The furaribi (Japanese: ふらり火) is a yōkai with the appearance of a firebird. He is present in classic yōkai imagery.
For example, he appears in Sekien Toriyama's Gazu Hyakki Yagyō, Sawaki Suushi's Hyakkai Zukan and an unknown author's Bakemonozukushi.
In the Hyakkai Zukan and Bakemonozukushi, among others, he is depicted as a bird with a dog's face and enveloped in fire. The one in the Gazu Hyakki Yagyō is also a bird enveloped in fire, but its face evokes that of Garuda from Hindu mythology.
The lack of explanatory text makes it unclear what type of yōkai these creatures represent. However, one theory explains that they come from the deceased without a funeral, wandering the world and having changed appearance.
Furaribi Similar Tales
A legend similar to the furaribi in Isobezutsumi, the river basin of the Jinzu River in the town of Isobe, Toyama, Toyama Prefecture, is that of the "buraribi" first told in the early Meiji era.
The legend takes place during the Tenshō era. Sassa Narimasa, lord of Toyama Castle, had a mistress named Sayuri.
Sayuri, a great beauty, and much loved by Narimasa, which degraded his relations with the okujochū (ladies-in-waiting) of the castle. Once, some okujochū slandered, inventing that Sayuri committed adultery with another man than Narimasa.
The latter believed them and murdered Sayuri out of jealousy, hanging her from a tree in Isobezutsumi and cutting her into pieces. He also punished Sayuri's family with executions.
The innocent family, which consisted of eighteen people about to be killed, cast a spell on Narimasa when they died.
It is said that after that, every night on this land appeared atmospheric ghost lights called "buraribi" or "sayuribi", and if this fire is called by saying "Sayuri, Sayuri", the severed head of a woman with disheveled hair appeared with a bitter expression.
The fact that the Sassashi family lost to Toyotomi Hideyoshi in battle is also considered the act of Sayuri's vengeful spirit.