293: Vampire of the Rising Sun

Vampire of the Rising Sun

When it came to expressing a nation's fear of outside influence, the Vampire was exactly what Japan needed.

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Wow!
This was a interesting read.
I had no idea about some of the allusions to the Government and "invasion" Vampire Tropes had.
I haven't read that much Vampire fiction outside the first novel of Vampire Hunter D

But its interesting how subtle these tropes can be.
And looking back over the series iv seen i do notice them and its cool to see how much of a mainstay they have become in Japanese Vampire Stories.

Interesting article.

D, Blood and Alucard are all pretty high favourites on my vampire list.

The reason I like them is because they retain the original aristocratic ties and are sometimes large parts of their backstories. D's world is by far my favourite. The futuristic but also historically influenced period. It's very interesting.

Western stories about vampires seem to want to take them and place them in a normal humanlike situation. Aside from Blade and maybe uderworld I can't really think of any interesting stories about vampires to have come out of the west in the last 20 or so years.

Well, I think the issue is a combination of a lot of factors. One of them is that a lot of the more "traditional" monsters don't work that well in a modern sense. Things like a Kappa are scary when the world around you is largely unexplored, and walking a dozen miles through a forest or having to camp overnight is an epic journey. When there really aren't any dark and unknown places anymore, or at least not like there once was, the truely monsterous falls out of the popular imagination. There has to be some reason why these creatures are not commonly known or seen. Ghosts, Vampires, and even Lovecraftian horrors have reasons for remaining unknown/blending in. On top of this I think there is an issue akin to what you see with Hinduism that a lot of these monsters have religious, or at least spiritual overtones, and there are lots of people who take them seriously as part of their faith. The final issue is of course shame, while you could argue there are vampire-like elements in Japanese fantasy going back to the 1930s, I don't think we really saw anything on a large scale until Japan more or less put a bullet in the head of most of it's own culture and started to embrace and modify Western culture to replace their own. Their take on sword and sorcery, horror, monsters, science fiction, and other things is all very Western, that's one of the reasons why things like Anime and Manga have traslated so well. Vampire are hot in the US, and have been for decades now, so as a result they became hot in Japan. It's also important to note that a good portion of "authentic" Japanese history and cultural trappings are also fake. A good example of this are Ninjas. Ninjas as they exist now are a western invention, being far differant from their historical counterpart. They used to be well hated, but Americans heard about it, became inspired, re-did the concept to be heroic or anti-heroic given a differant idealogy, Japan resisted at first (think back to some of the Japanese responses during 1980s "Ninja Mania") but then decided they liked the idea, and started running with things along tha direction to the point of actually trying to present it as having been that way at times. The same could be said for the Samurai to a lesser extent, I remember reading a big thing years ago about how the American Western changed Japanese history since the current image of Samurai or Ronin now matches the gunslingers of that genere very closely. The same Aristoricy which was overthrown by peasants in a great revolt, is now a source of nostolgia and national pride. It's really quite wierd.

Xenophobia has always been an issue with Japan due to their entire "master race" doctrine. Having been beaten constantly by the biggest group of mongrels on the planet (the USA) they have developed a sort of love/hate relationship with us that is truely bizzare, and of course the culture has started to change under great resistance. It's disturbing when you see popular culture that is pretty much pining for the old days, or talking about 'setting things right' by having The Japanese take control of everything and there being almost zero people not of that ethnicity on the planet anymore. I can see how the Vampire can fit in with that attitude, and might have been a propaganda tool originally, but today I think it's largely a matter of it having become cool there, because it's cool here.

This is what I think from having read quite a bit about the subject over a number of years. The understanding I've come to has a lot to do with why I never became a Weeaboo or anything despite consuming a decent amount of Japanese pop culture.

