Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Asian Languages & Civilizations

First Advisor

Randle Keller Kimbrough

Second Advisor

Satoko Shimazaki

Third Advisor

Laurel Rasplica Rodd


The fictitious character Tamamo no mae has been featured throughout Japanese literature and folk arts for centuries. Her earliest accounts in literature seem to come from the Muromachi period, during which her various stories, now classified as otogizōshi (companion tales), were produced and principally preserved in nara ehon-style picture books and also emaki picture scrolls. From the Muromachi to the late Edo period, her character has endured many changes, which have altered her personality and positioned her in many roles. Through examining a variety of textual accounts from the mid-Muromachi period to the late Edo period, we can see that the transformation in Tamamo no mae's persona seems to have resulted from specific changes in religious and social values over the course of history. This essay explores different textual accounts of the legendary Tamamo no mae, with particular emphasis on the late Edo work, Ito guruma kyūbi no kitsune (The Spinning Wheel and the Nine-Tailed Fox). My primary purpose will be to demonstrate how the changes in her persona reflect a shift in values from the Muromachi period, when she first emerged in literature, to the late Edo period when Ito guruma kyūbi no kitsune was composed. In order to illuminate the significance of Tamamo no mae's various representations, I will seek to contextualize her tales within the appropriate social, political, and religious movements of the times.