Notes for Chapter Fifteen

1 Toyo-uke-bime-no-Kami, or Uka-no-mi-tana ('who has also eight other names), is a female divinity, according to the Kojiki and its commentators. Moreover, the greatest of all Shinto scholars, Hirata, as cited by Satow, says there is really no such god as Inari-San at all - that the very name is an error. But the common people have created the God Inari: therefore he must be presumed to exist - if only for folklorists; and I speak of him as a male deity because I see him so represented in pictures and carvings. As to his mythological existence, his great and wealthy temple at Kyoto is impressive testimony.

2 The white fox is a favourite subject with Japanese artists. Some very beautiful kakemono representing white foxes were on display at the Tokyo exhibition of 1890. Phosphorescent foxes often appear in the old coloured prints, now so rare and precious, made by artists whose names have become world-famous. Occasionally foxes are represented wandering about at night, with lambent tongues of dim fire - kitsune-bi - above their heads. The end of the fox's tail, both in sculpture and drawing, is ordinarily decorated with the symbolic jewel (tama) of old Buddhist art. I have in my possession one kakemono representing a white fox with a luminous jewel in its tail. I purchased it at the Matsue temple of Inari - 'O-Shiroyama-no-Inari-Sama.' The art of the kakemono is clumsy; but the conception possesses curious interest.

3 The Japanese candle has a large hollow paper wick. It is usually placed upon an iron point which enters into the orifice of the wick at the flat end.

4 See Professor Chamberlain's Things Japanese, under the title 'Demoniacal Possession.'

5 Translated by Walter Dening.

6 The word shizoku is simply the Chinese for samurai. But the term now means little more than 'gentleman' in England.

7 The fox-messenger travels unseen. But if caught in a trap, or injured, his magic fails him, and he becomes visible.

8 The Will-o'-the-Wisp is called Kitsune-bi, or 'fox-fire.'

9 'Aburage' is a name given to fried bean-curds or tofu.

10 Azukimeshi is a preparation of red beans boiled with rice.

11 The Hoin or Yamabushi was a Buddhist exorciser, usually a priest. Strictly speaking, the Hoin was a Yamabushi of higher rank. The Yamabushi used to practise divination as well as exorcism. They were forbidden to exercise these professions by the present government; and most of the little temples formerly occupied by them have disappeared or fallen into ruin. But among the peasantry Buddhist exorcisers are still called to attend cases of fox-possession, and while acting as exorcisers are still spoken of as Yamabushi.

12 A most curious paper on the subject of Ten-gan, or Infinite Vision - being the translation of a Buddhist sermon by the priest Sata Kaiseki - appeared in vol. vii. of the Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, from the pen of Mr. J. M. James. It contains an interesting consideration of the supernatural powers of the Fox.

13 All the portable lanterns used to light the way upon dark nights bear a mon or crest of the owner.

14 Cakes made of rice flour and often sweetened with sugar.

15 It is believed that foxes amuse themselves by causing people to eat horse-dung in the belief that they are eating mochi, or to enter a cesspool in the belief they are taking a bath.

16 'In Jigyobamachi, a name signifying 'earthwork-street.' It stands upon land reclaimed from swamp.

17 This seems to be the immemorial artistic law for the demeanour of all symbolic guardians of holy places, such as the Karashishi, and the Ascending and Descending Dragons carved upon panels, or pillars. At Kumano temple even the Suijin, or warrior-guardians, who frown behind the gratings of the chambers of the great gateway, are thus represented - one with mouth open, the other with closed lips.

On inquiring about the origin of this distinction between the two symbolic figures, I was told by a young Buddhist scholar that the male figure in such representations is supposed to be pronouncing the sound 'A,' and the figure with closed lips the sound of nasal 'N '-corresponding to the Alpha and Omega of the Greek alphabet, and also emblematic of the Beginning and the End. In the Lotos of the Good Law, Buddha so reveals himself, as the cosmic Alpha and Omega, and the Father of the World, - like Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita.

18 There is one exception to the general custom of giving the dolls of dead children, or the wrecks of dolls, to Kojin. Those images of the God of Calligraphy and Scholarship which are always presented as gifts to boys on the Boys' Festival are given, when broken, to Tenjin himself, not to Kojin; at least such is the custom in Matsue.