Monster of the Week: Huli Jing

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huli-jing-china

After aging for 1,000 years, a huli jing becomes a jiuwei hu (nine-tailed fox)

Accounts of foxes with supernatural powers have existed for millennia. The huli jing (狐狸精 húlijīng) is a fox spirit that arose out of Chinese traditions, predating the Japanese kitsune and Korean kumiho. Despite attempts to suppress the practice, the huli jing was venerated at household shrines throughout China for many centuries.

The fox can be a force of benevolence or malevolence, depending on its individual nature, thus the intentions of these mischievous creatures are suspect when they interact with humans. A huli jing may attempt seduction to steal human essence, curse those they seek vengeance against, reward worshippers with wealth, or provide sage guidance.

“Without fox demons, no village is complete.” —Chinese proverb Continue reading

Monster of the Week: Kumiho

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The Kumiho is a Korean nine-tailed fox. Image: Gumiho by canitiem at deviant art.

The Kumiho is a Korean nine-tailed fox.
Image: Gumiho by canitiem at deviant art.

The Kumiho (구미호), or Gumiho*, is a nine-tailed fox spirit. In Korean tradition foxes that have lived for a thousand years, accumulating a great deal of energy, turn into Kumiho. The Kumiho is similar to other fox creatures, such as the Japanese kitsune and Chinese huli jing. Though they have similar magical abilities and longevity, Kumiho are more malevolent than other fox spirits. Of these long-lived legendary creatures, the Kumiho is the only fox that kills and eats humans.

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Monster of the Week: Kitsune

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Stone Kitsune

Stone Kitsune. Image from Japan Travel Guide

Kitsune are mischievious fox spirits. The term kitsune means “fox” in Japanese, but when used in English it refers to the mystical foxes of Japanese folklore. Kitsune are a type of yōkai, a creature with supernatural abilities. They are similar to the wild foxes found throughout the world, but for their magical powers. Continue reading