So during my lunchtime I'm reading this PDF of a book on kitsune lore. Luckily, I'm currently reading it to stoke my brain with fodder for that snippet I posted this morning, and not for academic information, because I certainly wouldn't trust it as far as I could throw it.
I found the link to it on Wikipedia, that bastion of academic research, in the "Other Sources
" section of the kitsune page. Nozaki, Kiyoshi. Kitsuné — Japan's Fox of Mystery, Romance, and Humor. Tokyo: The Hokuseidô Press. 1961.
It's an odd little package, having been Xeroxed from what looks like the 1961 English edition of the book, but it's got a lot of errors that are characteristic of someone using an OCR program and failing to proofread. (Why you'd do that and place the OCR text onto a copy of the original Xerox of the book, I don't know.) The letter é confuses it a lot, so you get random spellings of "kitsuné" as "kitsunh" or "kitsunb". And one date was rendered in letters as "...the Emperor Ichijyo (980-loll)" which makes me read it as (980-LOL).
Then there are the ones where you're not sure if it's an original error, an error in translation, or a post-OCR editor: "In 720 a black fox was presented from Iga Province to the Emperor Gemmyo (661-726), an empress-regnant, the founder of the capital of Nara."
As for the text itself, the analysis isn't particularly good. The author says that the only thing that the rulers of the Heian era were interested only in power (excuse me, Power, as it was printed), and that the masses were so physically and spiritually exhausted that they took refuge in superstition. The book also points out that the noblemen of the Heian era were highly effeminate and that we can see this in the way they followed the example of the court ladies in makeup. Can we say "cultural relativity," please?
At any rate, so far my favorite bit has been the etymology of the word "ikari": "Ikari
(anger) is a word originally used in expressing a strong emotion aroused at seeing a gushing spring. Later. this word was used in expressing the intense feeling of God and men." While I don't particularly believe that etymology, I find it amusing to think that a language might need a particular word to describe overwhelming feelings one might get at seeing a gushing spring.
Overall it reads like an undergraduate paper, with random things cobbled together and with trite interpretations. I'm not relying on it for anything to do with the real world, luckily, mostly reading it for the bits and pieces of folklore I can stuff in my brain and see if anything happens with it.