Momotaro

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Momotaro2.jpg
Bisque doll of Momotaro

Momotaro (桃太郎), or Peach Boy, is a hero from Japanese folklore. His tale is extremely well-known in Japan and East Asia.

According to the present form of the tale (dating to the Edo Period), Momotaro came to earth inside a giant peach, which was found floating down a river by an old, childless woman who was washing clothes there. The woman and her husband discovered the child when they tried to open the peach to eat it. The child explained that he had been sent by Heaven to be their son. The couple named him Momotaro, from momo (peach) and taro (eldest son in the family).

Years later, Momotaro left his parents for an island called Onigashima to destroy the marauding oni (demons or ogres) that had taken up residence there. En route, Momotaro met and befriended a talking dog, monkey, and pheasant, who agreed to help him in his quest. At the island, Momotaro and his animal friends penetrated the demons' fort and beat the demons into surrendering. Momotaro returned home with his new friends, and his family lived comfortably from then on.

Momotaro is strongly associated with Okayama, and his tale may have its origins there. The demon island of the story is sometimes associated with Mega-jima Island due to the vast manmade caverns found on that island.

Momotaro's song

The popular children's song about Momotaro titled Momotaro-san no Uta (Momotaro's Song) was first published in 1911. One version of it is included below with romanization and translation.

Momotarou-san no uta
(Momotaro's Song)
桃太郎さんの歌

Momoutarou-san, momotarou-san
(Momotaro, Momotaro)
桃太郎さん、桃太郎さん

Okoshini tsuketa kibidango
(Those rice dumplings on your waist)
お腰につけたきびだんご

Hitotsu watashi ni kudasai na!
(Won't you give me one!)
一つ私に下さいな!

Agemashou, agemashou
(I'll give you, I'll give you)
あげましょう、あげましょう

Ima kara oni no seibatsu ni
(From now, the demons' spoil)
今から鬼の征伐に

Tsuite kuru nara agemashou
(If you come with me, I'll give it to you)
ついてくるならあげましょう

See also

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