When it comes to foreign occupation, that's touchy for a lot of reasons. Japan is very much a nation under US occupation. It occupies a truely wierd place somewhere between puppet nation, ally, rival, and conquered territory. To put it bluntly Japan is our major foothold into the Eastern World and where the USA bases a LOT of it's ships. As a result we're never going to leave that area no matter what anyone says or does, our military forces there greatly overpowering things like the SSDF which we only allow to exist as a diplomatic gesture. It's hard to entirely resent this though, due to the massive cultural changes that have a foothold, and the simple fact that we're also Japan's bodyguards. Japan still exists because the USA protects it and has huge amounts of military power there. This is what allows Japan to deal with other nations diplomatically. A lot of nations around it like China and Korea have been horribly victimized by the Japanese and would love to pretty much wipe the place out. We leave and the diplomacy you see now ends, and Japan dies. I don't think anyone has many illusions about this, especially when you look at some of the pop culture from places like Korea and the seething hatred it has toward Japan. I read parts of this Manga called "Island" once that had sections in the back (including photographs) talking about the historical events that inspired it, and the experiments Japan was doing on Koreans. "Unit 731" was not their only group up to this kind of thing. People know about their uber-rape campaigns in China, but really that's only the tip of the icerberg and people just aren't that forgiving. To Japan it hurts their entire sense of cultural/ethnic destiny when they
are in a position where they pretty much need foreign occupation in order to survive. Hence the mixed messages you see, combined with some of the more over the top power fantasies.

And jsut after I got into Hellsing as well, perfect timing

dathwampeer:
Interesting article.

D, Blood and Alucard are all pretty high favourites on my vampire list.

The reason I like them is because they retain the original aristocratic ties and are sometimes large parts of their backstories. D's world is by far my favourite. The futuristic but also historically influenced period. It's very interesting.

Western stories about vampires seem to want to take them and place them in a normal humanlike situation. Aside from Blade and maybe uderworld I can't really think of any interesting stories about vampires to have come out of the west in the last 20 or so years.

If you like D's story, you might want to look into the translated novels. I can't remember exactly how many were already done, 9 or 11 I think.

vxicepickxv:

dathwampeer:
Interesting article.

D, Blood and Alucard are all pretty high favourites on my vampire list.

The reason I like them is because they retain the original aristocratic ties and are sometimes large parts of their backstories. D's world is by far my favourite. The futuristic but also historically influenced period. It's very interesting.

Western stories about vampires seem to want to take them and place them in a normal humanlike situation. Aside from Blade and maybe uderworld I can't really think of any interesting stories about vampires to have come out of the west in the last 20 or so years.

If you like D's story, you might want to look into the translated novels. I can't remember exactly how many were already done, 9 or 11 I think.

I've got most of them.

I've read the first 2. I think I'm missing like 7 and 10. And I've got 11-13.

I want to get ahold of the rest before I really continue reading them.

That's a cool article.
Something I find interesting about Japan is its capability to take historical people/places/events and use them in popular culture (after taking some heavy liberties with them, but still).

For example, the Amakusa Shiro mentioned in the article has been used as a character in the Rurouni Kenshin animated series (which is full of historical events), as well as being the main antagonist in the Samurai Shodown arcade games.

You don't see many Revolutionary War, Civil War, or even 'Western' games, I guess is all I'm saying. America doesn't seem to have much use for its own history (by which I mean the parts it doesn't simply ignore outright out of sheer shame) except as self-serving propaganda...

Thanks you author of this very fine article for teachimg me something I would have never bothered to find out. :]
But katana wielding vampires are pretty awesome. Shit. Anything that can wave a katana around has its coolness factor explode to the stratosphere.

If America had it's own Medieval heritage, our vampires would still be wearing capes and wielding swords to.
And it would be awesome!

What I don't understand is why we don't see the Chinese Vampire more often; it wasn't a blood sucking creature, but instead one that fed on Chi (Ki, energy, whatever), however, was the same as the western vampire in many ways; Weak to sunlight, couldn't cross moving water, etc. I know Japan had knowledge of the Chinese vampire, if only because the two nations, despite their great hate for each other, shared a lot of their culture and myth.

Actually, a good combination of that ideal is in Jojo's Bizzare Adventure; The Vampires in Jojo's feed on a person's energy, not their blood, however, they get to the energy by draining blood from their victim. Essentially, they do both the western and Eastern ideas of the Vampire; Blood and Energy are both food for these Vampires.

EDIT: One will also notice that apan loves the idea of the "partial vampire" and, more specifically, the Dhampire (half-Vampire); D, Alucard (Castevania one), the main male lead from Bakamonogatari, etc. That's oribably more of what you said; both looking in from the outside, and looking out from the inside.

Fascinating. It looks like you did your homework - a good read, sir.

A far cry from those other vampires. My vampire knowdelage may be a bit rusty right now and I haven't seen many vampire based animes outside of Nightwalker, and from what I've heard for many years, there are much, much better vampire animes out there. I'm just too lazy and not too interested in the subject, but I'll give them a watch whenever I can.

