I've been trying to find information on the Akuma, the fire demon of Japanese folklore, for a manga I'm writing. But all of the sources I went to didn't provide enough detail. And I fear that without the knowledge I need, my depiction won't be as faithful. Could someone please help me?

Here are some of the sites I found so far.

Source 1: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akuma_(folklore)

Source 2: https://occult-world.com/akuma/

Source 3: https://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/forum/topic/57512-akuma/

Source 4: https://www.godchecker.com/japanese-mythology/AKUMA/

  • They may not be consistent. Folklore seldom is.
    – Mary
    Commented Jan 1, 2023 at 0:24
  • Akuma 悪魔(あくま)is more used as referring to the devil of Christianity. The Toori Akuma mention in source 3 is 通り悪魔 , it's a monster that brings disaster, but has nothing to do with fire (ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E9%80%9A%E3%82%8A%E6%82%AA%E9%AD%94). Commented May 28 at 7:38

2 Answers 2


In Japanese mythology and community Akuma is specifically not spoken of because it's just simply bad and an evil word. Many clans in Japan that follow original shinto traditions have a story of Akuma which is very interesting. My grandfather told me this story when I was young, due to me being named after this spirit. My great great grandfather also carried the name Akuma. But in traditional Japanese shinto history Akuma was a sport of cleansing like a fire that burnt the forest for newgrowth, but was a being that gods and demons feared it was the most true from of natural chaos. But in the story Akuma was feared because he was large and had a skull as a face with horns and fire spilt from his eyes as his body was made of ash. Though he was scary he helped cleanse humanity by wiping tbe evil to give birth to the kind whenever balance was needed. But people saw it as an evil spirt there for the gods and demons in Japanese mythology punished and manipulated humanity to fear and hate the original spirt. My grandfather said the spirt went to a family that still accepted him and he gave his spirt to the family to help cleanse and continue the balance. Overall anyone with the name is supposed to bring great change and restore natural chaos.


The word Akuma is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese characters 悪(惡)魔, the first character written slightly different in Japanese.

  • 惡 (è) evil / fierce / vicious / ugly / coarse / to harm
  • 魔 (mó) magic

In Chinese Buddhism, these characters are the translation of the Sanskrit [राक्षस, rākṣasa] (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rakshasa)

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