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  
  • One Piece's Admirals are all given codenames that reference characters from the story, AoKiji (blue pheasant), KiZaru (yellow monkey), AkaInu (red dog), and more recently FujiTora (Wisteria Tiger) and the named but not yet introduced RyokuGyu (Green Bull).
  • 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., with Mario playing Momotaro.
  • In the final arc of Rolling Girls one of the characters is a Gender Flip of Momotaro named Momo. Although her animal companions are different, and the demon is actually her biological mother performing a Zero-Approval Gambit.
  • My Monster Secret references the story when the cast are submitting ideas their scripts for the school play. Shiho's submission is "Momobutttaro", a modified version of this fairy tale.
  • Volume 4 of Kaguya-sama: Love Is War has a Fractured Fairy Tale version where the reader is encouraged to find Snark Bait.

     Comic Books 
  • Usagi Yojimbo: In one issue, Usagi befriended a group of orphans and told them the story of Momotaro, casting himself in the lead role.
  • X-Men Fairy Tales recast Cyclops as Momotaro, with Professor Xavier and other members of the original line-up in supporting roles.

  • 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.
  • GoGo Sentai Boukenger, episode 36 has the Boukengers meet a modern day incarnation of the character named Taro. He too is born from a giant peach Satoru and Eiji find in a river, grows into a 10-year-old within a day, and eventually helps the Boukengers retrieve a precious named the Kanabō from the Questers.

  • 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.
  • Zombie Panic In Wonderland features Momotaro as a main player in defeating the zombies. The Onis also show up to give the peach boy trouble.
  • Shin Onigashima for the Famicom Disk System is a loose visual novel adaptation of the story, among other Japanese folk tales. The protagonists are twins: a boy named Donbe and a girl named Hikari. It was never released outside of Japan, but its music appeared in Super Smash Bros. as a speed-metal song.
  • The Trainer Dressphere from Final Fantasy X-2 seems to be based on the legend, since the heroes' partner animals are a dog (for Yuna), monkey (Rikku) and pheasant (Paine).

     Visual Novel  

     Western Animation  
  • Samurai Jack told the story of Momotaro to a baby he was protecting.
  • Super Why! used the tale of Momotaro to help Pig and his brothers to cooperate.

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.