit with fox ears, who can manipulate other spirits and has a fondness for games. Unfortunately, said games have a tendency to put the competitors in grave danger.

  • The main character of Eclipse Apprentice is a human/Huli-Jing hybrid whose powers are a bit late to develop compared to the rest of her family, leading her to seek assistance from some other demons.
  • One issue of Marvel's Eternals: The 500 Year War (a prequel to the 2021 Eternals film) has Kingo and Sprite in 12th century Korea, where the murderous Deviants they're hunting are mistaken for Kumiho by humans who encounter them
  • The Fox Sister presents a very dark and vicious gumiho who serves as the main antagonist; she has a habit of impersonating her victims after she feasts on them (such as the protagonist’s sister), alluding to Korean folklore where they're typically portrayed as malevolent.
  • The God of High School: Legends speak of a kumiho that once served God but He feared its power and ordered its execution, and it retaliated by rebelling against Him and destroying half of Heaven before swearing revenge. In the present day, Ilpyo is able to draw on its power through his Charyeok and take on a sort of hybrid form vaguely reminiscent of Naruto's.
  • Housepets! features Great Kitsune as the DM of the tabletop fantasy game that is being played, with our protagonists as pieces. He's smart enough to be the DM, and has an obvious trickster side, but is also somewhat impulsive and a bit short-sighted despite his best attempts to be the Big Good the pets need. Turns out that there's already been another kitsune in the comic... Great Kitsune's little brother is none other than Karishad, handily explaining the latter's weirdness and seeming ability to bend reality to his odd whims.
  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! Lari the ninja mistakes Molly the Monster for one of these and becomes infatuated with her. He's a little squicked out when he realizes that she can't actually change into a regular human.
  • The cast of Karin-dou 4koma are primarily youkai, so of course this type is included. Shizuki grows her second tail early on in the series, while Sachi (a kuuko) doesn't show off hers.
  • Komugiko Sawatari from Megatokyo is later revealed to be a kitsune, and she comes from a whole clan of them. Some of them hide their fox ears and tails, while others display them openly.

    Web Original 
  • David Kintobor has the ability to morph into one in David Gonterman's American Kitsune.
  • In Britsune Garden Series, kitsune are very important to the setting, connected to goddess Kanako Okami and a four-tailed kitsune even appears on the English coat of arms. Kitsune are also the inspiration for the titular species. Even one particular character, Hinata, though she is actually a Kamitsu Britsune, resembles a nine-tailed one. However, their fear of dogs is rather downplayed, instead of being downright terrified, kitsune are known to get startled if they suddenly encounter a dog.
  • Gensho Yasuda's series of animated shorts feature a kitsune named Uka as a recurring character, living at the Shinto shrine overseen by Mamiko the miko. After Mamiko is killed by a samurai and reanimated as a one-armed undead, Uka tries her best to help out.
  • The 3D graphics marketplace DAZ 3D features Kiko 8.1, a kitsune girl of the Little Bit Beastly variety.
  • The Kindness of Devils:
    • Loves Lost And Found has Oyuki Akamine, who shows up to assist Sun-hyo in defeating malevolent supernatural creatures.
    • A Conspiracy of Serpents has Oyuki's daughter, Kasumi, who helps Grete and her allies fight against the villainous serpents.
  • Firefox-ko, an unofficial mascot for Mozilla Firefox.
  • Mystery Skulls Animated: Mystery is a kitsune disguised as a dog; in the past, he was a trickster spirit that led samurai to their deaths, but after a fateful encounter with a particularly strong one, he became a guardian spirit to her family and stayed that way since.
  • SCP Foundation:
    • SCP-953 is a kumiho, and calling her a kitsune sends her into a violent rage... though she has taken advantage of the confusion on occasion. Her profile notes that the difference between kumiho and kitsune seems to be a matter of ethnicity and culture akin to "the difference between a Cherokee Indian and a New Delhi Indian."
    • SCP-150-JP, available on the Japanese site, is codenamed "the Kitsune" due to being a red fox with supernatural powers — in its case the ability to warp reality by swapping the properties of objects — though unlike SCP-953 it doesn't appear to actually be a fox-spirit.
  • Wartime Stories has an episode that covers the titular creature in detail, from its legend in Japanese folklore to a US Marine's encounter with one on the island of Okinawa. Interestingly, despite being a Yōkai, it's shown to be hurt by gunfire and can be killed with the force of an explosion.

    Western Animation 
  • In Hellboy Animated: Sword of Storms, a kitsune is pretty much the only youkai on Hellboy's side when he is transported to a Japanese folklore-inspired Magical Land.
  • Love, Death & Robots: One of the main characters in the episode "Good Hunting" is Yan, a young huli jing who befriends Liang — the son of a demon-hunter who kills her mother. As the English colonize China, Yan loses her magic and gets stuck in human form as the world is taken over by technology. When she's victimized and turned into a steampunk cyborg, Liang builds her a new body with the ability to shift back into a nine-tailed fox-like form so that she can seek revenge.
  • In Miraculous Ladybug, Volpina is a fox-themed supervillain who has illusionary abilities and is known for lying. She is based on a real fox-themed superhero empowered by the incarnation of Illusion which is a fox-like spirit.
  • Sonic Prime: The alternate universe version of Miles — who as a two-tailed fox was already based on the kitsune — from New Yoke City is shown giving himself seven extra mechanized tails that double as Combat Tentacles, bringing him up to a total of nine. This coincides with his Meaningful Rename of "Nine", based on a legend of a kitsune gaining nine tails total upon reaching full maturity. His shadow in the recap of his backstory highlights his hardened nature, showing his usual two-tailed form before going to a menacingly posed nine-tailed version.

    Real Life 
  • In China, calling a woman huli jing implies that she's a homewrecker.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Nine Tailed Fox, Kitsune, Huli Jing, Kumiho, Gumiho, Jiuweihu


Gaijin Goomba explains Kitsune

Gaijin Goomba (both the real person and his cartoon goomba counterpart) explain to the viewers just what the Kitsune is.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / AsianFoxSpirit

Media sources: