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I've been thinking a long time about changing my name. This would be a big change for me, since it would be changing my online identity. I use Kitsune_rei at so many sites. So many people know me by it. But it just keeps nagging at me that it doesn't quite fit me anymore.
I've always preferred to craft an identity online rather than use my real name for various reasons.

I originally picked Kitsune_rei to mean "fox spirit" with a very rudimentary knowledge of Japanese because I was interested in Japanese folktales, and particular ones about foxes. I found later on Rei isn't really the correct word, and has other meanings I didn't know of, as well as other character associations (like Evengelion). I'd already committed and it was close enough though.

I got into folktales and other stories of that nature when I was in middle school, which would be around the early 1990s. I read a lot back then, and would get a stack of books from the library on a regular basis. It was fun to treasure hunt for various books I heard of. I really loved stories from other cultures (I was reading not just Japanese but about all of them- French, Russian, Chinese, Scandinavian, etc), and that has flavored a lot of my fiction for me. I love all the retelling authors continue to do. I loved the Japanese fox in particular because it wasn't just a clever Reynard trickster, but also magical, and often female. They had an extra bit of personality and lore and the shapeshifting was neat. They were also not as confined in their tales- sometimes they did things out of love. But there's just so many interesting stories on foxes in general- its fascinating how broad their presence is.
I first created Kitsune_rei on Yahoo in early 2000 (from what I can tell, they no longer keep track of when your account was made, but I have emails back then), after entering the internet proper outside of AOL but not being able to settle on a name as a true identity before that point. Prior to then I floated around a couple names based on stuff I liked- Ocelot34, Jiji215, O_Totoro8. But I didn't really like having a specific fandom name as an identity, and of course everyone else in that fandom used those names too, and I hated having to use numbers to make my name. While I always loved Ghibli films, my other interests changed focus with time. I didn't want to always use an association with a certain specific anime or character for long term, but I didn't have something else that defined my interests well.
Once I hit on Kitsune_rei, I stuck with it about everywhere because it felt more unique, only sometimes using different derivative Kitsune names if that name was unavailable. Even though sometimes, particularly in more recent years, I find that name to already be taken on a website so I am not the only one using it, I find I am the only person who uses that name consistently. I liked the word Kitsune a lot, in part because my real name also begins with "K". Some of my friends also call me Kit because I had another friend with the same first name.
I was in college at the time I took the name and my interest in anime and Japanese culture was really growing. I only had the seeds of it in high school, having seen a couple shows and read a little bit of manga, it was just starting to emerge as its own thing around then and not that easy to come by. It was kind of funny since Kitsune weren't really known then- people would ask me if I meant the girl in Love Hina, or later if it meant I liked Naruto, as if any of those anime originated Kitsune.

When I finally made my website for real and got my own domain (after years of being on geocities with a very amateur anime fan and art site), I went with Fox Dream because I wanted it to be broader than just myself. I think this was the start of my getting away from purely being a Japanese kitsune. I created fox-dream.com in July of 2002, after having an "Anime and Art Page" under my old o_totoro8 account for a number of years (I think 2-3? It got deleted long ago). Dream was an element important to me, because I dream vividly a lot, and often have ideas in a daydream-y state.
I considered just being Yume Kitsune or the like, and I do use Yume sometimes in naming characters, but I felt like labeling my site separately from myself. I like having a more "professional" persona for my art, and a different one for my self in all its other forms. I am a strange fox, and it was what I dreamed.
Again, I see some artists who base everything around their real name- their website, their professional page, etc. Its just not for me. Perhaps its in part because I think its more fun to have an embellished crafted identity. The real me is stuck in the real world. I have to work and do other mundane things. But my identity can do anything :) Its like more of an ideal. And yeah, I'm a bit shy/reclusive, so I can hide behind it too.

I refuse to move away from being a Kitsune, even thought those have exploded in popularity over the years. I'm usually referred to as "Rei", since there are so many Kit and Kitsunes running around now. I still want to collect books on foxes (particularly kitsune), and keep learning more. I still love my collection of various fox things- hats, plushes, figures etc.
I've never seen myself as a fox per se (so I don't really identify with being a "furry")- its more of an imagined character, and I like drawing animals in various ways because they're fun.

So now I'm looking at switching to Imaginary Fox. I came up with this name a while ago, and had been giving it time to see if it settles correctly in my mind or if I think of something I like better, and I feel very fixed on this one (I even created a couple placeholder accounts in 2010 lol). I feel this suits me better. Its less specific of an entity, but still evokes creativity, stories, creation, artistry, imagination, and a more flexible persona so I am not as tied to one look or source. While I do respect Kitsune and their cleverness and trickery, I am not that clever, and I am not a trickster. I tend to like to be straight and honest with people, since I think there are too many trying to be tricky and deceitful as it is. If you were not a wild evil fox, you were generally with Inari. This is still interesting, but not what I am, and not what I follow.
I know I'll still have trouble obtaining this name on some sites, but its just how things are. I think no matter what I pick, I'll have this trouble. Its important to me to go with something that means a lot to me and not make compromises. I'll probably also use the Japanese version of this as an alternate as soon as I can figure out the proper word to use for "imaginary".
I also feel like now is a good time for a name change going forward. I've had years of not doing enough art or updates, so its time for a fresh start. This is a point in my life where I am re-examining things and looking to make a change.

I can't really cast off and abandon Kitsune_rei into the wild because of the years of using that association, and many people would not know me by my new name, but I'm going to work on transitioning it on the main websites I use now. I also have years of accounts, emails, etc on various sites, though many are dormant now, but I don't think its necessary to change them all. They are just part of my history. I'm borderline on what I should do on some accounts- to see if I can get the name changed, or if I should just start a new account. I'll figure it out.

New accounts:
Imaginary Fox on Gaia

Accounts that aren't changing:
furaffinity.net/kitsunerei (I can't change it and don't want to start a new one right now)
facebook.com/kitsunerei (its taken already)
twitter.com/kitsune_rei (@imaginaryfox and @imaginary_fox are taken on twitter)

There are still some other accounts I need to change if I can. I think most of my shop type accounts will switch to Fox Dream since that is more of my studio name.

I was a fool when gmail first came about and didn't register my names right away, so I've never been able to get any of the names I wanted most. You suck google!

Livejournal wants $15 for a name change so I'm just going to start a new blog, possibly on another site. I'm tired of the russian spam here anyway. I believe the name is available. Blogger is through Google so that's out.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 11th, 2013 11:09 pm (UTC)
I really like "Imaginary Fox." It definitely has a maturity to it that the other doesn't, not for any fault in the name "Kitsune Rei" but simply because names with Japanese in them are generally more of a fan girl thing.
Jan. 12th, 2013 08:22 am (UTC)
Thanks :D
Jan. 15th, 2013 09:18 am (UTC)
An identity change can be nice! I've been "Selina Fox" since I was 15 (I'm nearly 30 now). I progressed through Silverblue Vixen, but then Krystal from Starfox came along (meh) so I went on to be Shinobi Foxgrrl when I joined Xbox Live, but I felt that was still too immature. Now I am Kunoichi Vixen which I like a lot more and feel suits me just right for who I am now.

I never really let go of my old identities, depending on how many acquaintances I kept from the times I used those names predominantly, but I think it's important to identify the way that you feel suits you best. Good luck with everything!

PS. I really enjoy using WordPress but have never looked into linking a Twitter account to it. ^^
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )