Authors: John Livingston
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Ann Wehmeyer
College: College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Akurojin-no-hi is a flame-like ghost that was thought to appear in Mie Prefecture, Japan. Little information is known about this creature other than its basic physical characteristics and that it appears on rainy nights. Through utilization of translated primary and secondary sources from Japan as well as analysis of older documents, this paper aims to draw connections between natural disasters, and economic factors that occurred during the Edo Period of Japan. I consider all these elements and describe how they influenced the conceptualization of Akurojin-no-hi. I begin by observing the economic developments of the period and then connect these new developments to other events also occurring in Japan at the time, such as the long journeys of the Shikoku Pilgrims who traveled along wide, expansive roads like the Tokaido. I then discuss some of the natural disasters which occurred during the Edo Period, mainly the large, widespread fires which affected cities both big and small, and then explain how these fires influenced the conceptualization of the Akurojin-no-hi. Finally, I compare the characteristics of the Akurojin-no-hi to the characteristics of other fire yokai and analyze their differences and similarities.