Nine-Tailed Fox (Gumiho)

Welcome back, fellow humans.

Nine-Tailed Fox

The Nine-Tailed Fox is a Chinese mythological creature, originally a sign of fortune. However, the Korean Gumiho is considered bad by nature and shares similar physical characteristics to the Chinese Huli Jing and Japanese Kitsune.

Japanese Kitsune

According to the Korean legend, an ordinary fox that lived for 1,000 years can transform freely into a celestial fox spirit and grow nine tails compared to the 9,000 years in Japanese mythology. It can transform into a beautiful woman or a handsome man in order to charm the poor souls and then eat their livers or hearts. A Gumiho can be permanently cursed to remain in the human form, if it devours a liver daily for a thousand days or if a human sees the fox transform into a woman/man, it needs to be kept a secret for 10 days. In the human state, it can pass on the special powers to their children.

Chinese Huli jing

The Korean myth called The Fox Sister involves a couple with two sons who wished to have a daughter. The family was blessed with a daughter who was killed by a Gumiho. The Gumiho returned home in the image of the daughter. Since she returned, the cattle began dying because of their livers were cut out. The sons figured out that their sister was the one who has slaughtered the cattle and reported it to the father but the family disowned the sons, certain that they were lying. The sons later returned to save their parents, only to discover that the fox murdered the family so as to become a human. The brothers were the next target so they deceived the Gumiho and drowned her in the nearby river. 

In Japanese mythology, Tamamo no mae means, The Beautiful Fox Witch is a tale about the nine-tailed fox concealed as a woman. The emperor fell in love with the beautiful woman, but the more he was captivated with her, the sicker he got. Kitsunegao means fox-faced, the Japanese refers to women with the fox-faced attribute as bewitching, who has a petite, oval facial structure and raised cheekbones.


Thank you for reading, fellow humans.

44 thoughts on “Nine-Tailed Fox (Gumiho)

  1. I love mythology, thank you for sharing these stories! I happen to love foxes too, so two in one!
    PS: Sorry about the previous unrelated comment, my computer is being very weird…


  2. It is so interesting! I don’t know much about Korean mythology, it totally makes me want to learn more about it. I always wonder why people think foxes have similar properties.


  3. Thank you so much for educating me on something so interesting and that I wouldn’t have otherwise had the chance to learn about!


  4. Having spent part of my schooling in Japan, I found these mythological stories from that region of Asia to be quite fascinating. It’s also interesting to note the varying takes on the same nine-tailed fox creature, depending on the culture. It’s great that these mythologies continue to be relayed in the modern age and that we can compare the differences between these amongst neighbouring countries.


  5. I have heard of Tamamo no mae and the Japanese myths surrounding the fox. But not the Korean myth. Thanks for the interesting information!


  6. Interesing story and looking on some of he Japanese caltures, it makes me wonder what more we could learn about their cultures because they got some interesting stuff there. I’ve heard about the fox but it wasn’t as much as mentioned in this post, thanks for sharing.


  7. I saw the picture of the fox lady and thought it was cute then I started to read the story. Kind of creeps me out! 😀 This is an interesting read, I’m not so familiar with Korean culture, I’m glad I stumbled upon this post!


  8. Thank you for giving us an idea about a gumiho. Now, I can assume it’s the story of that popular KDrama because I haven’t seen it yet and i don’t think i will be able to watch that sooner or later. Haha love this, dear 😁


  9. This sounds pretty interesting to know about 9 tailed fox. Thanks for sharing this to us. Will get more research about this.


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