Kogitsune (Takamagahara Monogatari #1), Xia Xia Lake
Rating: 4 Stars
Publisher: Self Published
Tags: LGBTQ+ YA/NA, Coming of Age, Fantasy, Japanese Mythology, Folklore
Length: 41 Pages
Purchase At: amazon
A coming of age story set in medieval Japan. A friendship between a young fox god and his human childhood friend is built on deception, but grows stronger and purer as it’s driven by common purpose. However, the vast differences of the worlds they live in can’t be ignored, as their relationship is frowned upon by both humans and spirits.
As Kogitsune’s feelings for his human friend turn from friendship to something deeper, he will learn that love can be all consuming and heartbreaking.
‘Kogitsune’ is a retelling of the famous Noh theater play ‘Kokaji’, a story about a swordsmith who requests the help of the Inari god to build a sword for emperor Ichijo (980-1011).
I read this novella in March 2019. It was completely endearing and the MCs held an ethereal quality because of the world and the time. I’ve just reread it as Xia Xia Lake is writing a more intimate scene between Kokaji, a human who is budding swordsmith, and Kogitsune, a shapeshifting Kitsune, and I wanted this fresh in my mind again. And, to be honest, why not read something short and lovely? It’s well written and timeless storytelling. I’m very excited to see a bit more of these young men… well, human and burgeoning deity.
This is a coming-of-age tale and something I’ve never been able to quite pin down in a review before. That’s mostly because of the length of the novella and because their story is cemented thoroughly within cultural Japanese identity, including mythology/folklore. All with an historical bent because of the Imperial request, the mention of specific swords, the tone of the story. Where I am very unsure of myself about Japanese mythology/spirituality, Xia Xia Lake is the opposite, sure and relaxed.
If you haven’t read this little gem, then you’re missing out on something pure for the soul. It isn’t long and it makes you feel better for having shared time with the MCs and their fellow mountainside and glen inhabitants.
Tolerance and understanding are cornerstones of this particular tale. That cover is gorgeous and representative of the story.
This is culture and mythos combining in an ethereal retelling of a Japanese theatre play. Kogitsune; the story of young, first love, then lasting love between a kitsune deity and a human. Both of them forge their names together in more than a shrine…
And Little Fox.