Kitsune because they are spirits want to stay in the human world for as long as possible. Its agreed among them that human are the best species and they are not allowed to hurt a human. There's several ways of staying in the human world: a) possession, b) Taking an avatar (either a dead body or an unborn child), or c) producing Kitsune children.
When a Kitsune tries to posses someone, it usually isn't for long periods of time, requires permission, a person's will is completely taken over, and there are no memories of what happened. Those who are possessed can hear and understand all that the Kitsune is saying and doing. When a Kitsune takes over an unwilling person, they have to overtake the body's will by draining the person's will or driving them insane. Most likely, if someone is possessed unwillingly, they'll be driven insane. Possession usually occurs to young women and the Kitsune enters beneath the fingernails (or another way, but I'm not posting it here).
Kitsune who possess people don't seem to retain most of their abilities, but it gives them mortality. And not only can they posses people, but they can posses foxes and other creatures.
Kitsunetsuki: There is a real disease called Kitsunetsuki where the person is believed to be possessed by a Kitsune. In Japan, it was a common diagnosis up until the early 20th century. This usually happens to young women (because apparently most Kitsune like to be young pretty women), who's facial features are said to change until they resemble a fox somewhat (where the term fox faced comes from).
When someone is possessed, they might gain the ability to read or write when they were illiterate before or able to know languages that they didn't know before. Some other symptoms of this is madness but they might yelp like a fox and they will want to eat what foxes are believed to eat. Once freed though, they will never eat those things again.
If possessed, an exorcism may be preformed but if that doesn't work, a victim may be beaten or burned to get the fox to leave. Those who suffer from the condition believe that they are actually possessed by a fox (and yes it happens even today. I discovered this when I was researching Kitsune and I stumbled upon a forum for people who suffer from Kitsunetsuki. At first I thought they were role playing but when I finally found the home page, I realized that no, this is for people who actually believe this. I was a bit creeped out and left the site.) Victims can have cravings for red beans, restlessness, and an aversion to eye contact. Its also similar, but different, from clinical lycanthropy (where a person is belived to be a wereworld and displays signs of it).
Taking an Avatar
A more permanent way of staying in our world is either possessing a dead body or an unborn child.
Means: Dead Body
(When a person dies, they can become a Kitsune through a literal transformation although this is rare) A Kitsune can posses a dead body if its no properly buried and not consecrated. Once a kitsune possesses a dead body, it can appears animated since it has no soul. It still retains some of its abilities like shape shifting to a lesser degree, cause illusions, and cause bad luck.
Means: Unborn Child
When a Kitsune takes an unborn child, the mother becomes sick and when the child is born, it becomes sick until it dies if the Kitsune isn't successful. The Kitsune would be able to grow and adapt to mortal life, eventually gaining most of its powers.
Kitsune can seduce (a form of mind control) humans into having children with them. These children will always be Kitsune, usually born in fox-form but not always, they are mortal but they have a 900+ year lifespan. And this is the easiest way of a Kitsune staying in the human world.
The Kitsune's Powers
The Kitsune are said to have a variety of cool and neat powers.
- Illusion: When a Kitsune creates an illusion, it is reality to them and can be real to them and others. Anything they build or make becomes what they desired. They can make people, animals, and objects that can't be told from the real thing. The more Kitsune who come together, the more that can be made.
- Realms: They are said to be able to mkae small pockets in reality, able to fold time and space to fit their needs. They can turn something like a small feild into a kingdom complete with people, animals, and weather. Time flows faster inside these pockets where several years can pass but only one year in the real world.
- Seduction: This is a form of mind control which can be accomplished by swaying their tails or meeting a target's gaze to overtake their minds. Here, the victim thinks, sees, and lives in a world designed by the Kitsune all visible to just the victim from inside his mind. These victims are controlled until the spell is broken by certain magic or wards.
- Foxfire: This is also called Kitsune-bi, where by rubbing their tails, they can make lightning or fire. They are also rumored to be able to breathe fire in a small range much like a dragon. The can create small balls of fire, called fox lanterns, that float around them and light their way. These can be used as a weapon or a toy.
- Shape Shifting: Kitsune can transform into anything found in nature, but it doesn't give them the abilities of whatever form they've taken. They are vulnerable to whatever can harm that form. Kitsune who are possessing someone cannot use this ability unless they're doing it through illusions.
- Kitsune Ball: This is my favorite thing about the Kitsune. These are small white balls that are said to not glow and have no powers of its own. The Kitsune guard this ball closely and if taken, they'll whine and plead for it back, but that they have to aid you. Its said that this is because they place a portion of their power in it while possessing humans or that it holds the soul of the person they're possessing. The Kitsune also use it as a toy. The Kitsune ball is also known as hoshi no tama (star balls). These seem different from the actual Kitsune ball as that they glow with foxfire and might be magical jewels or pearls. When a Kitsune isn't possessing someone, the ball is kept in their mouth or on their tail. But these seem to have the same purpose as Kitsune balls.
Other Fox sprits
Many cultures have some kind of fox spirit, including the Huli Jing, Kumiho, Nguruvilu, and the famous fox tricksters from Native American legends.
I am including these type of creatures here because they are similar to Kitsune in a way. Also called, Kuda-gitsune or Kanko (meaning pipe fox), these are apparently creatures used by kitsune-tsukai (people who use foxes as spirit familiars). They are described as rat-size which can be kept in a pipe or pocket with vertical eyes and thin hair. They are often kept in female-male pairs. As for their powers, they can answer any question its asked, seek out information and then whisper it to its master, cast illusions, summon elemental forces, and can tell the past or future.
Portal of Transformation: Kitsune
Kitsune, Kumiho, Huli Jing, & Fox: Fox Spirits