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StoryThe legend of Momotaro,
Not a Folk Tale

桃太郎のイラスト

Look at a picture book
「The legend of Momotaro in Okayama」

Momotaro, hero of folk tale

Once upon a time, there lived an old man and an old woman. One day, when the old woman went to the river to wash clothes, a huge peach came floating down the river. Upon taking the peach home and splitting it open, the old couple saw a boy come out! They named him Momotaro and raised him with care. After he had grown, Momotaro left home to banish evil ogres. On the way, a dog, monkey, and pheasant agreed to join Momotaro in exchange for the old woman's millet dumplings that he carried. They traveled to the island of Onigashima, routed the ogres, and went home with treasure. A happy ending!

This is the folk tale "Momotaro" that is so well known. However, the legend of Momotaro that is said to have been the prototype of this story depicts a very different Momotaro and ogre. What is the true relationship between Momotaro and the ogre, hidden in the legend?

The legend of Momotaro in Okayama Kibitsuhiko and Ura
Illustrated by Shogo Natsume

battle between Momotaro and Ura

"There seems to be an ogre named Ura rampaging in the land of Kibi..." Such rumors existed in the land of Yamato. Kibitsuhiko, the prince of Yamato, heads to Kibi to subdue Ura. The Yamato forces and Ura fight a fierce battle. In the midst of the fighting, Kibitsuhiko and Ura finally confront each other...

Relationship when fighting

The conclusion of the battle

The wounded Ura transformed into a carp in order to escape, but Kibitsuhiko-no-Mikoto transformed into a cormorant and caught Ura, vanquishing him.

Later, the head of the slain Ura was buried under the cauldron of the Okamaden at Kibitsu-jinja Shrine. One day,Ura appeared in Kibitsuhiko-no-Mikoto’s dreams.

One day,Ura appeared in Kibitsuhiko-no-Mikoto’s dreams.

Momotaro, who built trust, and Ura

Ura, who was loved by the people of the village of Azo, was not some sort of ogre. Kibitsuhiko-no-Mikoto, who was guided to the truth by the ghost of Ura, came to deeply regret having slain Ura. Meanwhile, Kibitsuhiko-no-Mikoto encounters the village resident Azohime...

Relationship after the battle

Watch the story of Japan Heritage!

Read the legend of Momotaro here

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