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The Kuda-kitsune as illustrated by Matsura Seizan.

Kuda-kitsune or Kanko (管狐, "pipe fox"?) is a creature supposedly employed by Japanese kitsune-tsukai, those who use foxes as spirit familiars. Its use is described in various books, as follows:

In the Sōzan Chomon Kishū (想山著聞奇集?) the kuda-gitsune is described as a rat-sized fox which can be kept in a pipe.


According to the Zen'an Zuihitsu (善庵随筆?) the kanko is a fox the size of a weasel or rat, with vertical eyes and thin hair. The magic-user summons the kanko to appear inside a bamboo pipe he is holding, whereupon the fox will answer all the questions it is asked. The origin of this practice is traced back to a yamabushi who obtained this art while undergoing strict asceticism on Mount Kinpu. These Kanko are said to be numerous in the northern mountains of Suruga, Tōtōmi, and Mikawa Provinces.

Researcher Inoue Enryō in his Yōkaigaku Kōgi (妖怪學講義?), quotes a newspaper article regarding the kanko, in which it is a tiny, mouse-sized creature which hails from Shinano Province. It is named for its tail, which is like a pipe cut in half. It can be tamed and kept in a pocket or sleeve, and uses its supernatural power to seek out assorted information which it then whispers to its master. A person who keeps it is thus able to see into both the past and future. Whereas, a drawing by Matsura Seizan in the early/mid-nineteenth century, depicts a kuda-gitsune that greatly resembles the masked palm civet.

Kudagitsune in Popular Culture[edit]

  • Neneko Iizuna is possessed by a pipe fox in Spirits & Cat Ears
  • Kimihiro Watanuki has a pipe fox in XxxHolic
  • Noriyuki Izuna has several pipe foxes which he uses to spy on people and to fight in Ga-rei and Ga-rei Zero
  • Kurotobi is given a pipe fox in Amatsuki
  • Tube foxes are a familiar of the nine-tailed fox in the game Okami for the PS2, Wii and PS3. A large group of them acts as a boss-fight encounter midway through the game.
  • A Tube fox is a minor character in a chapter of Wild and Horned Hermit, a manga storyline in the Touhou Project.
  • A kuda is the monster-of-the-week in Chapter 2 of Mokke
  • Nūbē has a pipe fox and Izuna has several pipe foxes in Hell Teacher Nūbē
  • Digimon
    • Digimon Tamers-Sakuyamon uses four elemental Kuda-gitsune of fire, water, wind, and lightning while the palette swapped Kuzuhamon has one composed of darkness
    • Digimon Data Squad-Kudamon is the partner of Richard Sampson
  • The "pipefox" was detailed in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary 4.[1]


  1. ^ "Bestiary 4 Preview #2". paizo.com. 

de Visser, M. W. (1908). "The Fox and the Badger in Japanese Folklore". Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan. Z. P. Maruya & Co. 36 (3): 122–124. 

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