The interpretations of fox possession: illness as metaphor.

  • M Etsuko
  • Published 1991 in Culture, medicine and psychiatry


Although fox possession is a rare phenomenon in contemporary Japan, it is a matter of concern in psychiatry and in folk healing. The case study presented here deals with the social process of role transformation, from client to shaman, as a way of self healing. The discussion then assumes that fox possession renders multiple interpretations and argues that it is, in fact, a metaphorical representation in much the same way that biomedical interpretation is. The argument also proposes that an etiological (causal) understanding of fox possession is less productive than a metaphorical one.

Cite this paper

@article{Etsuko1991TheIO, title={The interpretations of fox possession: illness as metaphor.}, author={M Etsuko}, journal={Culture, medicine and psychiatry}, year={1991}, volume={15 4}, pages={453-77} }