World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Tamamo-no-Mae

Article Id: WHEBN0004159718
Reproduction Date:

Title: Tamamo-no-Mae  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Kitsune, Warriors Orochi 3, Kappa (folklore), List of legendary creatures from Japan, Oni
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Tamamo-no-Mae

Tamamo-no-Mae. Woodblock print by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi.

Tamamo-no-Mae (玉藻前, 玉藻の前, also 玉藻御前) is a legendary figure in Japanese mythology. In the Otogizōshi, a collection of Japanese prose written in the Muromachi period, Tamamo-no-Mae was a courtesan under the Japanese Emperor Konoe (who reigned from 1142 through 1155). She was said to be the most beautiful and intelligent woman in Japan. Tamamo-no-Mae's body mysteriously always smelled wonderful, and her clothes never became wrinkled or dirty. Tamamo-no-Mae was not only beautiful, but she was infinitely knowledgeable in all subjects. Although she appeared to be only twenty years old, there was no question that she could not answer. She answered every question posed to her, whether about music, religion or astronomy. Because of her beauty and intelligence, everyone in the Imperial Court adored her, and Emperor Konoe fell deeply in love with her.

After some time had passed, with Konoe all the while lavishing all his affection on the beautiful Tamamo-no-Mae, the Emperor suddenly and mysteriously fell ill. He went to many priests and fortune-tellers for answers, but they had none to offer. Finally, an astrologer, Abe no Yasuchika, told the Emperor that Tamamo-no-Mae was the cause of his illness. The astrologer explained that the beautiful young woman was in fact a kind or evil (depending on the story variant being told) nine-tailed fox (kitsune: good fox spirit; nogitsune: malicious fox spirit) working for an evil daimyo, who was making the Emperor ill in a devious plot to take the throne. Following this, Tamamo-no-Mae disappeared from the court.

The Emperor ordered Kazusa-no-suke and Miura-no-suke, the most powerful warriors of the day, to hunt and kill the fox. After eluding the hunters for some time, the fox appeared to Miura-no-suke in a dream. Once again in the form of the beautiful Tamamo-no-Mae, the fox prophesied that Miura-no-suke would kill it the next day, and begged for its life. Miura-no-suke refused.

Early the next day, the hunters found the fox on the Plain of Nasu, and Miura-no-suke shot and killed the magical creature with an arrow. The body of the fox became the Sessho-seki (殺生石), or Killing Stone, which kills anyone that comes in contact with it. Tamamo-no-Mae's spirit became Hoji and haunted the stone.

Sessho-seki, Nasu, Tochigi

Hoji is said to have haunted this stone in Nasu until a Buddhist priest called Genno stopped for a rest near the stone and was threatened by Hoji. Genno performed certain spiritual rituals, and begged the spirit to consider her spiritual salvation, until finally Hoji relented and swore to never haunt the stone again.

Influences in later times

In Matsuo Bashō's famous book The Narrow Road to the Deep North, Bashō tells of visiting the stone in Nasu.

Tamamo-no-Mae's legend forms the basis of both the noh drama Sessho-seki ("The Killing Stone") and the kabuki play Tamamo-no-Mae (or The Beautiful Fox Witch).

There is a part of the storyline of the video game Ōkami that entails a meeting with Rao, a beautiful and intelligent priestess and demon hunter. However, it is later revealed that the real Rao was killed by a nine-tailed fox spirit, and the fox took the image of her, her corpse is below the shrine.

In the video game Fate/Extra the selectable Caster class character eventually reveals herself as Tamamo-no-Mae.

Tamamo-no-Mae is the main antagonist of the video game Musou Orochi 2 Ultimate. She is portrayed as a mystic who possesses a sacred mirror capable of sealing people who stare into it. Her famous legend as a disguise of the nine-tailed fox is also alluded as her own true form upon being revealed by the mirror.

The pokemon, Spiritomb, is a possible reference to Tamano-no-Mae, as Spiritomb was sealed away for it's misdeeds. Spiritomb is also described as mischievous, just as how most forms of the Kitsune in Japanese myths are presented.

References

  • "Tamamo-no-Mae (synopsis)". Enjoying Otogizōshi with the Help of Synopsis and Illustrations. Retrieved June 9, 2010. 
  • "Japanese Dakini". Retrieved February 22, 2006. 
  • "Hoji - Spiritual Being". Japanese Mythology - The Gods of Japan. Retrieved February 27, 2006. 
  • "The Death Stone". Retrieved February 27, 2006. 
  • "Station 9 - Sessho-seki". Bashō's World. Retrieved February 23, 2006. 
  • Mailahn, Klaus: Der Fuchs in Glaube und Mythos, Münster 2006, 190-194, ISBN 3-8258-9483-5

External links

  • Media related to at Wikimedia Commons
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.