The demon vixen is presumably once again on the loose
March 7, 2022 5:32 AM   Subscribe

“I feel like I’ve seen something that shouldn’t be seen" Since 2022 is the year that keeps on giving, in Japan, the Sessho-seki rock (殺生石) has split apart, and a fox demon may be on the loose.

More imagery and commentary on this Twitter thread, including rock before and after photos.

One visitor to the "Killing Stone" says (via Google Translate):
I came alone to Sesshoseki, where the legend of the nine-tailed fox remains.

The big rock in the middle wrapped around with a rope is that ...

It was supposed to be, but the rock was split in half and the rope was also detached.

If it's a manga, it's a pattern that the seal is broken and it's possessed by the nine-tailed fox, and I feel like I've seen something that shouldn't be seen.


More history and explanations here, here, and here.
posted by doctornemo (41 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
 
Well, that explains a lot.

Did anyone else have "demon rock breaks open, letting evil spirits out into the world" on their 2022 apocalypse bingo card?
posted by chavenet at 5:45 AM on March 7 [31 favorites]


So the death stone is broken? Must be all these strange aeons we've been having lately.
posted by howfar at 5:47 AM on March 7 [2 favorites]


I don't know how to deal with a nine-tailed fox demon, but just in case, someone go grab that crystal dagger from last year. That seems like the kind of thing that might be helpful.
posted by The Man from Lardfork at 5:47 AM on March 7 [3 favorites]


The Tamamo-no-Mae historically ruins ruling families and rich men, acting as a "black widow" kind of being, but also destroys their reputation on the way out.

I asked a shinto associate if there was a way to direct her, so we could maybe use that for good.
posted by mephron at 6:24 AM on March 7 [22 favorites]


Good for her!
posted by wreckingball at 6:30 AM on March 7 [8 favorites]


mephron: "I asked a shinto associate if there was a way to direct her, so we could maybe use that for good."

I get your intent, but I feel that any ruling families and rich men being ruined is a net plus, anyway, so I think it's always 'for good'.
posted by signal at 6:38 AM on March 7 [13 favorites]


cool cool cool
posted by heyitsgogi at 6:52 AM on March 7 [3 favorites]


someone go grab that crystal dagger from last year

Sure that's pretty and all, but if you're going with a mysterious ancient relic dagger, probably better to get the one from outer space.
posted by The Bellman at 7:30 AM on March 7 [2 favorites]


The fox demon's ideas are intriguing to me, and I wish to subscribe to her newsletter.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 7:38 AM on March 7 [26 favorites]


Wouldn't she be an 18 tailed fox by now, or is thee a maximum number of tails one can have?
posted by Spike Glee at 7:41 AM on March 7


I give her a week, maybe two, before she decides she was better off in the rock.
posted by nubs at 7:41 AM on March 7 [19 favorites]


I give her a week, maybe two, before she decides she was better off in the rock.

Just wait until she sees modern "interpretations" of her - she'll either be terrified or enraged, and I don't know which is the better outcome.
posted by NoxAeternum at 7:49 AM on March 7


I have no opinions about escaped fox spirits, but I do love all of the bizarre nooks and crannies of Tochigi prefecture. Nasu, in particular, is a very fun, low-key destination that I can personally recommend. It's not the fanciest hot spring town in Japan, but it is really fun, the hot spring water is good, and there are no so many people that you feel rushed. There is even a bakery that sells this nearly black chocolate bread that is a must visit if you are traveling with kids, or just want a relaxed time with carbohydrates and tea.

Anyway, Nasu: come for the demon spirit, stay for the bread and a nice soak.
posted by Alison at 7:55 AM on March 7 [30 favorites]


I recently backed a Kickstarter of graphic 'novels' that are a compilations of folktales from all over the world. One edition is Tamamo the Fox Maiden and Other Asian Stories.
posted by achrise at 8:57 AM on March 7


Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely, some revelation is at hand?


- W.B. Yeats
posted by Rash at 9:17 AM on March 7 [6 favorites]


I wish her well on her mission of fucking up rich dude's lives, truly a heroine for our time.
posted by emjaybee at 9:41 AM on March 7 [15 favorites]


Surely, some revelation is at hand?

