The secret of Momotaro(桃太郎) story taught by Japanese!🍑


Japanese folktales Japanese picture books Momotaro

X f B! P L ブログランキング・にほんブログ村へ

Hello. I am a Japanese with a librarian qualification. This time I will write about Momotaro(Peach Boy), which is popular even outside of Japan.

Why was he born from a peach?

 In the original story of Momotaro, a baby was born to an old man and an old woman who were rejuvenated by eating peaches. However, in the mid-1800s, this story was changed to the story of a baby being born from a peach because it was impossible to explain to children that a baby was born.

Why are my friends a dog, a monkey, and a pheasant?

The companions of Momotaro, the dog, monkey, and pheasant, were likely chosen in the Japanese folktale for their symbolic significance to emphasize the story's elements and make it more engaging. Each of these animals possesses different characteristics and roles, allowing them to represent various virtues and lessons within the narrative. 


The dog symbolizes loyalty and bravery. In the story, it faithfully supports Momotaro and proves its courage in the battle against the demons, highlighting the importance of loyalty and the courage to face challenges. 


The monkey symbolizes wit and cleverness. The monkey sneaks into the demons' castle to prevent them from discovering Momotaro's presence and provides strategic advice to Momotaro. This underscores the importance of intelligence and strategic thinking as key elements of the story. 


The pheasant represents the knowledge of a hunter and sets traps in the story. This highlights the importance of knowledge and planning, suggesting that intelligence and careful planning contribute to success in the battle against the demons. 

These animals, with their distinct qualities and roles, help emphasize values such as cooperation, courage, wisdom, and loyalty in the story. By highlighting these virtues, the companions of Momotaro play a crucial role in conveying the story's lessons and messages effectively.

The true identity of the demon

The identity of the demons in the story of Momotaro can vary depending on different versions and interpretations of the tale. Generally, the demons are portrayed as the antagonists in the story, causing harm to the villagers and serving as the catalyst for Momotaro's heroic journey. 
The demons are often depicted as malevolent beings who bring trouble to the village, and Momotaro emerges as the hero who confronts them to protect the villagers. Details about the exact identity of the demons are often left vague, and different versions of the story may offer varying interpretations. 
The demons serve as symbolic elements in the story, symbolizing the conflict between good and evil. The main purpose of the story is to triumph over evil through the battle against the demons and to protect the villagers, making the specific identity of each demon less important than the story's overall message and lessons.

Lastly, I will introduce the song. Most Japanese people know this song and have sung it!


The story of Momotaro is a well-known and beloved folktale throughout Japan, but the content of the legend varies depending on the region. Here are detailed explanations of the characteristics of Momotaro's legend in different areas:

1. Okayama Prefecture: There is a legend that when Momotaro set out for Demon Island, he rode in a Bizen-ware pot. Additionally, it is said that Demon Island is "Inujima," an island off the coast of present-day Okayama Prefecture.

2. Kagawa Prefecture: In some versions, Momotaro's animal companions are not a dog, a monkey, and a pheasant, but a dog, a monkey, and a boar. It is also told that the weapon Momotaro used to defeat the demons was a stone axe.

3. Tokushima Prefecture: There is a story in which Momotaro's mother gave him a "karasuki" (a type of hat) when he departed to fight the demons.

4. Ehime Prefecture: In some areas, a rabbit appears as one of Momotaro's animal companions, in addition to the dog, monkey, and pheasant.

5. Fukuoka Prefecture: There is a tradition that before Momotaro left to fight the demons, the villagers gave him "shirogane no senbonkugi" (silver nails).

6. Kagoshima Prefecture: According to one explanation, the weapon Momotaro used to defeat the demons was a "hinawaju" (matchlock gun). This may be related to the fact that Kagoshima Prefecture had a strong samurai society.

As seen above, the story of Momotaro has undergone unique developments in each region, resulting in a rich variety of local traditions. These differences are thought to reflect the culture and history of each area.




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