telophase: (Kitsune shrine in Arashiyama in Kyoto)
The kitsune shrine! In Kyoto! [ profile] herchuckness found it and the door in the hill was open!

(If you've started reading my journal after my 2007 trip to Japan, click on the "fox shrine" tag below to read the Saga of the Mysterious Fox Shrine with the door into the hill that was chained shut and blocked with rocks.)
telophase: (Kitsune shrine in Arashiyama in Kyoto)
[ profile] gryfeathr's in Kyoto now, and I gave her directions to the mysterious kitsune shrine [ profile] rachelmanija and I found. After a phone email of "We can't find it!" that had me wondering how much more mysterious this shrine could get, she and her companion/s managed to find it, and she sent me a picture from her phone.

Cut for pic )
telophase: (Near - que?)
My head is full of foxes. Also, the major drawback to reading all these books on Asian fox spirits is that the authors keep mentioning these wonderful stories, which are all in books written in languages I can't read.

In Alien Kind: Foxes and Late Imperial Chinese Narrative, which I'm reading totally out of order, the author mentions that Chinese foxes often threw roof-tiles at people when haunting houses, from which she extrapolates that falling roof tiles were a common problem in Chinese houses. :) (and also mentions that roofs are liminal spaces, boundaries between the outside and inside.)

What I find fascinating is the commonalities between Western and Eastern things - houses haunted by foxes often have the same phenomena as poltergeists in Europe, and mediums could be either possessed by foxes or hold seances in which people and things behaved in ways that would have been completely familiar to any turn-of-the-last-century Spiritualist medium.
telophase: (Asoka - shimmy!)
(That should technically be "shamanka," if we're using the term properly to mean a female shaman.)

Anyway, here's a paragraph from The Fox and the Jewel, a book about the worship of Inari in Japan and the relationship sacred foxes have with the deity. This is from the chapter about the priests and shamans involved with Inari worship, and the differences between them and their approaches--there tend to be strict gender divisions between the two, with men becoming priests and women becoming shamans. This is an account of one ritual/ceremony/what-have-you performed by a shaman.

Read more... )
telophase: (Koumyou - hee)
...I give you a two-page spread from the kitsune book I mentioned in my previous post, with a picture of a kitsune "emitting fire by stroking its tail." (So, is that what they're calling it these days?) Please note the typo in the highlighted portion of the text, which is meant, I think, to be "bushy".

The page, about 200ish K.


Sep. 20th, 2007 12:20 pm
telophase: (Melody of Oblivion - bulljeep)
So during my lunchtime I'm reading this PDF of a book on kitsune lore. Luckily, I'm currently reading it to stoke my brain with fodder for that snippet I posted this morning, and not for academic information, because I certainly wouldn't trust it as far as I could throw it.

I found the link to it on Wikipedia, that bastion of academic research, in the "Other Sources" section of the kitsune page. Nozaki, Kiyoshi. Kitsuné — Japan's Fox of Mystery, Romance, and Humor. Tokyo: The Hokuseidô Press. 1961.

It's an odd little package, having been Xeroxed from what looks like the 1961 English edition of the book, but it's got a lot of errors that are characteristic of someone using an OCR program and failing to proofread. (Why you'd do that and place the OCR text onto a copy of the original Xerox of the book, I don't know.) The letter é confuses it a lot, so you get random spellings of "kitsuné" as "kitsunh" or "kitsunb". And one date was rendered in letters as "...the Emperor Ichijyo (980-loll)" which makes me read it as (980-LOL).

Then there are the ones where you're not sure if it's an original error, an error in translation, or a post-OCR editor: "In 720 a black fox was presented from Iga Province to the Emperor Gemmyo (661-726), an empress-regnant, the founder of the capital of Nara."

As for the text itself, the analysis isn't particularly good. The author says that the only thing that the rulers of the Heian era were interested only in power (excuse me, Power, as it was printed), and that the masses were so physically and spiritually exhausted that they took refuge in superstition. The book also points out that the noblemen of the Heian era were highly effeminate and that we can see this in the way they followed the example of the court ladies in makeup. Can we say "cultural relativity," please?

At any rate, so far my favorite bit has been the etymology of the word "ikari": "Ikari (anger) is a word originally used in expressing a strong emotion aroused at seeing a gushing spring. Later. this word was used in expressing the intense feeling of God and men." While I don't particularly believe that etymology, I find it amusing to think that a language might need a particular word to describe overwhelming feelings one might get at seeing a gushing spring.

Overall it reads like an undergraduate paper, with random things cobbled together and with trite interpretations. I'm not relying on it for anything to do with the real world, luckily, mostly reading it for the bits and pieces of folklore I can stuff in my brain and see if anything happens with it.

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