My favorite impersonization of a vampire will always be Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles. Dracula can go to hell, Brad Pitt will always be my favorite vampire. The aristocrat, classy, educated, seductive, deadly (he cuts a man in half with a scythe!) and most importantly, with real human feelings, without being too angsty. That will always be my perfect vision of a vampire.

wow, awesome article!

Good article.

for interesting japanese vampire movies check out the bloodthirsty trilogy evil of dracula lake of dracula and legacy of dracula all produced by toho studios.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blood-Thirsty-Trilogy-Limited-Dracula/dp/B0001P1BQG/ref=sr_1_4?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1297845699&sr=1-4

Legacy of dracula is a take on poes FACTS IN THE CASE OF M. Valdemar and concerns a family legacy tainted by western influences and vampirism.

Lake of dracula is a dreamlike vampire movie following a young woman following a traumatic childhood memory after witnessing a vampire killing someone.

Evil of dracula folows a doctor working at a girls school plagued by vampirism.

I'm not reccomending these films for any other reason than firstly that their really good, and secondly if your a fan of japanese cinema they are genuine curios, an attempt by a japanese film company (and a major one at that) to bring a more western style vampire film to japanese audiences. They seem to be quite rare as well, the region 2 box-set was bought for me as a birthday present quite a few years ago and no one seems to have bothered re-issuing them yet but if you get the chance please try and check them out!

Ahh, the eternal fascination with the beautiful-dead.
There is this long-standing theory that the image of the vampire is most summoned in times of economic crisis, whilst in times of economic prosperity, the image of Frankenstein replaces it in the public mind.

And if you look at recent economic history, this theory seems to hold water.
We've seen the rise of the Borg during late-century periods of economic flourishing, used mainly in the same way as the original idea of Frankenstein's Monster; as a response to ensuing technological developments, the Borg, much like Frankenstein represent the notion of defying Death through Scientific achievement.

Subversively, the idea of Vampirism palates to the notion of maintaining Integrity and Beauty even beyond the veil of Death. Resisting the corruptive forces of decay in the context of a society that seems to be crumbling around itself ...THAT is the pivot-point of the Vampire's allure and fascination.

The main tangent between these two seemingly disparent ideas is Immortality.

That was a very enjoying and informative article. I am quite interested in how cultures interpret and re-package another cultures myths, particularly supernatural creatures. Your article is also quite timely as I am currently playing through the three Castlevania games for the DS; the first Castlevania games I have played since the SNES days.

Mstrswrd:
What I don't understand is why we don't see the Chinese Vampire more often; it wasn't a blood sucking creature, but instead one that fed on Chi (Ki, energy, whatever), however, was the same as the western vampire in many ways; Weak to sunlight, couldn't cross moving water, etc. I know Japan had knowledge of the Chinese vampire, if only because the two nations, despite their great hate for each other, shared a lot of their culture and myth.

Actually, a good combination of that ideal is in Jojo's Bizzare Adventure; The Vampires in Jojo's feed on a person's energy, not their blood, however, they get to the energy by draining blood from their victim. Essentially, they do both the western and Eastern ideas of the Vampire; Blood and Energy are both food for these Vampires.

EDIT: One will also notice that apan loves the idea of the "partial vampire" and, more specifically, the Dhampire (half-Vampire); D, Alucard (Castevania one), the main male lead from Bakamonogatari, etc. That's oribably more of what you said; both looking in from the outside, and looking out from the inside.

I completely agree with JoJo.
Another thing about Japan is how they like to mess with the common powers of vampires and twist them around a bit.
Like Dio, he doesn't drink blood, but drains it through his hand.
Plus he has gained a lot of other supernatural and "Parasitic" abilitys after becoming a Vampire.

Just Craig:
That's a cool article.
Something I find interesting about Japan is its capability to take historical people/places/events and use them in popular culture (after taking some heavy liberties with them, but still).

For example, the Amakusa Shiro mentioned in the article has been used as a character in the Rurouni Kenshin animated series (which is full of historical events), as well as being the main antagonist in the Samurai Shodown arcade games.

You don't see many Revolutionary War, Civil War, or even 'Western' games, I guess is all I'm saying. America doesn't seem to have much use for its own history (by which I mean the parts it doesn't simply ignore outright out of sheer shame) except as self-serving propaganda...

