Ancient Japanese Rock Said to Contain Malevolent Fox Demon Splits in Two
- An ancient Japanese stone called the Sesshoseki has split in two.
- Legend has it that the stone contains the spirit of a malevolent, thousand-year-old fox spirit.
- The stone, located on a mountain slope an hour from Tokyo, was pictured broken cleanly into two pieces earlier this week.
A massive stone in Japan that is believed by some to contain the spirit of a thousand-year-old demonic fox has split into two.
The Sesshoseki, translated to “Killing Stone,” was pictured in two pieces by a visitor to Mount Nasu, a scenic spot in japan’s Tochigi prefecture an hour from Tokyo.
“I came alone to Sesshoseki, place of the nine-tailed fox legend. The big rock in the middle wrapped around with rope is where it was supposed to be, but the rock was split in half, and the rope detached,” wrote a Twitter user, Lilian, who posted a snapshot of the rock in two pieces.
“If this were a manga, it would mean that the seal is broken by the nine-tailed fox. I feel like I’ve seen something that shouldn’t be seen.”
—Lillian (@Lily0727K) March 5, 2022
The original tweet was retweeted more than 84,000 times, and sparked discussion threads on Twitter about supernatural happenings in Japan.
“There were already signs that the fox might escape in February,” wrote one Twitter user in Japanese in response to the original tweet, highlighting a picture of a fiery sunset over Mount Fuji, with cloud formations that appeared to take the shape of a fox’s tail.
The stone, when intact, occupied pride of place on the slope of Mount Nasu.
According to local legend, the “Killing Stone” was said to seal within it the spirit of the demonic fox Tamamo-no-Mae. Tales of the spirit track its calamitous trail of chaos across Asia. During the Muromachi and Edo periods, stories circulated of a fox taking the form of Da Ji, a courtesan in China, and resurfacing as a favored concubine of Emperor Toba, the 74th Emperor of Japan.
Nine-tailed foxes are common motifs in Japanese legends and have appeared on woodblock prints and other traditional Japanese artworks.
—太田記念美術館 Ota Memorial Museum of Art (@ukiyoeota) September 2, 2014
However, the stone might have split due to far-less dramatic reasons. Locals living near the stone told Japanese news outlet Shimotsuki there were cracks developing in the rock for years, attributing the rock breaking to wear and tear from the elements.