The words after “long ago in the village of Shiga” were quoted from a story about a mysterious fire called the “abura-nusumi no hi” (the oil-stealing fire), which featured in the Edo period books, the Shokoku Rijin Dan (諸国里人談) and the Honchō Koji Innen Shū (本朝故事因縁集). In those books, it’s stated that there was a folk belief where an oil merchant from Ōtsu, Ōmi Province steals oil from a Jizō statue at the crossroads so that he can sell them, and became lost and turned into a mysterious fire after death. In Mount Hiei, it’s said that a mysterious fire called the abura-bō appears, and in the Shokoku Rijin Dan, this fire is seen to be the same as the “abura-nusumi no hi.” It’s inferred that Sekien’s abura-akago was a made-up tale based on this “abura-nusumi no hi” in the Shokoku Rijin Dan and other books.
half sleeve based on the story of aburaakago by Joe Galloway
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