Ichikawa Udanji as the ghost of Sogoro in the play Sakura Sogoro
This scene is from the kabuki play Sakura Sogoro, which is based on an actual event in the 17th century.
Sakura no Kiuchi Sogoro made an appeal to the Lord of Shimosa on behalf of the peasants of his district, who were suffering from heavy taxation. Their appeals were of no avail.
Sogoro then made a direct appeal to the Shogun (military ruler) who was visiting a temple in Edo (Tokyo), thus breaking the law of approaching the Shogun directly. The Lord of Shimosa arrested and executed Sogoro and his entire family. Before dying, Sogoro vowed that his ghost would haunt those who had wronged him. The ghost of Sogoro, indicated by his spirit fire, is swooping down, terrorizing his antagonists.