"Kitsune" is the Japanese word for fox; animals that in ancient Japanese myth were regarded for having magical powers such as shape-shifting into human form, and that were commonly (but not always) seen as tricksters. When used in English, the term "kitsune" refers to this mythological incarnation of the animal. The age and power of a kitsune is said to correlate with the number of tails that they possess. The more tails they have, the older and more powerful they are, with the oldest and most powerful bearing nine. They are commonly associated with Inari, a Japanese rice god, and in some myths served as Inari's messengers.