Yae Miko and the History of the Kitsune
When Inazuma was introduced in Genshin Impact, many creatures from Japanese mythology were brought to the game, the kitsune being one of them. Through books and artifact lore, we learn much about these beings and the role that they played in Inazuma’s history. With the release of Yae Miko’s character soon, we thought we’d deep dive into their beginning and see how things have changed since then.
The Kitsune – Tanuki War
According to Volume 1 of the Toki Alley Tales, before the arrival of humans, Inazuma belonged to the tanuki. They were lazy and fickle, never ever worrying about the future and choosing to live in the present. However, everything changed with the arrival of the Kitsune who arrived by sea.
Soon, the two species engaged in a war which lasted for a total of 1,600 years with both sides suffering heavy casualties. In the end, they had no choice but to start peace talks so that they could find a way to co-exist. Though, if you ask the tanuki, even now they claim that they never surrendered to the kitsune. But the truth remains that in order to establish peace they handed over their sacred Thunder Sakura to the kitsune.
Here’s the interesting part though.
According to the retelling in Toki Alley Tales, kitsune, much like their mythological counterparts, were masters of shape-shifting. However, they shifted so much during their time in the war that some of them began to forget who they truly were. And through this confusion, mortals were born.
If you look at the in-game description of the kitsune, it states that the animal aka the foxes you see roaming around once used to have magical powers. However, with time, they lost their mystical touch and could no longer talk.
So, by the end of the war, some kitsune were either turned into humans, while some became nothing more than mere animals, losing their prowess.
The Hakushin Clan
The Hakushin Clan was formed under a kitsune named Hakushin and is still one of the most prominent clans in the nation. From this clan, many famous kitsune were more such as Kitsune Saiguu, Yae Miko and Itaru, the black fox.
Itaru, the Black Fox
While the matriarch of the clan, Hakushin, was still alive, she had six apprentices under her. All of them were skilled in magic and shape-shifting, carrying out the duty of protecting Mt Yougou. However, out of all of them, Itaru the Black Fox was too different.
According to the book, New Chronicles of the Six Kitsune, Itaru was built like a bear and was as strong as a tiger. She also had a wild and unruly personality. One time, due to being a little too drunk for her own good, she ended up destroying a Shintai of the Shogun. This led to Hakushin banishing Itaru from Mt Yougou for some time. However, instead of reflecting on her actions like she was supposed to, Itaru was more than happy to leave. She grabbed a bottle of liquor and headed on her way.
As she drifted about, looking for trouble as one would expect of a kitsune, she found two women armed to the teeth. They challenged Itaru and, throwing caution to the wind, she accepted. But of course, being a talented apprentice of Hakushin, winning wasn’t a difficult task for her and thus, without worry, Itaru defeated the Twin Oni of Tokaku. Then, Itaru asked the two Oni to join her in her travels.
But instead of causing trouble, the last recorded act of Itaru was to help a mother and her daughter who had been scammed by a lavender melon seller.
Another prominent figure who emerged from the Hakushin Clan was Kitsune Saiguu. While not much is known about her early life, she would go on to be worshipped as a kitsune goddess. But that doesn’t mean she didn’t cause any trouble of her own.
The lore of the Hakushin Ring details the important events of Kitsune Saiguu’s life, one being her race against the Chieftan of the Yougou Tengu. While she did win, she notes that the chances were that the Tengu chief was going easy on her.
There was also her friendship with the bake-tanuki Ioroi. The two of them would often play games with one another. However, at one point, a game went horribly wrong and Ioroi earned the wrath of the Shogun which almost led to him being killed. But using her cunning and wit, Kitsune Saiguu convinced the Shogun to instead make Ioroi the Protector of Chinju Forest.
Unfortunately, despite the fun that she had, when the cataclysm came, Kitsune Saiguu did what she could to protect Inazuma.
To protect Ioroi, she started a game of hide and seek so that he would remain hidden during the main battle. And when the battle began, Kitsune Saiguu, much like Chiyo was corrupted by the darkness. Knowing that she would die, she chose to become one with the earth but even as she disappeared, her memories remain which eventually gave birth to Kazari.
Born in the Hakushin clan, Yae Miko is now the Guuji of the Grand Narakumi Shrine, following in Kitsune’s Saiguu’s footsteps. She is also the head of the Yae Publishing house.
When Kitsune Saiguu died, at that time, Yae Miko was rather young, however, according to the lore, the two of them were close. To the point that Yae Miko doesn’t often speak of her predecesor. From her interactions in the Archon quest, we can also see that she had a close relationship with both Ei and Makoto. To the point that when Ei decided to cut ties with Celestia, she handed her gnosis over to Miko. She also seems to have a good or at least a friendly relation with Arataki Itto. When you speak to a vendor in the Inazuma city, he’ll tell you the tale of the ramen eating competition between the two of them, one that almost killed them since soya bean isn’t good for an oni or kitsune.
Most of the characters when they speak of Yae find her rather terrifying, something that can be seen in Gorou’s hangout event as well. She, much like other kitsune, is witty and cunning so standing up to her almost seems next to impossible.
The following are the sources for the all the information shared here:
- Hakushin Ring Weapon lore
- Toki Alley Tales, Vol 1
- The New Chronicles of the Six Kitsune
- Thoma Voiceline about Yae Miko
- Gorou Hangout event
- Sacred Sakura Cleansing Ritual: Tanuki – Bayashi in the Forest