Akashita (赤舌, , translates to "red tongue") is a spirit in Japanese folklore who has a habit of flooding locks with black clouds.
Akashita (red mouth) is a mysterious spirit that takes the form of a dark cloud with sharp claws and a hairy bestial face. Its most important characteristic and namesake is its long tongue and bright red mouth.
It appears during the summer months, when rain and water are most valuable to ensure a successful growing season.
Only the shape of its hairy, monstrous face and long, beastly claws are known. The rest of its body is perpetually hidden inside the dark, black clouds in which it lives.
Akashita are agents of misfortune and evil, and are primarily known as punishers in water-related conflicts.
Because so much water is essential to keep rice fields flooded, Japan's farmlands are intertwined with an intricate series of interconnected aqueducts and canals designed to provide water to all farmers equally.
In times of drought, however, a wicked farmer can open the sluices and drain his neighbor's water into his own field. Such a serious crime can cost a family its life, and these criminals usually face the violent anger of their neighbors.
Water thieves who never get caught may think they have gotten away with their crime, but it is to these farmers that the akashita comes, emptying water from their fields and ripping them out with its long red tongue.