Discussao – discussion

As a first post, I wish to start asking Alvaro, Rafa and Victor about this post, about the mith of Kitsune in Japan, and about the relevance of these myths in modern Japanese life. What do you think guys?

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2 thoughts on “Discussao – discussion

  1. Well, the first thing that came to my mind was how the kitsune is used in pop-culture, more specifically in anime, manga and games. To illustrate my point, we can use the manga/anime “Naruto” as an example, which is very popular in Japan and abroad.
    To cut a long history short, the main character, Naruto, is a young ninja who has the mythic Kyuubi, a giant nine-tails kitsune, sealed in. The narrative shows how Naruto find out about his own past, i.e. how did he get the Kyuubi, and the adventures/battles to develop and control the power of the giant kitsune. Well, the entire plot is not so simple like this, but we can ignore the rest and go to the point.
    In the world of Naruto, ninjas are people who can control their “chakra” and channel the energy to make “jutsus” (ninja techniques). Besides “taijutsu” 「体術」(body techniques), and “genjutsu” 「幻術」(illusionary techniques), the ninja can use techniques from five elements (fire, water, earth, wind and lightning) or mix them to generate more powerful attacks. All these jutsus consumes an amount of chakra; if a ninja run out of chakra, he or she cannot make jutsus until recharge (which occurs naturally).
    Now we can see some similarities between your text and the manga: the Kyuubi inside Naruto can give him huge amounts of chakra, but Naruto must learn how to control that amount of power. The Kyuubi is disclosed as an evil entity (sometimes described as a demon) in the beginning of the plot, but later Naruto gains its empathy and respect after several trials.
    At one point, Naruto can invoke the power of the Kyuubi, assuming its form. As long as Naruto becomes stronger the number of tails increases, reaching the maximum amount of nine.

    Regarding the trickster aspect of the kitsune, while it victimizes men, another yokai, the “kappa”, is known by raping women. Utamaro has a (in)famous painting about it.

    As a side note: a popular belief says that kitsune loves “aburagê” (deep-fried tofu), originating the “kitsune udon/soba”. Moreover, it is said that the color of the kitsune resembles the color of the aburagê.

    Source: http://www.geocities.co.jp/Playtown-Dice/9450/kitsune.html

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  2. I also draw my example from pop-culture, more particularly from the musical field.
    Kitsune is one of the themes in which the single “megitsune” from the recent Japanese musical sensation BabyMetal draws from.

    Babymetal are a group of three girls trained by Idol agencies that has a metal band as their backing to produce the first Idol Metal group we have notice of. But the odd mixes doesn’t stop there.

    For the song lyrics and music video, BabyMetal draw heavily from the kitsune mythology, as the fox masks that the girls hold in front of their faces already make clear. As the video goes on, the whole backing band are also shown to be performing using the same masks.

    Their song megitsune is a constant play with the myth of the kitsune and megitsune (foxes and vixens) as manipulative creatures as being the nature of women, who according to the lyrics are natural actresses that can manipulate their feelings and emotions in order to manipulate men.

    Women as Megitsune is the way they reterritorialized the tales about foxes and vixens in Japan to tell their tale about womanhood in Japan. A theme that has been presented in other songs by the group, like in “onedari daisakusen” (Strategy of begging) which is also about women using their skills to manipulate men into doing what they want.

    It is interesting to see that in the latter song their tale is told singing “one for the money, two for the money, three for the money, money money money”, but in the former they chose to deliver the same message appropriating the mythology surrounding kitsune.

    Yet, they don’t stop there. Their megitsune video also contains the group playing in a traditional setting, the girls wear elaborate kimono and run through paper walls, the guitars and drums are accompanied by the sound of shamisen, as even the classical song “Sakura” gains a metal rendition during the bridge as a women in fox masks does a dance with a hand fan in its hand, before the song returns for the singers to call for the “maidens of ancient times”.

    Megitsune is not only BabyMetal’s dialogue with Japanese mythology, but also with Japan’s past, all of that from what could be perhaps considered the ultimate symbol of Japanese Post-Modernity, the globalized Idol Metal act that is more and more popular abroad as it is inside Japan.

    In the hands (quite literally) of BabyMetal, the famous devil horns popularized by headbangers all over the world and considered one of the greater symbols of Heavy Metal culture, also gained a new form, symbolizing the head of a fox.

    The myth of kitsune provides powerful metaphors for them to create meaning, not because it is necessary to convey their message, for they have already did so without it, but as an aesthetic choice that showcases a continuity between the past and the present of Japanese women in their view. Or to use their own words: “We overcame thousands of generations, and now here we are, still living”

    Source: http://youtu.be/cK3NMZAUKGw

    Liked by 2 people

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