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Literature: Momotaro
A popular Japanese folk tale.

According to the most famous version of the tale, Momotaro is born when an old woman washing clothes discovers a giant peach floating down the river. She takes the peach home to share with her husband but, when they open it, they discover a child inside. They name him Momotaronote  and raise him as their son.

After he grows older, Momotaro decides to go fight a band of oni from Onigashima (Demon Island) who have been robbing nearby villages. His parents give him a sword and a pouch of kibi-dango (a type of sweet dumpling) for his journey. On the way, he meets three talking animals, a dog, a monkey, and a pheasant. He gives them each a kibi-dango in exchange for their help in fighting the oni. They reach Onigashima and attack the oni's fortress. The oni surrender, return all the treasure they stole, and promise not to steal any more.

The story of Momotaro has been adapted multiple times into several different mediums.

Adaptations of Momotaro

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     Anime and Manga  
  • This animated version.
  • There's Momotaro's Sea Eagles and its sequel Momotaro's Divine Sea Warriors. They are World War II-era propaganda films aimed towards children. They depict Momotaro leading an army of adorable cartoon animals with modern weapons to kill a bunch of Caucasian-looking demons. Here, Onigashima acts as a stand-in for Pearl Harbor in the first movie, and a mix of Singapore and the Philippines in the second. Both are famous examples of early Japanese animation.
  • In Sakigake!! Otokojuku, the main character is named Momotaro. Since the manga tends to poke fun at WWII-style Japanese nationalism, this might be a reference to Sea Eagles and Divine Sea Warriors.
  • In YuYu Hakusho, one villain is named Kuromomotaro, or "Black Momotaro" and is part of a team made up of evil versions of classic Japanese fairy tale characters. The kibi-dango are turned into magic spheres that give Kuromomotaro different animal-themed armors based on Momotaro's three animal companions.
  • "Hello Kitty" produced an episode with the titular character taking the role of Momotaro.
  • Hoozuki no Reitetsu, the first episode started off with Momotaro causing trouble for the oni in hell. He appears after that as a regularly recurring character, having found a new job caring for the peach trees of immortality.
  • A 15-minute OVA using characters from Super Mario Bros..

  • Several English translations exist in books of Japanese "fairy tales" published around the late 19th and early 20th century.

     Live-Action TV 
  • Momotaros from Kamen Rider Den-O, naturally, is based off the tale, and his cars on the Den-Liner feature weapons based off of the three animals. The Imagin Anime shorts also have an episode where all the Imagin try to reenact the story, with... less-than-optimal results.

  • Momotaro meeting the three talking animals and giving them his kibi-dango has been made into a popular children's song.

     Video Games  
  • Momotaro Densetsu, a video game RPG starring Momotaro and other Japanese fairy tale characters.
  • Momotaro Dentetsu, a board game-style video game.

     Visual Novel  

     Western Animation  
  • Samurai Jack told the story of Momotaro to a baby he was protecting.

Tropes associated with Momotaro

  • Bowdlerise: In an older version of the tale, Momotaro is not born from the peach. Instead, the old couple eat the giant peach, which makes them young again. They have sex to celebrate and have a son, whom they name "Taro." The story was changed in order to be publishable in children's textbooks in the late 19th century.
    • Another early version of the story depicts Momotaro as being lazy. This was likely removed to make him a better role model.
  • Go and Sin No More: How he treats the oni after defeating them.
  • Talking Animal: The dog, monkey, and pheasant. Other versions show him teaming up with other animals.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Kibi-dango. Momotaro is almost always depicted with a pouch of them hanging from his waist.

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The Makioka SistersJapanese LiteratureMusashi

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