Yes. Death rock. Demon vixen. Eighteen tails. Vengeance. Haven't you been keeping up?

(This isn't directed at you Rash, I just thought it was a funny response to W.B. Yeats' poem)
posted by RonButNotStupid at 9:41 AM on March 7


This desperately needs to be a J-drama.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:47 AM on March 7


The fox
She destroyed her rock
Yes
YES
The fox is out
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:48 AM on March 7 [22 favorites]


This is just to say

I have broken
the rock
that was keeping
the demon imprisoned

and which
you were probably
saving
for the apocalypse

Forgive me
she had nine tails
so fey
and it seemed timely
posted by nubs at 9:56 AM on March 7 [25 favorites]


Mr. Dog did wake me up barking at something only he could see last night. Hmmm.
posted by maxwelton at 10:49 AM on March 7


Are nine tails better than one? That just seems awkward for the fox. It's not weirder than folk tales from my own culture. But, it is weird. Interesting!

(I'm also reminded of Giant Rock in the US.)
posted by eotvos at 11:23 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]


I forgot to mention it at the time but stinkfoot dropped some premium sockpuppet names on us the other day.

Can't think of what reminded me of that just now.
posted by mhoye at 11:30 AM on March 7


the Sessho-seki rock (殺生石) has split apart, and a fox demon may be on the loose

Not the Fox News we wanted, but let's face it, the Fox News we deserve.
posted by The Bellman at 11:37 AM on March 7 [12 favorites]


Since 2022 is the year that keeps on giving...

...2022 apocalypse bingo card

What's this 2022 thing? Long while back marked "never left 2020" on my apocalypse bingo card.
posted by k3ninho at 11:48 AM on March 7


Enh, if I have to pick from the available Fox Newses the nine-tailed fox-demon one is likely unleashing a lot less harm on the world, I'll take it.
posted by mhoye at 11:48 AM on March 7 [2 favorites]


The older/more powerful a kitsune is the more tails they have and nine is the maximum.
posted by Mitheral at 11:49 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]


Paging Julie Nolke. Julie Nolke to the white courtesy phone, please.
posted by Soliloquy at 1:08 PM on March 7


Is this Biden's fault, also?
posted by zzazazz at 1:39 PM on March 7


See Also: Lovecraft Country's Kumiho.
posted by mikelieman at 2:09 PM on March 7 [3 favorites]


I looked into this, and there's honestly nothing to worry about.

Back sometime around 1385 or thereabouts, the monk Genno Shinsho talked to the spirit, and convinced her to repent. She embraced Nirvana, Genno performed proper funeral rites for her, and Tamamo-no-Mae's spirit rested. The rock hasn't held her spirit for 640 or so years. It broke in half, sure, and it USED to contain an evil spirit, but wasn't there NOW, so, it's just a rock that broke.
posted by Xiphias Gladius at 2:35 PM on March 7 [7 favorites]


What's this 2022 thing? Long while back marked "never left 2020" on my apocalypse bingo card.

Yes, we updated bingo cards a while ago.

Card #001-2022 does indeed have "Vengeful demon vixen released from rock and shit gets really weird." on it in the third row immediately to the right of the free square and to the left of "Giant Space Rabbits eat the Sun."

The top row from of this card should read from left to right as the following:

"Keanu Reeves stops being so chill and uses his extensive training in martial arts and gun kata for film to go full on real life John Wick on most of the world's autocrats, oligarchs and kleptocrats on a two year non-figurative single-handed rampage through almost every major city and country on the planet all while holding and protecting, feeding and caring for an utterly adorable puppy. With a full film crew. Filmed in 3D 70MM Imax and 16k HD. The movie is released as John Wick 6 and becomes the highest grossing film of all time, a record that stands for 100 years."

"Anonymous hackers manage to disable the UVB-76 "Buzzer" signal using tens of thousands of long range drones armed with software defined radios broadcasting troll face waterfall plots embedded in K-pop hits, which then unfortunately triggers a giant neutron bomb doomsday device that thankfully fizzles when the badly maintained 50 year old primary fission element fails to ignite the secondary and tertiary devices and sends a light plume of fallout over mostly over Putin's moldy and still unfinished palace on the Black Sea because everyone forgot where they buried the damn thing."

