Japanese Fox, Kitsune, Huli jing


File:Hiroshige-100-views-of-edo-fox-fires.jpg

100 Views of Edo Fox Fire by Hiroshige

I have been asked if I could create a leg sleeve about the thirteen Foxes supposibaly based on Japanese Mythology.

This is a very interesting as the initial document I received describes  13 aspects of the Kitsune and their characteristics. Classifieds as “Heaven, Void, Wind, Spirit, Fire, Earth, River, Ocean, Mountain, Forest, Thunder, Time, Sound”. I always find mythology and legends interesting.  I believe there is much to entertain the imagination and often hidden meanings for the initiated.

We have to remember that beyond a nation, cuture and legends can often belong to more than one country. If Japan as somehow created a unique style. It might be for political reason that Shinto had to become separated from Buddhism.  Some say it is a purer for of Buddhism. One would have to practice to know what it means. I am not going to argue about this!
A sure thing is that both are still present in Japan and that Kitsunes are often present at shrines and in various places including contemporary culture.

Wikipedia describes its origin as Chinese, Korean or Indian, I find it a challenge when studying Japanese Tattoo Culture, if one hopes to discover the true meaning of a subject in its context we have to try to find the source! For today it will be China.

As many of us are away from nature and its power. I believe it can be difficult for us to relate to Animals as gods or God’s messenger. In Ancient Japan, Foxes often lived near Human and I am sure that anyone who  goes alone lost in the middle of a forest far away from any human civilisation would rediscover the relationship and the power of nature. Possibly redefining what it is being human. Is the fox only a manifestation of the spirit? It is said it could shape shift to become human! In Chinese mythology, it is believed that all things are capable of acquiring human forms, magical powers, and immortality, provided that they receive sufficient energy, in such forms as human breath or essence from the moon and the sun.

I somehow believe that the 13 aspects of the Kitsune might be another mean of studying Life, human nature and the hidden and subtile forces one has the chance to explore and harmonize when he studies the invisible as much as the obvious. There is also a mention of the fox-spirit in Chinese chan-buddhism. Linji Yixuan (d.866) said: “The immature young monks, not understanding this, believe in these fox-spirits …” The “fox-spirits” here are voices that speak of The Way, and/or Dharma. They are perceived to be malicious influences that lead the innocent astray. (Source: The Record of Linji, Honolulu 2008, p.218)

I’ll do more research, I have to go back to the drawing board :) If you know anything about this topic, please leave a comment!

Enjoy! Y.

References:

http://www.cyberus.ca/~foxtrot/kitsune/kitsune5.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huli_jing

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konjaku_Monogatari

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitsune

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_mythology