Kitsune are believed to possess superior intelligence, long life, and magical powers. They are a type of yōkai. The word kitsune is sometimes translated as 'fox spirit', which is actually a broader folkloric category. This does not mean that kitsune are ghosts, nor that they are fundamentally different from regular foxes. Because the word spirit is used to reflect a state of knowledge or enlightenment, all long-lived foxes were believed to gain supernatural abilities.
Shishiaibori Manju netsuke "Kitsune with 5 tails" was carved from mammoth tusk, 6.5 cm across, 2 cm thick. 2023. Russia, a private collection.