3/16/2011

Momotaro Japanese Folklore Story


Momotaro is a popular hero in Japanese folklore. Momotaro is strongly associated with Okayama, and his tale may have its origins there. According to the present form of the tale, Momotaro came to Earth inside a giant peach, which was found floating down a river by an old, childless woman while washing clothes. The woman and her husband discovered the child when they tried to open the peach to eat it. The child explained that he had been sent by heaven to be their son. The couple named him Momotaro, from momo (peach) and taro (eldest son in the family). Years later, Momotaro left to fight a band of marauding oni (ogres) on a distant island. En route, Momotaro met and befriended a dog, monkey, and pheasant, who agreed to help him in his quest. At the island, Momotaro and his animal friends beat the oni into surrendering. Momotaro and his new friends returned home with the oni plundered treasure. Momotaro and his family lived comfortably from then on.

In the story, Momotaro is delivered from a big peach which drifted down the river, and people usually believe this. However, Momotaro’s story used to be a story of rejuvenation until early Meiji-period about an elderly couple who eat peaches, rejuvenate and have a baby boy. (That’s why…OKAYAMA….). The rejuvenation version of Momotaro was created to express the dreams and the vital power of Okayama. For a long time, there have been many dreamers in Kibi Land (Okayama). Momotaro Jeans is also a story of a dreamer who has been keeping up with their dream of "spreading genuine jeans from Okayama to the world." Thus, Momotaro Jeans derives its name from the Japanese folklore story of Momotaro.