2016-03-13

hikyaku fox legends

- BACK to the Daruma Museum -
. kitsune densetsu 狐 伝説 fox legends .
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Hikyakugitsune 飛脚狐 伝説 legends about fast fox messengers
狐飛脚 Kitsune Hikyaku


. hikyaku 飛脚 courier, messenger "flying legs" .
- Introduction -

Hikyaku were couriers or messengers, who transported currency, letters, packages, and the like. In the Edo period, the network of Hikyaku messengers expanded dramatically, and also became more organized and systematized.


source : fullusedbook.blog119.fc2.com

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. Inaba gogitsune 因幡五狐 / / 因幡の五狐 five foxes from Inaba, Tottori .

- - - - - The most famous of them is

Kyoozooboo 経蔵坊 The Fox Kyozobo
The fox is also called
Keizooboo 桂蔵坊 The Fox Keizobo
Hikyakugitsune, hikyaku kitsune 飛脚狐 the Fox messenger "with flying legs"



- source : blog.canpan.info/minnwa_tottori -

Kyozobo / Keizobo was an old fox that lived close to the Tottori castle. He could run to Edo and back in just two days and was famous for his speed. The Lord Ikeda 池田 of the Castle was very fond of him.
One day Keizobo was sent on a secret mission to Edo and passing 播磨国 Harima no Kuni (Hyogo), he passed a trap of a farmer, who had placed a delicious-smelling fried rat. Since he was on an urgent mission, he passed on. On his way back from Edo he was hungry and wanted to get the rat, but in turn got caught in the trap himself and was killed.
Lord Ikeda grieved about his friend and had the shrine 中坂神社 Nakazaka Jinja built in his honor.



He is venerated at the shrine 桂蔵坊を奉る中坂神社
- - - More in the WIKIPEDIA !


Now popular papermachee toys of Kyozobo of the fox are also made.




草枯れて狐の飛脚通りけり
kusa karete kitsune no hikyaku tori keri

withered plants -
the "fox with flying legs"
is passing by



source : seien0808 - 清苑


- quote -
THE FOX BETWEEN TWO WORLDS

Withered grasses;
A fox messenger
hurries by.


That makes no sense in a Western context. To us — at least traditionally — a fox is a rather sly and clever animal. In traditional Japan, however, a fox (kitsune) is a creature that lives between two worlds — ours and the “spirit” world. In Japan, foxes were believed to be able to take on human form, and woe to the young man who happened to become infatuated with a fox spirit! He would just fade and waste away like a shoot of grass withering, and would eventually die.

Buson has reflected this notion in the withered grasses of the autumn fields in his hokku. He sees the fox hurrying past not as just an ordinary animal, but rather as a courier passing swiftly with a message to deliver, involved in his task and giving no attention to the human. Buson regards the foxes as living their own lives in their own eerie society, separate from that of humans, but occasionally coming in contact with them.

This verse has a feeling that we in the West would associate with Halloween. It is far from the best kind of hokku, but it did exist, and it does have its effect.
- source : Hokku David -


Withered grasses
where a fox messenger on flying legs
passed through.

Tr. Yuki Sawa & Edith Marcombe Shiffert


In withered grass
a fox carrying messages
passes by

Tr. Allan Persinger


. Yosa Buson 与謝蕪村 and Fox Haiku .

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- - - - - ABC List of the prefectures :


.................................................................. Akita 秋田県 ....................................................................
秋田市 Akita town


source : 二〇世紀ひみつ基地


Yojiroo 與治郎狐 / 与次郎狐 The Fox Yojiro


source : xxx

与次郎稲荷神社 Shrine Yojiro Inari Jinja



- quote -
Yojiro, the fox in a Harrinets shirt and Yojiro-Inari-Jinja Shrine



... a manga-like concrete statue of a grinning fox that someone had clad in a red t-shirt of the local basketball team, called the Harrinets. The story behind the fox statue is a sad one. The story goes that 佐竹義宜 Lord Satake Yoshinobu, who built Akita Castle, constructed it on land that was the home of foxes. Yojiro, a three-hundred-year-old fox, approached the lord and asked that some land be left for the foxes. The lord agreed. In gratitude, Yojiro offered to serve as a messenger. He carried messages across the country much faster than any of the lord's human messengers, who later killed the fox out of jealousy.

