“T’is the season to be jolly!” sang little Akira Daichi* at the top of his voice as he walked in the snow-covered woods. He loved the crisp cool air, the red holly and the white mistletoe berries, all this said to him: Merīkurisumasu**!
Kitsune watched from her hiding place as the boy gathered the white and red berries, she was curious, so she took on human form, to find out what this new game was.
“Konnichiwa! O-genki desu ka?***” she said bowing.
“Genki desu!****” he replied respectfully.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m gathering holly and mistletoe for Christmas. I’m going to help decorate my sister’s home for that festivity. Her husband is American.”
“Ah so! Kurisumasu is American?”
“No no .. not just American. It is a mixture of the old European religions and Christianity.”
“Ah so! Like with our Shinto and Buddhism! That is good. Teach me your song … of “jolly”.” said the kami.
And so Akiro Daichi taught her his song and she helped him to find the most beautiful mistletoe and holly for the holiday.
This is how Kitsune learnt about Christmas and even today she helps anyone who comes to her woods to find the best and brightest berries remembering her friend’s love of Christmas. And when the bright day comes, she sings her “jolly” song at the house of Yuki-Onna.
the old and new
with bright winter colours
*bright great wisdom
***”Hello. How are you?
Is the Japanese word for fox. Foxes are a common subject of Japanese folklore; in English, kitsune refers to them in this context. Stories depict them as intelligent beings and as possessing magical abilities that increase with their age and wisdom. According to Yōkai folklore, all foxes have the ability to shape shift into men or women. While some folktales speak of kitsune employing this ability to trick others—as foxes in folklore often do—other stories portray them as faithful guardians, friends, lovers, and wives.
The Lady of the Snow, the Snow Queen or Winter Ghost in Japanese mythology. Sometimes she appears as an earthly woman, marries and has children, but sometimes she will disappear in a white mist. To those lost in blizzards, struggling futilely against the cold, she came, soothing them, singing to lull them to sleep, then breathing a deathly cold breath on them. The “snow maiden” was the spirit of death by freezing; a calm, pale woman who appeared to the dying, making their death quiet and painless.
Source: Japanese Goddess Names
The Japanese religious tradition is made up of several major components, including Shinto, Japan’s earliest religion, Buddhism, and Confucianism. Christianity has been only a minor movement in Japan.
In today’s episode of Carpe Diem Haiku Kai – Extra we are invited to “kamishibai Kurisumasu” … write a Christmas Haibun. My favourite kami – Kitsune came to mind immediately, so please indulge me on my imaginary voyage to some unknown time in an imaginary Japan when a little boy taught Kitsune (whom I imply, taught Yuki-Onne) about Christmas.