The Magic Fox of the Three Countries

(Sangoku y ōko zue, 三国妖狐圖會)



According to Japanese legend, foxes are evil creatures with long lives.  Their magical powers increase, as they grow older.  When 1,000 years old, they become either white or golden in color and have nine tails.  This series of prints illustrates some of the legends about foxes and their magical powers.  The prints in this series are each about 14 by 10 inches (36 by 25 centimeters), a size known as ōban.



Country: China (Morokoshi, 中華)

Scene: The revived Dakki [of China] appears by magic in the hall of the post station

Publisher: Ise-ya Chūsuke

Robinson: S66.1




Country: India (Tenjiku, 南天竺乃国王)

Title: 南天竺乃国王班足太子怪力

Scene: The marvelous strength of Prince Hansoku (帆足王), king of southern India (班足太子怪力)

Publisher: Ise-ya Chūsuke

Robinson: S66.2


Country: India (天竺)

Title: Tenjiku, Kayo fujin Sai-ki ga manako o ite Hanzoku-o nagusamu (華陽夫人采姫が眼を射て班足王なぐさむ)

Scene: Lady Kayo (華陽夫人) shoots an arrow into the eye of Princess Sai (采姫が) to console King Hansoku (班足王)

Publisher: Ise-ya Chūsuke

Robinson: S66.3


NOTE: Note the European hat and Louis XIV style wig


Country: India

Title: 華陽夫人老狐, の本形を顕し, 東天に飛去る

Scene: Lady Kwayō-fujin resumes her true form as a fox as King Hansoku watches helplessly

Publisher: Echizen-ya Hachiemon

Robinson: S66.4



Country: Japan

Scene: Dōsei (道晴) and his wife find the baby Tamaro-no-maye (the fox’s Japanese incarnation) on the riverbank

Publisher: Echizen-ya Hachiemon

Robinson: S66.5


Country: Japan

Title: 玄翁一喝して悪狐の霊を滅す

Scene: Genō Ikkatsu [of Japan] destroys the spirit of the wicked fox

Publisher: Echizen-ya Hachiemon

Robinson: S66.6



“Robinson” refers to listing in Kuniyoshi: The Warrior-Prints by Basil William Robinson (Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 1982) and its privately published supplement.