"Much to everyone's alarm and surprise Elon Musk saves the ISS/Zarya from conflict simply by buying and leasing the entire country of Kazakhstan as well as RosCosmos, the Baikonur Cosmodrome and all related intellectual property and aerospace design bureaus with nothing but Dogecoin, and then uses the spare change to quadruple NASAs budget."

"Due to the crash of the ruble Moscow Mitch goes bankrupt and ends up homeless, borrows Michael Harrington's "The Other America" and Karl Marx from a public library, reads it while sleeping rough in a park eating cold tins of beans from the food bank, has a change of heart and ends up working his way back up through politics to with e reformed Democratic Party and serving as Vice President to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, all while channeling FDR and re-invigorating the USA with a New New Green Deal."

"A giant world-ending meteor is discovered that is confirmed to be on a collision course by multiple astronomers, scientists and space agencies and much to everyone's dismay it still narrowly misses the Earth."
posted by loquacious at 2:40 PM on March 7 [6 favorites]


I was going to suggest loquacious start up a twitter account apocalypsebingosquares, but a brief google for that idea showed this and this , which perhaps folks might enjoy.
posted by Mutant Lobsters from Riverhead at 5:11 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]


here's a fun video retelling the legend of tamamo no mae. supposedly a monk had already set her free, but who knows with these trickster foxes?
posted by bruceo at 7:03 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]


I'm sure other people have asked this question before and written dissertations on it, but this also makes me wonder why specific animals so often wind up with specific traits in folklore.

I don't speak the language or really know much of anything relevant, but my vague memory is that foxes are pretty much always evil/dangerous/untrustworthy in Japanese stories. But, foxes don't really do much damage to anybody, except for eating chickens. Why are they bad? I'm absolutely not the person who can answer that question. But, I'm looking forward to looking for other people's work when time allows.

Coyotes, who are significantly more dangerous, seem to be a much more ambiguous/celebrated figure in the Americas. Jaguars, who actually might eat you and will definitely eat your ranch animals, are powerful but usually mostly good. Deer/elk/etc in most continents seem more or less like people with individual traits that vary. That is really weird. I feel like I have a lot more in common with a fox or a coyote than a deer. (Stereo vision, number of stomachs, sleeping habits.)

I guess this is a person-fox, so maybe it's actually a counter-example. But, it's still evil, if I understand the story.
posted by eotvos at 7:35 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]


eotvos: the answer may lay in gender, rather than animal. Both Kitsune and Kumiho are exclusively portrayed as female. So really, they fit a certain literary archetype: that of the subversive and murderous female as an agent of strife. In this sense, they are more parallel with Eris in Greek mythology, Lilith, the Strigoi of Latin folklore, the Rusalka of slavic lore.

But whereas in the West it's another benign nocturnal animal (Owls- Lilin, Strigoi, and also the Meso-American Cihuateteo), North Asian cultures identify 'treacherous evil woman' with Foxes.

It may have something to do with being nocturnal and not quite a threat to humans. That's my best guess.
posted by LeRoienJaune at 7:42 PM on March 7 [2 favorites]


I don't speak the language or really know much of anything relevant, but my vague memory is that foxes are pretty much always evil/dangerous/untrustworthy in Japanese stories. But, foxes don't really do much damage to anybody, except for eating chickens. Why are they bad? I'm absolutely not the person who can answer that question. But, I'm looking forward to looking for other people's work when time allows.

If they’re your chickens it’s a pretty big deal, as they kept your family fed.

Foxes are tricksters in European myth as well: Reynard the Fox.
posted by leotrotsky at 9:50 AM on March 8 [2 favorites]


On the fox tangent... Bird hunters collect images of birds, deer hunters collect images of deer, anglers collect images of fish, but people who foxhunt often also collect images of foxes-as-foxhunters and I think this is strange and interesting. Random example
posted by sepviva at 11:06 AM on March 8 [2 favorites]


How do we direct her to a certain group of megalomaniacs? Asking for a... Well, myself.
posted by The Adventure Begins at 9:21 PM on March 8




Welp, scratch "giant meteor narrowly misses Earth" off your bingo cards!

https://www.livescience.com/asteroid-2022-es3-earth-flyby-webcast
posted by loquacious at 2:05 PM on March 13


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