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
- One Piece:
- The 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 RyokuGyu (Green Bull).
- The Wano also has several references to Momotarou. Kaidou resides on the island Onigashima which is obviously modeled after its namesake and he and his crew took control of Wano via force, representing the oni. The little girl O-Tama is able to make animal creatures into her allies with her kibi-dangos she can produce with her body. Momonosuke, the son of the deceased daimyou Kozuki Oden, also has a big role to play, notably as the lord of the Nine Red Scabbards who oppose Kaidou and Orochi. Another key player who is directly aiming for Kaidou's head is the main protagonist, Luffy, who adopts the undercover moniker Luffytarou.
- 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.
- Hozuki's Coolheadedness, 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, 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 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. We only get to see tiny snippets, but Class Representative Aizawa (whom Shiho wanted to play the lead role) claims that it's straight-up pornographic, and Shiho is "convinced" to abandon it with the threat that she'll have to star in it alongside Lovable Sex Maniac Shimada, who she's desperately been trying to avoid.
- Volume 4 of Kaguya-sama: Love is War has a Fractured Fairy Tale version. It was also adapted as a chapter of the Official Doujin, which ended with Momotaro and the Oni falling in love (since they were cast as Shirogane and Kaguya respectively).
- Not an adaptation, but it's referenced in Ranma ½, where Ranma asks his equally Book Dumb father what he knows about Romeo. His father's response: He was born from a peach. The English translation adapts this as he's from the planet Krypton.
- Three of the guards in Nanbaka are themed after a dog (Kenshirou), a pheasant (Kiji) and a monkey (Samon) respectively.
- The first two episodes of Juuni Senshi Bakuretsu Eto Ranger involve the heroes restoring the world of this story, which was corrupted into a Sci-Fi epic.
- In Dr. Stone, Senku is amazed to discover that the stone-age villagers who were born after the mysterious petrification of Earth in 2017note know the legend of Momotaro. He's even more stunned that their version of the story casts Momotaro as a musclebound Kenshiro lookalike with a bear, gorilla, lion, and crocodile as companions. Later on we find out that this version was written by Senku's father Byakuya shortly after the petrification.
- One chapter of Gakuen Babysitters has the babysitting club putting on a version of Momotaro in order to perform for the babies' parents, specifically Kirin's mother, as she's also busy with the drama club and their own play.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Momotaro Densetsu, a video game RPG starring Momotaro and other Japanese fairy tale characters.
- Momotaro Dentetsu, a board game-style video game.
- One stage in Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan 2 features an elderly Momotaro being forced out of retirement to defeat some rogue oni. He ends up convincing them to make an honest living by opening an amusement park on Onigashima.
- 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).
- "Onigishima" is a special event in Fate/Grand Order where the cast fight Oni on the island. Given the nature of the series, the cast are very aware that it's derivative of the original story. The characters play the part of Momotarou and his companions. Momotarou is played by the protagonist, the monkey is played by Sakata Kintoki, the pheasant is played by Fuuma Kotarou, and the dog is played by Ushiwakamaru who has to compete for it with Mash, Tamamo-no-Mae, Kiyohime and even Fou. The oni boss is played by Ushi Gozen.
- Yo-Kai Watch features Momonyan, a cat version of the hero debuting in Yo-kai Watch Blasters. Along with his retainers Puppynyan, Chimpanyan, and Pheasenyan. He first shows up in a subversion of the story told by Yo-kai movie director Directator where the Oni (Gargaros) wins in the end. Then a sequel where Momonyan fights off Kintaronyan (based off the hero Kintaro) and Odysseynyan (based off the hero Urashima Taro) before defeating the Oni as revenge.
- The Dancing Blade: Katte ni Momotenshi! series is an adaptation of Momotaro's tale, with the main heroine, Momohime, being a Gender Flip version of Momotaro, whose Trademark Favorite Food is kibi-dango, and who got an Orphan's Plot Trinket's Cool Sword; also, Momohime's main companions are a man with a Powered Armor (Sarukichi, as the monkey), and two female Youkai with magic powers (Oinu, as the dog; and Kijime, as the pheasant).
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.
- 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.