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 MomotaroAnime and Manga
- Hello Kitty produced an episode with the titular character taking the role of Momotaro.
- Momo Kyun Sword
- A 15-minute OVA using characters from Super Mario Bros., with Mario playing Momotaro, called Super Mario's Momotaro. Princess Peach is stolen from her grandparents by King Bowser, who wants her as his bride. Her grandparents find a peach that sprouts a toddler (with a mustache), who they name "Mario". When Mario grows up, he learns about Peach and goes to retrieve her from Bowser and his Koopalings.
- In The Storyteller: Giants, one of the stories is an adaptation of Momotaro called "The Peach's Son". In this version of the story, Momotaro grows to enormous size and strength, which makes him an outcast in his hometown.
- Marvel Fairy Tales: Momotaro was one of several tales adapted for the series, with Scott Summers as the titular character.
Films — Animated
- Momotaro's Sea Eagles and its sequel Momotaro's Divine Sea Warriors 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.
Films — Live-Action
- Child of Peach, a Taiwanese fantasy film (co-produced by a Japanese special effects studio) where Momotaro turns out to be the son of two divine warriors who's cast into the world of mortals as a baby in a magic peach-shaped vessel after his parents were killed by a powerful Demon King. It's worth noting that Momotaro's animal companions, the dog, chicken and pheasant, are depicted as humans with the abilities to transform into animals.
- Momotaro meeting the three talking animals and giving them his kibi-dango has been made into a popular children's song.
- Momotaro Densetsu, a video game RPG starring Momotaro and other Japanese fairy tale characters.
- Momotaro Dentetsu, a board game-style video game.
- 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.
- 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.
Momotaro provides examples of:
- 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.
- Characterization Marches On: 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.
- Tastes Like Friendship: The dog, monkey and pheasant help Momotaro in exchange for a portion of millet dumplings, or kibi-dango.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Kibi-dango. Momotaro is almost always depicted with a pouch of them hanging from his waist.