To celebrate Julie Kagawa’s new YA release, the action-packed, fun-filled, Asian fantasy, Shadow of the Fox, I have a guest post today from the lovely lady herself!
Today, and on theme with Shadow of the Fox, I’ve asked Julie to chat with us about her favourite creatures from Asian folklore.
Personally, this is an area that fascinates me. I love fantasy and fairytale creatures with all my heart, but I especially like learning about new creatures or different cultural interpretations of famous creatures.
I don’t know much about Asian folklore, but I am desperate to explore it more because these tales are so filled with wonder, magic and fascination! I’m also making an active attempt to read more diverse fantasy reads based in different countries because I want to support Own Voice authors. So Bring. It On!
Julie, welcome to Blogs of a Bookaholic, it’s an absolute pleasure to spotlight you here today!
My favorite creature of Asian folklore is…well, actually it’s a tie between the kitsune and a dragon.
I’ve always loved dragons; when I was a teen I would read anything with a dragon on the cover. This was also the reason I wrote the Talon saga with modern day dragons fighting a war with dragonhunters.
When I discovered anime and began researching Japanese myth and folklore, the kitsune quickly became one of my favorites. Foxes are my favorite real-life animal, and foxes who can shapeshift, create illusions, and breathe ghostly fire were even more intriguing. Kitsune are everywhere in Japan; from fox statues to folklore to characters in anime and manga. They’re even tied to food like Inari zushi and kitsune udon. They are possibly Japan’s most popular creature of legend, though several others are well known, too.
The oni, Japan’s ogre-like demons, play important roles as villains and creatures of ultimate evil, though there are stories about more heroic oni.
*This is a new fascination of mine as they are completely new to me, and feature heavily in Shadow of the Fox!
The tanuki, a furry creature that looks a bit like a raccoon, is a shapeshifter and illusionist like the kitsune, but is often portrayed as humorous and a bit of a glutton.
The kappa is a strange water creature that looks a bit like an enormous, bi-pedal turtle. It has a shell and an odd, bowl-shaped indention in the top of its head that is always filled with water. Its favorite food is cucumbers and, unfortunately, people, but if you can trick it into spilling the water from the bowl in its head, it loses its power and is rendered helpless.
*This cute little guy eats people?!? This makes me sad. 😦
These are only a few of the strange and wonderful creatures that inhabit Japan’s mythology.
Many others appear in folklore, anime, video games and children’s stories, and if you are familiar with some of their stories, you see them appear time and time again. But don’t take my word for it; go study them yourself, and discover the enormous, colorful world of Japanese myth and legend. You won’t be bored, that’s for certain!