09 Was Momotaro a thief? (All About Peach Bob)


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By Japankyo and Tony Vega. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: Was Momotarō a thief?

Topics Discussed
  • The folktale/fairy tale of Momotarō
  • Whether Peach Boy is a good English title for Momotarō
  • How old the story of Momotarō is
  • Kunio Yanagita
  • The most common motifs of the Momotarō story
  • Some of the many variations that exist of the story of Momotarō
  • The possible connection between Kehi Shrine in the city of Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture,and the tale of Momotarō
  • The connection between Kinashi in Takamatsu City, Kagawa Prefecture and the story of Momotarō
  • Okayama Prefecture's push to associate themselves with the story of Momotarō
  • The origins of Momotarō Shrine (Momotarō Jinja) in Inuyama City, Aichi Prefecture and what you can expect to see there
  • The photograph of mummified oni remains that was and may still be on display at Momotaro Shrine
  • What the oldest printed copy of Momotarō is
  • Momotarō Gempuku Sugata (1779), an Edo Period dark sequel to Momotarō in which the daughter of the oni of Onigashima gets sent to kill Momotarō but instead falls in love with him and then kills herself
  • Whether Momotarō was justified in his actions
  • How Momotarō has changed over the centuries
  • Momotarō's adoption as a symbol of right wing nationalism
  • The link between Onigashima and real world places like Hawaii, Taiwan, and Singapore
  • A mock trial held by elementary school students in Shizuoka Prefecture in order to determine whether Momotarō was justified in his actions
  • Yotsuba Kuramochi and her expansive research intended to determine whether the oni really were the villains in the story of Momotarō
  • What happens when artificial intelligence tries to interpret the story of Momotarō
  • And more!
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Japanese Vocabulary List

Most episodes feature at least one or two interesting Japanese words or phrases. Here’s some of the ones that came up on this episode. All information is from Jim Breen's WWWJDIC.

  • One
    • 鬼 【おに(P); き】 (n) (1) ogre; demon; oni
  • Momo
    • 桃 【もも(P); モモ】 (n) peach (Prunus persica)
We Want Your Questions

Is there something about Japan that confuses you? Is there something about Japanese culture that you would like to learn more about? Is there something in Japanese history that you would like us to explain? We're always looking for new questions about Japan to answer, so if you have one, please send it to ichimon@japankyo.com.

Special Thanks

Opening/Closing Theme: Produced by Apol (YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Fiverr)

Ichimon Japan cover art: Produced by Erik R.

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Full Show Notes

18 episodes