It is said that the body of Yojiro is enshrined in the Yojiro-Inari-Jinja Shrine, which was later built on the castle grounds. This small shrine is one of the most attractive fox-related shrines in Japan. Inari is one of Shinto's eight million gods, and Inari sometimes took the form of a fox. Pairs of male and female fox statues line the walkway to the shrine. Visitors will walk beneath red Japanese gates while passing under the stares of the foxes who make sure that they behave respectfully. Unique to this particular shrine, some of the vixen statues come with kits, or baby foxes. The shrine is within Senshu Park.
- source : japanvisitor.com/ -

Yojiro has become one mascot of Akita.
There is now also a store that sells stamps with this manga-like figure.


source : nakedpou.blog17.fc2.com/category48
与次郎バーガーの消しゴムハンコ

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湯沢市 Yuzawa

The owner of a tea stall in 雄勝町 Ogatsu was suspicious about the two fast messengers from Lord Satake, おさいんぱたのよじゅうろう Osainbata no Yojuro and さかえのよじ兵衛 Sakae no Yojihei. He put out some poisoned Abura-age Tofu, and when the two passed by and ate them, they became ill and died. When they dropped dead, the human bodies of the messengers turned into foxes.


.................................................................. Nara 奈良県 ....................................................................
大和国宇多郡 / 宇陀郡 Yamano no Kuni, Udagun


source : youkaitama.seesaa.net/article

Gengoroogitsune 源五郎狐 The Fox Gengoro
and his wife Kojoroogitsune 小女郎狐 Kojorogitsune

He was as strong as three people and worked hard, helping the farmers. They all relied on him, but nobody knew where he had come from.
He could run as a messenger to Edo and back in just seven or eight days, a trip that took a human messenger 10 days just to go there.
One day he was asked to run as a messenger, took the box with letters and run off. But near 小夜中山 Nakayama he was killed by a dog. From the box hanging around his neck people found out who he was and delivered the message.
In 伊賀国上野 Igaland, at the temple 広禅寺 in Ueno there lives his wife, Kojorogitsune, who worked as a helper in the temple since she was about 12 years old. She helped with cleaning and sometimes went to the village to buy vegetables and Toku. The children in the village knew her well and often yelled after her - こじょろ、こじょろ little whore, little whore.
But after the death of Gengoro, she soon also disappeared from the temple.

. Nakayama 佐夜の中山 Sayo no Nakayama .
A dangerous pass of the Tokaido Road in Shizuoka.

.......................................................................
生駒郡 Ikoma district

When the modern postal service started in the early Meiji period, people called it the
"fox messenger with flying legs" お狐さんの飛脚の仕業.

At the temple 洞泉寺 Tosen-Ji (Dosen-Ji) there is a small shrine called 源九郎稲荷社 Genkuro Inari Jinja
for the fox messenger 源九郎狐 Genkurogitsune.
The fox who bought a padded hood is also told here.
The famous children's song about
Yamato no Genkuro san やまとの源九郎さん comes from this fox.
The shrine is very small, but counted as one of the three most famous Inari shrines in Japan 日本三大稲荷.

白狐源九郎 The White Fox Genkuro

The shrine is named after Genkuro Minamoto Yoshitsune, one of the most popular persons in Japanese history.
This fox is also appearing in the story of 義経千本桜 Yoshitsune Senbon Sakura.

- quote -
..... Long ago in the Yamato area there lived a pair of old foxes that had lived there for a thousand years. One summer, to the consternation of all the farmers, there was a terrible drought throughout the district. They decided to capture the two foxes, and with the skins they made a drum which successfully brought them the much needed rain.
Ever since that time the drum has been preserved and treasured. The Tadanobu-fox explains that he is, in fact, a son of the foxes from whose skins the drum was made, the drum of which Shizuka now has possession. Immediately upon finishing his story, he changes from Tadanobu back into his true fox form. He tells her that because of his love for his parents, he has followed the drum everywhere.
Yoshitsune, who has been eavesdropping on the talk from behind a bamboo blind in the next room, is deeply moved by the fox's human-like devotion to and affection for his parents. .....
Sato Tadanobu (1161-1186)
- reference source : -



源九郎稲荷社 Genkuro Inari Jinja
On the first Sunday in April there is a festival where children in a procession wear the masks of a white fox.
- - - - - 忠臣狐伝説 - 佐藤忠信 Sato Tadanobu (1161-1186)
- - - - - 妖刀子狐丸 - legend about a serpent and a sword called 小狐丸 Kogitsunemaru.
- - - - - 元和の鎮火伝説 : 元和元年(1615年)、豊臣方大野治房による郡山城攻撃が行われた際城下も焼け、その中心へと火が迫ってきたのを見た洞泉寺住職天誉和尚が、源九郎狐に祈願をしたところ、突然大雨が降り大火を免れた。
- - - - - 綿帽子を買った狐伝説 - The fox who bought a padded hood

奈良県大和郡山市洞泉寺町15 / 15 Tōsenjichō, Yamatokōriyama-shi
- reference : wikipedia -

. Minamoto no Yoshitsune 源の義経 (1159 - 1189) .


