Each year, far to the north in the Japanese prefecture of Hokkaido, a masked figure bursts through a wall of flames. The sight is strange and wild, a like a demon breaking through the flames of hell.
This really is a fire-walking festival called Furubira. The monster that walks the fires is known as a Tengu, so a “Heavenly Dog.” A Tengu is a mischievous soul from Japanese folklore who’s typically regarded as related to some mountain goblin.
Throughout the festival, he crosses two feet of flames followed closely by local teenagers. Together, the team performs a ritual lion dance.
These photos were taken by photographer and musician Laufen Katsu.