What are you talking about? Are wanting to use more historical figures in games or stories in America, because we do that. Are you talking about the use of monsters, or stories that has an allegory to a historical moment? Because there are stories about that also. Also historical places, people, and events are used in media. Is American History romanticize like Japan? Yes it is in fact we made even current time romantic.

If you are wondering why Vampires doesn't play much of a role in the West anymore, it is because it was replace by Frankenstein, Aliens, and Zombies. There are many types of Frankenstein such creating life, AI, or Robots. Aliens took on a role of the unknown, and for the US during the Cold War, it was basically the USSR, also immigration had a hand in it. Zombies took over the role of Vampires actually, they were made to be more monstrous than anything a Vampire can do. That and the fear of bio-weapons or a plague that can't be stop by modern medicine is scary as hell compared to a Vampire.

We also don't tend to ignore any part of out shame in history because it pretty damn noticeable. That and we have politicians use a screw up for gain. Though I can say only the majority of American history if you go by the text books, if you go in deeper it tends to not pull any punches.

HankMan:
If America had it's own Medieval heritage, our vampires would still be wearing capes and wielding swords to.
And it would be awesome!

We would still manage to ruin them somehow. It would still be the culture that gave us "Twilight".

Magenera:
[quote="Just Craig" post="6.264879.10059774"]
We also don't tend to ignore any part of out shame in history because it pretty damn noticeable. That and we have politicians use a screw up for gain. Though I can say only the majority of American history if you go by the text books, if you go in deeper it tends to not pull any punches.

And just how many US History books in public schools give more than a paragraph to the Opium Wars? America practically funded the Western expansion and construction of the transcontinental railroad off of the cash gained from being British drug runners and by helping to utterly destroy the Chinese economy, society, and government. It took the Chinese more than 150 years to recover, having gone from the most economically powerful and stable country in the world to a broken shell in less than a decade. And we did it by sneaking illegal drugs into China for the British and then taking advantage of the Chinese after the British knocked them around for having tried to stop the flow of drugs into their country. If you don't think that it is out of shame that we play down that ugly chapter of our history, I don't know what it is.

Zhuo_MingDao:

Magenera:
[quote="Just Craig" post="6.264879.10059774"]
We also don't tend to ignore any part of out shame in history because it pretty damn noticeable. That and we have politicians use a screw up for gain. Though I can say only the majority of American history if you go by the text books, if you go in deeper it tends to not pull any punches.

And just how many US History books in public schools give more than a paragraph to the Opium Wars? America practically funded the Western expansion and construction of the transcontinental railroad off of the cash gained from being British drug runners and by helping to utterly destroy the Chinese economy, society, and government. It took the Chinese more than 150 years to recover, having gone from the most economically powerful and stable country in the world to a broken shell in less than a decade. And we did it by sneaking illegal drugs into China for the British and then taking advantage of the Chinese after the British knocked them around for having tried to stop the flow of drugs into their country. If you don't think that it is out of shame that we play down that ugly chapter of our history, I don't know what it is.

We still exploit others countries for our benefits we also exploit our on damn people. Exploiting countries been going on for a long time. It is not going to stop as long as we still need resources. I did say that you have to go in deeper in American history to find out about this stuff. I never did say go by the freaking text books. Anybody could tell you that it generalize the hell out of American History let lone the world history. Also depending on what text book you get can tell you about America involvement with China 150 years ago. It's really not hidden on what we did to China anyway. Majority of the text books don't hide the fact that America was a dick, till you get in the Cold War time period. Just as the text books don't go any deeper in the history of anytime period. By the way we still exploit China anyway so nothing changed at all.

Mstrswrd:
What I don't understand is why we don't see the Chinese Vampire more often; it wasn't a blood sucking creature, but instead one that fed on Chi (Ki, energy, whatever), however, was the same as the western vampire in many ways; Weak to sunlight, couldn't cross moving water, etc.

Wait What?!
Are you referring to the 殭屍 (JiangShi or the Chinese Hopping Vampire)?
Those guy are still blood sucker.
However, they have extra weakness such as being blind, repel by sticky rice and lack mobility.
But on the plus side, decapitation does nothing to them. They can only be destroyed by total destruction of the body either by fire, sunlight or come under the control of a Taoist Priest.

