Well, I have been familiar with Inari, sort of "Fox God", since I was born and raised in Japan. However, after I read this book, I noticed that I had not known what Inari really means! Why do we have so many "Fox God shrines" in Japan? What is the relationship beteen Shinto and Inari? What about Inari and Buddhisim?
I have not seen a book like this, even in Japanese, which ambitiously tries to investigate for these complicated, but culturally fascinating issues. The author lived in Japan for a couple of years, at two major Inari Shrines (Fushimi and Toyokawa), and conuducted a thorough field study. In fact, the author could not solve all the intricated miteries of Inari, but, most importantly, she found out that even many priests and monks working at Fushimi or Toyokawa do not know histories of their shrines, nor understand what Inari really means! In that sense, Inari is not purely religion, but sort of a popular culture and practice. So, we may say this is a great book of anthropology of Japanese culture.
I met Karen, the author, at the Jung Institute in Zurich. Karen introduced herself, in Japanese, as "Kitsune-Onna", Fox-woman. She was so brave that she quit a tenure position in an American college, and decided to become an Jungian analyst. Karen, I look forward to seeing you again, and to see what comes out from the combination of your American nativeness, deep insight of Japanese culture, and Jungian psychology.