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423px-Blacksmith Munechika, helped by a fox spirit, forging the blade Ko-Gitsune Maru, by Ogata Gekkō

Inari and her fox spirits help the blacksmith Munechika forge the blade kogitsune-maru (Little Fox) in the late 10th century. This legend is the subject of the noh drama Sanjo Kokaji.

Fox Wan is based off of an Inari, a messenger of God that usually protects the entrance of a shrine similar to a Komainu.  They look like white foxes with red paint on it's face. There are about 30 thousand Inari shrines in Japan, and the entrance of each is guarded by a pair of fox statues. Often one, and sometimes both, has a sūtra roll, a key or a jewel in its mouth. The statues do not stand for the malice the animals are proverbial for, but for the magic powers they are believed in this case to possess.