Kagutsuchi is the Japanese god of fire. His fiery nature killed his mother, the divine creator Izanami, during birth. He is the god of blacksmiths and ceramic workers.
Kagutsuchi’s name (軻遇突智, sometimes represented in Katakana as カグツチ) is an older Japanese grammatical phrase meaning “Shining Force.” His other names include Hinokagatsuchi (火之迦具土, “Earthen Tool of Fire”) and Homusubi (火産霊, “Soul of Fiery Childbirth”).
Kagutsuchi is a being of fire who constantly emits flames. He is hard to look at and impossible to touch without being burned. Difficult to control, when he is focused he burns with creativity, relating to the power of his birth. He is connected to volcanoes and seismic activities.
Because of his creative powers, Kagutsuchi is worshiped by craftsmen who harness fire. Blacksmiths especially pay him homage, and ceramic workers do the same.
He is worshiped at many shrines; one of the most prominent is Kyoto’s Atago Shrine.
Kagutsuchi’s birth is one of the most well-known stories of Japanese mythology.
The Birth of Fire
Then [Izanagi], drawing the ten-grasp sabre that was augustly girded on him, cut off the head of his child [Kagutsuchi]. -Kojiki, translated by Basil Chamberlain.
Many gods were born of the union of Izanagi and Izanami, the divine creator gods, and their children vary in appearance and in nature. The last to be born was perhaps the most terrible of all: a being of pure fire called Kagutsuchi. As Izanami gave birth to him, she was enveloped in his flames, which destroyed her body. Before she could finally die, according to the Engishiki (a thousand-year-old Japanese text of laws and customs), she gave birth to Mizuhame, the god of water, who alone could counteract the sheer force of Kagutsuchi’s power. In the Kojiki (the Japanese book of myths and histories dating from the 700s), Izanagi slew his son right after his birth, cutting him into eight parts which became volcanoes, and his blood became several notable water deities.
Kagutsuchi’s relationship to blacksmiths, fire, and volcanoes is very similar to that of the Greek god Hephaestus and the Roman god Vulcan.
Kagutsuchi is a popular deity in media, including:
In the manga series Noragami, Kagutsuchi appears as a fire-breathing deity.
In the manga and video game series Naruto, a combat technique involving fire is called Kagutsuchi.
In the manga series Rurouni Kenshin, one character’s sword technique involving spirals of fire is named after Kagutsuchi.
In the Megami Tensei media franchise, Kagutsuchi is a prominent elemental power.