This story is a Japanese folktale and begins with an old woman going to the river to do her laundry, at the river she finds a huge peach floating down towards her. Inside the peach she finds a baby boy and decides to raise him with her husband. The old couple names the boy “peach” and he grows up to be a very energetic boy. When the boy grows older he decides to save the village from the demons who torment them. To get to the demons he must journey to the mountains, for the journey his mother packs for him four mochis. During his journey he eats one mochi. He meets a dog and convinces him to join him against his fight with the demons by giving him a mochi. He also meets a peacock and monkey who join him, as he offers them a piece of mochi. Eventually they arrive at the demons hideout and waits for the demons to get drunk, when the demons are drunk the boy and his animal companions attack. While the boy is strong the animals use their individual strengths to fight, an example being the peacock who uses his beak to peck at the demons. In the end they defeat the demons and take the demons treasures back to the boy’s village.
Background and Context:
This folklore was collected from a current freshman at USC. It was collected in a casual context over lunch after class one day. The student is an international student who is ethnically Japanese but grew up in various places in Asia. Before coming to USC she lived in Singapore for seven years and before Singapore the longest she lived in a country was Japan for five years. She learned about the folklore through school as folklore was part of school curriculum and in textbooks. In the story she refers to the boy’s name as peach but is traditionally peach in Japanese. However she does not recall the Japanese translation for the name. She also explains what a mochi is, a traditional Japanese rice cake usually shaped into a ball.
My thoughts on the story is that it gave an important message. The message of the story is be kind and good to others, as all the characters in the story are rewarded for their good deeds. Examples being the old couple who take the boy in and raise him as eventually he saves their village from demons. Another example being the boy as he gives each animal a mochi so they decide to help him in his journey. Other morals that can be taken from this story is don’t be afraid to ask for help as the boy asked the animals he just met to help him defeat the demons and they agreed. Overall the story is an interesting and unique intriguing it’s readers.
Another place you can find this piece of folklore is in the children’s book Peach Boy: A Japanese Legend by Gail Sakurai.