In Chinese mythology, it is believed that all things are capable of acquiring , magical powers, and immortality, provided that they receive sufficient energy, in such forms as human breath or essence from the moon and the sun.
The fox spirits encountered in tales and legends are usually females and appear as young, beautiful women. One of the most infamous fox spirits in Chinese mythology was Daji , who is portrayed in the Ming novel ''Fengshen Yanyi''. A beautiful daughter of a general, she was married forcibly to the cruel tyrant Zhou Xin . A nine-tailed fox spirit who served Nüwa, whom Zhou Xin had offended, entered into and possessed her body, expelling the true Daji's soul. The spirit, as Daji, and her new husband schemed cruelly and invented many devices of torture, such as forcing righteous officials to hug red-hot metal pillars. Because of such cruelties, many people, including Zhou Xin's own former generals, revolted and fought against Zhou Xin's dynasty, Shang. Finally, King Wen of Zhou, one of the vassals of Shang, founded a new dynasty named after his country. The fox spirit in Daji's body was later driven out by Jiang Ziya , the first Prime Minister of the Zhou Dynasty and her spirit condemned by Nüwa herself for excessive cruelty.
Typically fox spirits were seen as dangerous, but some of the stories in Pu Songling's ''Liaozhai Zhiyi'' are love stories between a fox appearing as a beautiful girl and a young human male.
In modern and Cantonese profanity, the term ''huli jing'' is a derogatory expression describing a woman who seduces a man .
The fox spirit has also been used as an explanatory factor in the incidence of attacks of '''', an psychosis found in Southern China and Malaysia in particular.
In popular culture
*The main character of Victor Pelevin's novel "The Sacred Book of Werewolf" is inspired by the Chinese fox spirit.
*In Pokemon, the creature Ninetales is a fox with nine tails.
*In the anime Naruto, the lead character has the spirit of the nine tailed fox trapped within him.
* In DC Comics, "Ghost Fox Killer" is a member of the Great Ten, a team of Chinese superheroes.
* In the video game Okami a beautiful young woman has been possessed by a fox with nine tails.