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Japanese ‘Killing Stone’ Splits Open, Releasing 900-year-old Fox Demon, According to Legend

Victor Westerkamp
Victor resides in the Netherlands and writes about freedom and governmental and social changes to the democratic form of nations.
Published: March 11, 2022
Tamamo-no-mae_Toyohara Chikanobu
Woodblock print by Chikanobu, showing nine tailed fox Tamamo-no-Mae, under her bewitching human form. (Image: Toyohara Chikanobu/Public Domain)

In Japan, the infamous “killing stone” has cracked open, unleashing a demon that had been captivated for 900 years. It signifies a time of great havoc, according to folklore.

The cleaved rock is named Sessho-Seki (殺生石), which translates as “Killing Stone.” Believers in traditional folklore think it’s an ominous sign.

According to legend, Tamomo-No-Mae—Japanese for ‘nine-tailed demon fox’—was trapped in the stone and has now been freed. It’s bound to cause dire trouble for humankind.

The site is located at Mount Nasu in the northern Tochigi region near Tokyo. It has always been a tourist attraction, but ever since the rope wrapped around the hunk of lava snapped, tourists stopped visiting the spot.

Tamomo haunts the internet

In a tweet that went viral, Twitter user Lillian described her feelings when visiting this haunted place. 

“I came alone to Sesshoseki, where the legend of the Nine-Tailed Fox remains.

The big rock in the middle was supposed to be wrapped around with a rope. But the rock was split in half and the rope was also detached. If it’s a manga, it’s a sign that the seal is broken and it’s possessed by the Nine-Tailed Fox. I feel like I’ve seen something that shouldn’t be seen,” she tweeted.

Another Twitter user commented: “Here I thought 2022 couldn’t get worse. Now a furious Japanese spirit is freed from its ‘killing stone’.”

Another one quipped, “My guess is the demon is going to look around at 2022 and want to go back into the rock for another millennium.”

Legend coming to life

The legend says that a demon fox once took on the form of a beautiful woman named Tamomo-No-Mae. She plotted to kill the Japanese emperor Toba, who ruled from 1107 to 1123 A.D.. 

Though Tamomo’s plans failed, she created much turmoil and is blamed for inciting the ensuing civil war.

Finally, Tamomo was slain by the famous warrior Miura-Nosuke, who imprisoned her evil spirit inside a piece of volcanic rock. She would never escape from it unless, in the distant future, the rock would split into two. 


If that fateful day ever transpired, the fox demon Tamomo would sweep its nine tails across the face of the earth and, once again, cause huge turmoil.

Nine tailed fox demon Tamamo-no-Mae depicted as being chased by the emperor’s men. The 19th-century painting is by Toyohara Chikanobu. (Image: Toyohara Chikanobu/Public Domain)

However, researchers say nothing superstitious is happening. The killing stone had been showing cracks in recent years. The cracks would fill with ice from time to time, causing the rock to split open, which is a completely natural phenomenon they ascribe to weathering effects. 

But the stone is not expected to be put together any time soon, as locals believe anyone who dares touch the stone will die.

Tamomo in popular culture

Sessho-Seki also appears in the popular Naruto anime series where the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox (Kyūbi no Yōko) is said to be “the most powerful out of all nine of the tailed beasts; a single swipe from just one of its nine tails can create tsunamis and flatten mountains. Currently, he is in Human Form and calls himself Kori.”

Coincidentally, Nine-Tailed Fox is also the name of a video game just released on Feb. 2. The player’s character is the leader of a combat unit called “Foxtrot Unit 1” or “’Nine-Tailed Fox,’ a highly trained force tasked with re-containing a multitude of terrifying anomalous monsters that have broken loose inside of a top-secret research facility.”

Fox demons are a common occurrence in East Asian lore. In the Chinese classical novel Investiture of the Gods, the an evil fox sprite possesses royal concubine Da Ji, who leads the prideful Shang king astray and brings about the destruction of his kingdom.