The akaname (垢嘗?) is a demon or yōkai from Japanese folklore. Meaning filth licker in Japanese, akaname can also be translated to mean red licker since aka is an homonym for red and filth. For this reason the akaname is often described as being red in colour.
The akaname is the “personification of the fear of using a dark bathroom late at night.” It is said to come out at night to literally lick up the grime and dirt that accumulates in unclean bathrooms.
Akaname in art
Toriyama Sekien's 1776 work, Gazu Hyakki Yakō (Pictures of Demons’ Nocturnal Stroll) includes an early line drawing of an akaname, possibly based on Kokon Hyaku Monogatari Hyōban (古今百物語評判)(An Evaluation of One Hundred Strange and Weird Tales of Past and Present), a tale from the Edo period. Sekien included no explanation for the drawing.
In other media
"Filthlicker (Akaname)" is a song by the UK heavy metal band Sa-da-ko from their 2013 album, Awakenings.
Gould, Robert Jay. Japan Culture Research Project. (2003)
Stevens, Ben. A Gaijin's Guide to Japan: an Alternative Look at Japanese Life, History and Culture. HarperCollins UK. (2009)
- Toriyama, Sekien (July 2005). Toriyama Sekien Gazu Hyakki Yagyō Zen Gashū (in Japanese). Tokyo: Kadokawa Shoten Publishing Co., Ltd. pp. 10–65. ISBN 4-04-405101-1.
- Yoka, Hiroko (2008). Yokai Attack! The Japanese Monster Survival Guide. Tokyo: Kodansha International Ltd. pp. 82–85. ISBN 4-77-003070-3.
- Reider, Noriko (2010). Japanese Demon Lore. U.S.A: Utah State University.