Kyuubi no Kitsune and the story of SesshouSeki

    Having an almost unheard total day off, I decided today to get in my car and make a 1 hour drive up north from where I live here in Sakura, Tochigi to once again explore and photograph an amazing place known as `SesshouSeki` (殺生石)。

Kyuubi no Kitsune and the story of SesshouSeki

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   The entity known now as Kyuubi no Kitsune (9-tailed fox) after untold years of living in India and China made her way to Japan in the early 12th century at the time of the Emperor Toba (鳥羽). She was a magical entity able to shape-change into a fox or a form of `Youkai` or in this case a fairy fox (妖狐ーYouko) who was filled with raving jealousy toward her human counterparts and an unquenchable desire for power. Wishing to expand her influence on the human world and further stated to implement her desire to overtake the world she transformed herself into a young woman and made her way into the imperial court of Emperor Toba. In her human form of a young maiden she was known as `Tamamo no Mae` 玉藻前)and because of her beauty she soon became the object of his desire. She served to please the Emperor as a servant and courtesan and to basically do just as he commanded.

   This all served her just fine as the first part of her scheme to take over the world was for her to kill the Emperor Toba by inflicting him with a lethal disease. This however was foiled by the intervention of a great `Onmyoushi` (陰陽師) by the name of `Abe no Yasunari`.

 

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   It is interesting to note that the more famous Onmyouji, `Abe no Seimei` who was a predecessor of Abe no Yasunari was reputed to have been given birth by a Fox. Anyway, this powerful Onmyoushi, Abe no Yasunari cast a spell removing the cause of the disease or Tamamo no Mae herself, resulting in her real form being revealed to the masses. Fleeing her predicament she flew to present day Nasunogahara, Tochigi where she worked to revitalize herself and continue in her quest to overtake the world.

        This situation of course could not be left alone by the Emperor and he sent out a force of 80 thousand soldiers led by Miura Sukeyoshiaki and Kazusa Sukehirotsune to hunt her down. Eventually after evading the army for quite some time she was killed by the arrows of these two warrior leaders and their army. But such was her magical powers and her rage that she didn`t simply lie down and die and instead turned into a large rock now known as `SesshouSeki` (殺生石– or the `Rock that kills living creatures`).

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The power of the gases is such that it can kill animals, humans and birds flying over it.

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    In the decades following this transformation numerous Buddhist and Shintou priests tried to destroy the rock but it was not until the mid 14th century that a powerful Buddhist priest, Gennou Shinshou was able to break SesshouSeki into 3 pieces using repeated chants and his staff that any counter-measure had any effect. The main rock of SesshouSeki still resides in Nasu in Tochigi and continues to pump out dangerous Hydrogen sulfide and Sulfur dioxide gases.

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The thousand Jizou lining the walkway up to SesshouSeki.

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SesshouSeki (with the rope around it)

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Hokusai`s depiction of Kyuubi no Kitsune

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And never let us forget that `Oh so talented, Fox shape-shifting Megami-Babymetal`s Su-metal!

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