The kitsune (fox) mask is one of the most famous traditional masks in Japan. Masks have been a part of Japanese song, dance, religion and celebration for hundreds of years. Lately, they have also become popular in pop culture, seen throughout Japanese TV shows and anime. Learn more about kitsune masks and download a mask DIY activity for your little citizens.
Kitsune masks are used in performances held to honor deities, like Inari. Foxes are thought to be the messenger of Inari, the guardian of agriculture, industry and fertility. Throughout Japan, there are shrines where you can see many statues of Inari and during harvest, the shrines will hold harvest festivals where people will put on kitsune masks and dance. Worshipers at these shrines often leave offerings of rice, sake and foods that the foxes love. It is even said that sweet fried tofu with rice, called inarizushi, is named after Inari because fried tofu is believed to be a fox’s favorite food! Foxes have a special place in Japanese culture and carry a lot of cultural significance. In Japanese folklore, foxes are believed to be mischievous, playing tricks on people whenever they can. In many anime shows, you’ll see young kids and teenagers wearing masks while they go on secret missions and play tricks on people, honing in on the fox-like abilities.
We loved the kitsune masks we saw in Japan so much that we brought them back and incorporated them into our catalog shoot. Print out our Kitsune mask template here and have your little citizen color in, for some fun at home. Don’t miss our new Kitsune Zip Hoodie!