Real World Definition
Kitsune (キツネ) is the Japanese word for Fox.
Early portrayals of kitsune cast them as heralds of Inari Ōkami, the god of rice, but in some areas of the country the worship of the foxes became more important than the god they served.
Kitsune in Teen Wolf
Kira explains that Kitsune are "tricksters" with no moral sense of right and wrong.
Derek later explains that Kira is a young Kitsune and cannot yet mask her "aura" which gives away her true nature.
Noshiko Yukimura (Kira's mom) is 900 years old and appears to be in her late 30s early 40s.
Kira was able to absorb a large amount of electricity into her body. She later explains that, according to myth, when a Kitsune rubs its tails together it can create fire or lightening called "foxfire." She is quick to add that she doesn't have any tails.
Kira was able to use foxfire to repair a broken Katana, restoring it from shattered pieces to like new.
She started with 9 and has so far broken 7 in summoning according to dialogue. She says she has only one, her oldest and most powerful, left.
Kira is surprised and delighted to find out that she can run supernaturally fast.
Noshiko exhibited accelerated healing although it took her some time to recover from several bullet wounds in 1943.
Types of Kitsune
Silverfinger explains that there are 13 kinds of Kitsune. He names "Celestial, Wild, Ocean, and Thunder"
Silverfinger says there is a "dark Kitsune". He says "They call it Void or Nogitsune" he explains that they possess a host and draw power from pain and tragedy, strife and chaos.
Stiles Stilinski seems to be possessed by a Nogitsune.
Kira explains that, while Kitsune have no moral sense of good or evil, if you give offense to a Nogitsune it will react badly.
For more on the background of the creature seen on Teen Wolf see: Nogitsune (Beacon Hills).
Teen Wolf Creator Jeff Davis says he studied Japanese kitsune myths while coming up with the stories for Season 3(b).
How Davis plans to further interpret these myths for television remains to be seen.
Real World Myth
- EDITORS NOTE: What follows here is the barest overview of Japanese fox folklore.
- It is not, nor is it meant to be, a full account of the Kitsune Myth.
- The different Japanese folklore stories about foxes are as widespread and varied as rocks in a riverbed. There is no one thing to which you can point and say “there, that is the Kitsune Myth.”
- Confusing the issue even more is the fact that each different Asian culture has its own unique fox-based myths - each with different names and attributes.
- This article deals exclusively with the bare basics of the ancient Japanese folklore on the subject and does not take into account anything published after the 17th century.
- It should also be noted that Jeff Davis and the Teen Wolf writers will likely put their own spin on these creatures and this article will expand and change to reflect the “Teen Wolf Kitsune Concept” once it becomes known.
There is no single, universal concept of kitsune just as there is no single, universal concept of “ghost” or “demon”.
In Japanese folklore, all foxes exhibit some level of magical ability including shapeshifting into people, other creatures, and inanimate objects. These powers increase with age and wisdom.
In ancient stories, some foxes use their magic for good while others are malevolent. They are often portrayed as tricksters. Some of the stories are comical while others are deeply emotional love stories featuring human/fox pairings.