.................................................................. Shimane 島根県 ....................................................................
簸川郡 Hikawa district

shirogitsune 白狐 white fox
There came a messenger from Edo, but he did not return.
The next day farmers found a white fox in a trap and soon knew this was the messenger.


.................................................................. Tokyo 東京都 ....................................................................

In the compound of 浅草観音 Asakusa Kannon there is a shrine for Yasuzaemon

Yasuzaemon Inari 弥惣左ヱ門稲荷.
A fox named 熊谷弥惣左ヱ門 Kumagaya Yasuzaemon got caught here in a trap and died. The shrine was erected in his honor.
also called
Kumagaya Inari 熊谷稲荷
There is a story about a samurai named 熊谷弥惣左ヱ門 / 熊谷安左衛門 from Kanazawa who once helped a fox, got fired for it from his Lord and became a Ronin, later turning up in Asakusa.

熊谷稲荷について The Story about Kumagaya Inari Shrine
この稲荷は、江戸中期に熊谷安左衛門が勧請した稲荷で、数ある稲荷とちがって、白狐を祀った稲荷で、江戸浅草の熊谷安左衛門の墓所のある本法寺と、青森弘前の津軽藩公が祀った二ヶ所だけの、極めて珍しい稲荷です。

もう一ヶ所の津軽の熊谷稲荷は、藩公が江戸へ参勤交代のさい、白狐があらわれて、不思議な霊験があったことで知られています。. . .
..... 本法寺と熊谷稲荷の由縁について
熊谷安左衛門稲荷は、当初安左衛門が居住していた、日本橋大伝馬町片町にあった屋敷神として崇めていたが、或る夜白狐が姿をあらわして、「この稲荷の御利益を世に広めたいので、どうか浅草寺院内に小祠を建てて欲しい」と云って白狐が姿を消したと云われています。安左衛門は白狐のお告げを諒とし、寛文5年7月24日、浅草寺の子院である法智院から智楽院に請願し、浅草寺裏門に一小祠を建立することができました。
このときはじめて熊谷安左衛門稲荷と称して、立願する人が多くなったと世に伝えられています。熊谷安左衛門は宝永4年9月死去し、その菩提寺は、浅草八軒寺町の長瀧山本法寺にあり、その墓所もあることから、享保年間の頃、当長瀧山本法寺に勧請し、ますます霊験あらたかな御利益のある稲荷として、世間に知れわたり、今日に至っています。 .....
東京都台東区寿町 本法寺 Honpoji Homepage
- reference : honpoji.web -

There is also a shrine in his honor in Aomori, Hirosaki 青森弘前.


- There is also a shrine with the same name in Yamagata, but no fox related to it.
- reference : kankou.yamagata -



.................................................................. Yamagata 山形県 .............................................................
天童市 Tendo town

Kitaroogitsune きたろう狐 / キタロウギツネ Kitaro the Fox
Once upon a time, there lived a fox called Kitaro in Tendo.
He shape-shifted into a human and became the messenger of the Lord of Yamagata.
Once he had to bring a letter to the Lord of Akita and run away almost in flight. On the way he passed a shop of Abura-age Tofu, where he stopped to eat some. The blacksmith of the village got suspicious and thought it might be a fox. So he fried a dead rat in oil and hooked it with a sharp nail. And indeed, the next morning he found the fox hooked to the bait and killed it.

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- reference : nichibun yokai database 妖怪データベース -



狐猿随筆

This book contains stories about the fox messengers
kitsune hikyaku no hanashi 狐飛脚の話. / キツネの飛脚
. Yanagita Kunio 柳田國男 .

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. Japanese legends and tales 伝説 民話 昔話 - Introduction .

. kitsune densetsu 狐 伝説 fox legends .

. Hikyaku 飛脚 伝説 legends about fast messengers .

- Yookai 妖怪 Yokai Monsters of Japan -
- Introduction -

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神の留守狐の飛脚戻りけり
kami no rusu kitsune no hikyaku modorikeri

the gods are absent
and the fox messenger
comes back . . .


. Ochi Etsujin 越智越人 (1655 - 1739) .

. kami no rusu 神の留守 the Gods are absent .
- kigo for early winter -



source : 二〇世紀ひみつ基地

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. Join the friends on Facebook ! .

- #foxhikyakulegends #hikyakugitsune -
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