"Foxes not only live on the boundaries, they cross them. And by crossing, they challenge them. The cultural elaborations of the fox in Japan position it to mediate between the human and the animal and the human and the divine. TO be fully human is to know where one stands in relation to both the animal world and the divine. This does not happen automatically but is a culturally conditioned process through which each person passes. One learns where the boundaries are not merely through their description, but by hearing stories of the consequences of daring to test them or cross them. It should not surprise us to learn that when a Kyôgen actor in Japan makes the transition from apprentice to master, he does so in the role of the fox. … So, too, all Japanese people, in an unmarked, perhaps unconscious way, have to position themselves in their various roles. And the cultural symbol of the fox shows them where some of the social boundaries lie."This really was just an unassumingly brilliant book.
--Karen Smyers, The Fox and the Jewel: Shared and Private Meanings in Contemporary Japanese Inari Worship (189-90)
I got up early yesterday to do a podcast with Ed Sizemore of mangaworthreading.com on Hagio Moto's new collection of manga shorts in English, A Drunken Dream. The four of us had a really good conversation; I'll post the link here when Ed uploads the audio.