The beautiful fox-shifter maiden of Japanese lore is the ‘kitsune.’ Legend has it in Japan that female foxes can turn into lovely women of particular grace. Sometimes you see a male kitsune. Not often.
Also, the fox-spirit’s tail shoots fire. How cool? Very cool.
To turn into a human, the fox has to put a human skull on her head, turn around and bow to the Big Dipper (or whatever they call it in Japan). If she does it without the skull falling off, presto-change-o.
Fox maidens don’t have a clear modus operandi. Sometimes, they punish bad people, sometimes they do mischievous tricks, sometimes they attract and captivate men sexually, in a kind of energy vampirism. And sometimes they fall in love and marry a human man, regretfully leaving him when their true nature is revealed. Their human offspring are supposed to have long lives, intelligence, and magic.
Kitsune are associated with Inari, the Japanese fox god of rice.
Hey, you know back when I said kappa are possibly the only demons with sushi named after them? Kitsune don’t have sushi, but their patron god, Inari, has inari sushi, rice in a sweet package of deep fried tofu (Kappa maki is better, trust me). But kitsune have kitsune udon and kitsune soba, noodles topped with deep fried tofu, which they are supposed to really love.
You can get possessed by kitsune, but only if you’re a girl. The kitsune enters your body through the breast or my sneaking under your fingernails. Symptoms of fox possession, or ‘kitsune-tsuki’ include hearing a fox spirit speaking inside your head and getting a craving for red beans and rice (not the southern U.S. dish, just the beans. Also the rice).
The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters
by Rosemary Ellen Guiley