Guest Author - Joy Alari
Tamamo-no-Mae was a beautiful woman, serving in the court of Emperor Konoe, it was said that, she was very beautiful and that her clothes never got dirty or even wrinkled, she was also very intelligent, it was said that she could answer any question asked of her, be it music, religion, art even politics.
This is what endeared her to the Emperor, he loved so much, that he made her his favorite.
One day, the emperor fell gravely ill, it was so bad that all the Medicine Men, Priests and even Fortune tellers couldn’t find cure him or find the medicine that could ease his pain, until the Astrologer called Abe no Yasuchika, came to see the Emperor but he came with bad news.
He revealed a great secret, which the Emperor never saw coming, he told the Emperor that, the source of his illness was traced to his favorite, Tamamo-no-Mae!
Abe no Yasuchika, went on further to say that, Tamamo-no-Mae had being hired by a powerful Daimyo, who was plotting to take over the throne.
Gravely ill the Emperor was still outraged, at such audacity from the Astrloger, to lie against Tamamo-no-Mae but the Abe no Yasuchika hadn’t quite finished his revelations, he concluded by telling the Emperor that, Tamamo-no-Mae was not human but a Kitsune, which was a nine tailed fox!
To confirm all the Astrologer‘s accusations, Tamamo-no-Mae was nowhere to be found in the palace, she had fled the kingdom!
The Emperor was saddened as well as heartbroken, when he finally realized that he had being deceived by Tamamo-no-Mae, he summoned his most trusted and strongest warriors, called Kazusa-no-suke and Mira-no-suke, he ordered them to go after Tamamo-no-Mae and bring her back alive or dead.
But the nine tailed fox was true to its name and proved very elusive, the hunters continually searched but could not find Tamamo-no-Mae.
One day, while still on the search, Tamamo-no-Mae appeared to Miura-no-suke in a dream, she begged for her life, as well as prophesied that, she would be killed by his hand, against all temptations Mira-no-suke refused her request and vowed to obey the wishes of his Emperor, so he continued the search with his fellow warrior Kazusa-no-suke.
The search continued into the Plains of Nasu and it was here that, Kazusa-no-suke and Mira-no-suke finally caught up with Tamamo-no-Mae, with a single shot of his bow, Mira-no-suke killed the wily fox but the fox’s body transformed into Sessho-seki, which became a stone that killed anyone, who so much as to touches it.
The legend continues that, Tamamo-no-Mae’s ghost continued to haunt the place, until a Bhuddist priest called Genno, was able to finally cleanse it with some ceremonial rituals.
Thus ended the Tale of Tamamo-no-Mae, the beautiful wily one but you can still catch her in some modern Japanese plays, books, video games as well as movies.