Informant CS is a student at USC who is currently studying physical therapy. He is Japanese, born and raised in Japan, and went to school at an international school in Japan.

Give me a Japanese folk story

CS: “Okay I will tell you the about Momotaro. I don’t really remember the details of the story but I’ll tell you basically what happened. Momotaro was this legendary Japanese hero that is really well known. You can find toy figures of him in toy shops and in stores. His name literally means peach boy because he was born from a peach. It was said that a peach came flying down from the sky and out hatched Momotaro. Two couples found him and raised him. Once Momotaro grew up, he learned of an island full of demons that were terrorizing people, so he set off to fight these demons. He meets some talking animals and become friends with them (I forget how), and then goes fights the demons. He destroys the demons and brings the demon king home as a captive. Then… I think he lived happily ever after.”

Thoughts: When my friend was telling me this story I didn’t recognize who it was but after I went home and did a bit of research on the guy and saw his Chinese name, I knew exactly who he was. I have definitely heard his name before in mandarin classes, but probably the reason why I know him is because there is a theme park in Taiwan named after him. Another fun fact is during WW2 Momotaro’s story was very popular and was used as a metaphor. Pearl harbor was considered the demon islands that the demons (United States) lived on, Momotaro represents the Japanese government, and his animal companions represent the Japanese people. I thought that was really interesting how they use a legendary story as propaganda to boost the morale of their people during WW2 and to get them to have faith in their government.