The one that suck on Chi are a variety of Ghost or plants and animals that gain human form after living for a long time.

The closest thing South East Asia culture has that is similar to the western Vampire is the Banana Fairy (Not related Dongkey Kong). They can be summon by tying a red twine from a red banana heart to the windows of the victim. The fairy will appear at that house at night and have intense sexual act with it's victim before finally draining his/her blood.
This can last for several nights if the victim is strong.

xengk:

Mstrswrd:
What I don't understand is why we don't see the Chinese Vampire more often; it wasn't a blood sucking creature, but instead one that fed on Chi (Ki, energy, whatever), however, was the same as the western vampire in many ways; Weak to sunlight, couldn't cross moving water, etc.

Wait What?!
Are you referring to the ™ (JiangShi or the Chinese Hopping Vampire)?
Those guy are still blood sucker.
However, they have extra weakness such as being blind, repel by sticky rice and lack mobility.
But on the plus side, decapitation does nothing to them. They can only be destroyed by total destruction of the body either by fire, sunlight or come under the control of a Taoist Priest.

The one that suck on Chi are a variety of Ghost or plants and animals that gain human form after living for a long time.

The closest thing South East Asia culture has that is similar to the western Vampire is the Banana Fairy (Not related Dongkey Kong). They can be summon by tying a red twine from a red banana heart to the windows of the victim. The fairy will appear at that house at night and have intense sexual act with it's victim before finally draining his/her blood.
This can last for several nights if the victim is strong.

You know what? You're probably right, as I'm not nearly as familiar with Eastern Mythologies as I am with Western (to my great shame). Though, the different myths of different area's do tend to get kind of... condensed, as it were, into massive, kind-of-dependent-on-the-translation-you-read type of things.

Actually, now that I think about it, in certain mythologies (but not in others, showing exactly how powerful local variation can be), the Kitsune is kind of Vampirish in it's actions. Well, okay, it's actually more... succubus/incubus, actually. In certain area's, the mythologies would states that Kitsune would feed on the emotions of humans (and the energy of humans), and often did this kind of feeding directly during sex.

Of course, in other areas, the more common (and more widely known) myths state less about that (or, usually, nothing at all), and instead focus on things like the prankster nature of the foxes, the nobility of some, the cruelty of others, etc.

Like I said though, I'll take your word for it, as you both show more knowledge about this than I do, and I have little time to go and do in depth research... Maybe later, during summer break.

Mstrswrd:

You know what? You're probably right, as I'm not nearly as familiar with Eastern Mythologies as I am with Western (to my great shame). Though, the different myths of different area's do tend to get kind of... condensed, as it were, into massive, kind-of-dependent-on-the-translation-you-read type of things.

Actually, now that I think about it, in certain mythologies (but not in others, showing exactly how powerful local variation can be), the Kitsune is kind of Vampirish in it's actions. Well, okay, it's actually more... succubus/incubus, actually. In certain area's, the mythologies would states that Kitsune would feed on the emotions of humans (and the energy of humans), and often did this kind of feeding directly during sex.

Of course, in other areas, the more common (and more widely known) myths state less about that (or, usually, nothing at all), and instead focus on things like the prankster nature of the foxes, the nobility of some, the cruelty of others, etc.

Like I said though, I'll take your word for it, as you both show more knowledge about this than I do, and I have little time to go and do in depth research... Maybe later, during summer break.

I only know more about stuff from that part of the world, because I live there. /shrug
You probably know more about culture and mythos from your region better than I do too.

Anyhow on the topic of Kitsune.
Generally speaking, they are opportunist pranksters. As in they don't go out of their way to look for human to play tricks on. Lone traveler or farmers far away from civilization are the usual victim.
If I got my culture studies right, Kitsune are believed to be divided into 2 group of good and bad. The good one are often worship as messenger from deity or pray to for good harvest (think Horo, technically a wolf, from Wolf and Spice) and fertility. The bad one are those that possess maiden and manipulate people into misery.
For some reason unknown, they supposedly love Inari Sushi.

xengk:
I only know more about stuff from that part of the world, because I live there. /shrug
You probably know more about culture and mythos from your region better than I do too.

