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The kitsune, Tamamo No Mae, is tricked into revealing her true form as the Nine-tailed Fox as she flees from a trap set by a suspicious member of the imperial court.

Artist: Ogata Gekko (1859 -1920)

Date: 1895 c.

Signed: Gekko

Publisher: Matsuki Heikichi

Format: Oban 14 3/4'' x 9 3/4'' (H x W), woodblock printed on paper. 


Fine condition, full-sized, bokashi in the night sky, tarnishing on robe and signature from the oxidation of metallic pigment, these special printing techniques are typically seen in first edition productions.

Ogata Gekko - The Nine-tailed Fox

  • The Nine-tailed Fox, Tamamo no Mae, 玉藻前曦袂 (Tamamo no Mae Asahi no Tamoto), is one of the most potent Yokai (supernatural entity) in Japanese folklore. Said to have lived during the Japanese Heian period, tales of her feats earn the kitsune the status of,  "the Three Terrible Yokai of Japan". With her magical ability to shapeshift into human form, she murdered the emperor's daughter assuming her identity and place in the imperial palace. Conspiring with the emperor's brother to overthrow the throne, her plot is foiled when a suspicious member of the imperial court sets a trap tricking her into revealing her true form as the kitsune, "the Nine-tailed Fox". Illustrated in Gekko's print, the kitsune flees from the palace as she narrowly escapes capture. Although her attempted assassination plot fails, her actions were the spark that ignited the ire of the Japanese, destabilizing the empire, and leading it to one of the most consequential civil wars in Japanese history.

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