Trope Workshop:Kori Konflict

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The trope depicts a rivalry or conflict between the yokai of kitsune and tanuki. These two creatures from Japanese folklore have similarities such as shapeshifting, casting illusions, and a penchant for being tricksters. There is a name for these events for when these two tricksters fight called Kori no Tatakai (translates to Battle of Tanuki and Kitsune). The name of Kori comes from the kanji of kitsune (狐) and tanuki (狸) put together to make the work, kori (狐狸). Different from a battle of violence, they have a showdown with their shapeshifting powers as a demonstration of their magic. When comparing the two, kitsune usually overpower tanuki through their power, but tanuki is better tricksters. The trope in media doesn’t usually have a battle but more so a rivalry between two magical beasts. A typical example would be a rivalry between two characters who are one of the respective yokai.

Examples of Kori Konflict include:

Anime and Manga

  • The fight between Naruto and Gaara, from Naruto, seems to be a reference to this rivalry. They are both Jinchuriki for the Fox and Tanuki Tailed Beasts.
  • Averted with Ponchi and Konchi, from Shaman King, most likely due to being Guardian Ghosts to their Shaman.
  • Pom Poko has an example of how the kitsune have hidden amongst humans while using their transformation abilities to make money. While the tanukis rather live in the forest despite the threat of urbanization. One elder, Kincho, seeks out the Kitsune to seek a method for Tanuki to hide among humans.
  • Subverted in BNA with Michiru Tanuki and Nazuna Kitsune. Michiru being a Tanuki Beastman and Nazuna being a Kitsune Beastman. Both of them have similar shapeshifting powers while also showing similarities to the yokai of their surnames. It is said they are fated rivals as a reference to Japanese mythology, but they eventually spend time together and rekindle their friendship.
  • A conflict can be seen in the short made by Toho Studios called Ugokie-Ko-Ri-No-Tatehiki, which translates to Moving Picture - Fox vs. Tanuki, Pulling Pranks, which can be viewed here.
  • In Gugure! Kokkuri-san, Kokkuri-san (a kitsune) acts as a legal guardian for Kohina. He has a strained relationship with the tanuki, Shigaraki, who has become quite the troublesome as he often gets drunk, gambles, or causes trouble in other ways.
  • In The Rising of the Shield Hero, there is a race called Demi-Humans who are humans that have bestial traits. One race is the Kitsune, who are fox-like, and another is the Tanuki, who specializes in illusion magic. In the past, the Tanuki managed to seal the great Yokai of the Kitsune through deception. In the present, Kitsune are said to look aesthetically pleasing compared to Tanuki. Contrasting the Kitsune, Tanuki is well-built physically but stink of sticks and earth while not that handsome.

Oral Tradition, Folklore, Myths and Legends

Video Games

  • Referenced in Samurai Warriors with Ieyasu Tokugawa being associated with tanuki and his rival, Mitsunari Ishida, being associated with kitsune.
  • As seen in the video above, Tom Nook and Redd, from the Animal Crossing series, are both based on a tanuki and kitsune, respectively. After something between the two occurred business-wise in the past, they now have a heated rivalry when it comes to business. It can also be seen in the way they run their businesses. Tom Nook often may trick others with fast talk into paying for the products and houses he sells but are functional wares. Redd, on the other hand, lies to sells his wares while grifting them when he gets the chance. These two methods both being tricksters while mirroring the tactics that kitsune and tanuki would use, especially when competing with each other.

Other Media