Anyhow on the topic of Kitsune.
Generally speaking, they are opportunist pranksters. As in they don't go out of their way to look for human to play tricks on. Lone traveler or farmers far away from civilization are the usual victim.
If I got my culture studies right, Kitsune are believed to be divided into 2 group of good and bad. The good one are often worship as messenger from deity or pray to for good harvest (think Horo, technically a wolf, from Wolf and Spice) and fertility. The bad one are those that possess maiden and manipulate people into misery.
For some reason unknown, they supposedly love Inari Sushi.

Inari was the God of the foxes, right? Well, that, and about 20 million other things as well... Anyway, I wonder if that has anything to do with it.

Hey, whoever said that some Puns can't be useful!

Seriously. I know that in Greek myth, there's a fair bit of that; for example, Heracles is named as such in an effort to appease Hera (well, that and other things), who hated him because he was another child Zeus had with a mortal woman, so Hercles's mortal mother and step-father (?) figured that naming him after the goddess that would hate him would mitigate the hatrid. It didn't work.

Also, the reason it's step-father (?) is because Heracles and his twin were a case of heteropaternal superfecundation (aka: they're twins with different fathers, each father's sperm only fertalizing one egg).

Also, quick question: I thought Horo from Spice and Wolf was the very definition of the older meaning of Kami, not necessarily god in the literal sense that it has taken on today (like a being like Amaterasu or Izanagi, or, if we go western, God, Allah, Yahweh), but instead a higher spirit/being that was kind of divine, sort of like the Grecian/Roman Nymphs, but more holy/spiritual, in where they would still have some divinity to speak of (being worshipped has to count for something), but weren't on the same level as those who lived in the heaven's.

Apologies if I'm bugging you with these questions, but I always find the different mythologies of the world fascinating; it's why I'm really happy that for one class this semester, I have to read Journey to the West (which, if I enjoy it, will probably motivate me to read Romance of the Three Kingdoms).

Mstrswrd:

Inari was the God of the foxes, right? Well, that, and about 20 million other things as well... Anyway, I wonder if that has anything to do with it.

Hey, whoever said that some Puns can't be useful!

Seriously. I know that in Greek myth, there's a fair bit of that; for example, Heracles is named as such in an effort to appease Hera (well, that and other things), who hated him because he was another child Zeus had with a mortal woman, so Hercles's mortal mother and step-father (?) figured that naming him after the goddess that would hate him would mitigate the hatrid. It didn't work.

Also, the reason it's step-father (?) is because Heracles and his twin were a case of heteropaternal superfecundation (aka: they're twins with different fathers, each father's sperm only fertalizing one egg).

Also, quick question: I thought Horo from Spice and Wolf was the very definition of the older meaning of Kami, not necessarily god in the literal sense that it has taken on today (like a being like Amaterasu or Izanagi, or, if we go western, God, Allah, Yahweh), but instead a higher spirit/being that was kind of divine, sort of like the Grecian/Roman Nymphs, but more holy/spiritual, in where they would still have some divinity to speak of (being worshipped has to count for something), but weren't on the same level as those who lived in the heaven's.

Apologies if I'm bugging you with these questions, but I always find the different mythologies of the world fascinating; it's why I'm really happy that for one class this semester, I have to read Journey to the West (which, if I enjoy it, will probably motivate me to read Romance of the Three Kingdoms).

No biggy. Its not often I encounter people who interested in such subject as Eastern folklore, outside of the usual Naruto and Inuyasha stuff.
Olympian mythos definitely are not my strong point. lol.

"Kami" in an old sense is like what pagans and aborigine call "spirit". Daily or natural object and phenomenon given a personality and back story.

Horo, although is a made up "god" from the light novel series of the same name, is more akin to how ancient druids view "force of nature" and fairies. That they have some power over the land but are not "god" or divine in a religious sense.
Based on the novel, Horo is simply a wolf that have live longer than any other wolf and attained wisdom.
This is a common theme in mythos from China and Japan. When a creature survive for a very long time, they would gain sentients. Continue long enough and they will gain supernatural powers. Those that are helpful to mankind often get deified.
Journey to the West will contain many of this trope.

A quick Wiki shows that Inari is the god of rice, fertility and fox, among other things.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inari_%C5%8Ckami
That would explain why Inari's Kanji name can be written as having the meaning of "Make Rice" or "Growing Rice".

Romance of 3 Kingdoms is a good read but is not historically accurate, as it is a dramatization of the Records of 3 Kingdoms, which is the original history record.

 

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