Kitsune in Japanese means simply “fox", but in the Shinto tradition and in the Japanese folklore, foxes are also mythical creatures, messengers of kami Inari, the god of agriculture, rice and prosperity.
There are many popular stories about kitsune, and the statue photographed here inside the Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto, accurately depicts one of these legends: It is said that any kitsune has a round shaped gem, represented on this statue on the tip of the tail. Called Hoshi no tama ("star ball"), the gem is said to hold the owner’s magic power, and that the kitsune will die if is staying too long separated from its gem. The tradition also notes that if a man manages to take hold of a hoshi no tama, the kitsune will fulfill any wish to get back its magic ball.
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: