January 19, 2017 11:00 pm | Jellyfish Education Consultancy
The anime/manga Naruto is probably where we first heard about a human and a fox having a connection in some way. In Japanese folklore however, the fox or kitsune is a common subject and is presented as an intelligent and wise being with the ability to change into human form. In ancient Japan the foxes and humans have lived closed together that made the legends about this animal become a part of the culture.
In the Edo period, during New Year’s Eve it was believed that foxes from the Kanto Region gather and disguises themselves as humans to visit Oji Inari Jinja, the regional head of Shinto shrines dedicated to the deity of foxes. The story became so popular that a painter named Utagawa Hiroshige did a painting depicting the story inspiring the Oji Fox Parade to be organized. As a way to keep traditional culture relevant in the new community, the Oji Fox Parade became an annual event where local residents including children dress like foxes and start parading from Shozoku Inari Jinja, a very small Inari shrine, toward Oji Inari Jinja just in time to greet the new year. Oji Inari Jinja is located 1 hour and a half away from Tochigi Prefecture and is one of the most visited shrines in Japan. The event is graced with folk music and lion dancers while parade goers bring lanterns representing the light of life and hope, wishing for happiness of the children, passing down the history and culture of their hometown, and giving them hope for a better future.
There’s so much to learn about Japan and the best way to do it is to see, feel and hear it. Be one with the culture and people of Japan and enjoy a unique way to countdown the New Year.
Written by: Bea Isobel Quiachon
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