Where should I go to read more about foxes?
That depends on whether you're writing about Chinese or Japanese
foxes. (I can't help you with Korean foxes.)
Online: The best way to learn about foxes is to read fox
stories, so check out the collection at Kitsune.org
and the novel at Ping
Yao Zhuan. For context, read Peter Nepstad's brilliant summary
of foxlore in The
Illuminated Lantern, and Rania Huntington's article on vampiric
and Sex in Late Imperial Chinese Narrative," in Volume
5, Number 1.
Books: Start with Rania Huntington's book Alien
Kind: Foxes and Late Imperial Chinese Narrative. It's a
brilliant and juicy historical overview of Chinese foxes, with a
focus on the height of fox literature, the High Qing. Follow that
up with Leo Tak-hung Chan's The
Discourse on Foxes and Ghosts: Ji Yun and Eighteenth-Century Literati
Storytelling. This covers the High Qing as well, and goes
into great detail on how and why fox storiesand, by extension,
foxesare what they are.
After that, you're going to have to be creative. Most books on
Chinese foxes are out of print. However, you have a fighting chance
of finding a used copy of Pu Songling's Strange Tales from a
Chinese Studio. Every translation changes the name a little,
so look for "Pu Songling" rather than the exact title;
keep in mind that some versions take the sex out of the stories;
and remember that most editions have only selected stories from
Pu Songling's massive original book. Despite these flaws, Strange
Tales from a Chinese Studio is the collection of Chinese
fox talesPu Songling wrote hundreds of them, interleaved with
stories about ghosts and other wonders.
Tales from Make-do Studio
Tales from Liaozhai
Tales of Liaozhai
Tales from the Liaozhai Studio
Tales from Ancient China
Strange Tales from China
Stories from a Chinese Studio
There are several good collections of Chinese fairy and folk tales,
some with their own sections on foxes. Any or all of them are good
Online: There's a small and eclectic group of Japanese fox
stories online. Check out the links on my page of kitsune
stories, and fan out from there. For more factual information,
search Yahoo! groups and other forums for scholarly communities
about Japanese folklore and religion.
Books: Once again, most books on foxes are out of print.
However, these books are not too hard to find:
Blacker, Carmen."Witch Animals", in The
Catalpa Bow, pp. 51-68
Smyers, Karen. The
Fox and the Jewel: Shared and Private Meanings in Contemporary
Japanese Inari Worship. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i
Nozaki, Kiyoshi. Kitsune: Japan's Fox of Mystery, Romance
& Humor. The Hokuseido Press, 1961.
There are also quite a number of excellent collections of Japanese
folk and fairy tales, with Royall Tyler's Japanese
Tales in a strong lead.