Tag Archives: japanese tale

The Story of Momotaro–A Japanese Tale

Main Piece: This is a Japanese tale my friend told me about.

Long ago an elderly couple who lived in the mountains were doing their laundry as usual, and the grandmother saw a huge peach floating in the river, the grandmother took the peach home and cut it to eat it. But a baby boy came out from the peach. They named the baby boy Momotaro (momo= peach Taro= a very classic name for boys).

The boy grew so fast and very strong. One day. Momotaro said to the elderly couple he will go to the devils’ island to defeat the devils. The elderly couple gave Momotaro dumplings (きびだんご)so he could eat it on the trip.

On the way to the island, he met a dog and a monkey. Momotaro gave them きびだんご and they joined him to the island. Later on, he met a pheasant , also gave it a きびだんご and it also joined the party. The crew grew (like avengers).

They all successfully arrived at the devil’s island and cooperated with animals to get rid of the devils. He went back to his house and lived with the grandpa and grandma happily ever after.


My informant is a 25-year-old Japanese woman who grew up mostly in Hong Kong and Korea. She currently works in Japan. AI remembers hearing about this story on TV program about Japanese folktales. She isn’t sure if they tell this story in Japanese schools because she didn’t attend school in Japan. She says the story doesn’t mean much to her and it’s a popular tale in Japan. AI is also not sure of the meaning, but she thinks it has to do with working together to fight your devils.


I don’t know any Japanese tales, but I have always been interested in Japanese culture and language. I think this story about a boy working with other animals to defeat the devil is an important message, if this is something that is told to children in Japanese schools. It tells them that they shouldn’t fight with their friends and that if they ever have problems, they should work together to figure it out. I think the message is common in other cultures as well.

The Story of Princess Kaguya–A Japanese Tale

Main Piece

This is a Japanese tale my friend, identified as AI, told me about. I am identified as IC.

AI: There was an old bamboo cutter. One day, when he was gathering bamboo in the mountains, he came across a bamboo stalk that was shining very brightly. Wondering what it was, the old man cut the bamboo, and found a cute little girl inside. He thought it was a gift from the gods and took the little girl home. He showed the girl to his wife and she instantly fell in love with her. They named her Princess Kaguya and raised her with tender loving care. Kaguya grew up to become a very beautiful lady.

However, rumors about Princess Kaguya’s beauty spread throughout the country, and soon, five great young men came to ask her for her hand in marriage. Princess Kaguya just wanted to live a quiet life, so she came up with an idea. She said, “I will marry the one who can find what I want.”

Things she asked for were very difficult to find: a stone pot of Buddha, a cowry shell from the nest of a swallow, leather clothes made from the skins of the legendary mice, a branch from a jewel tree, and the five-colored jewels from the dragon neck. No man could find these things, and they all gave up.

As the day of the full moon approached, Princess Kaguya started crying as she looked at the moon.

“Why are you crying?” asked the old man and woman. “I am not of this land. I am from the moon. Escorts from the moon will come and take me back on the night of the full moon in August. I must return where I am from,” said Princess Kaguya. She told the old man and woman that she would miss them very much.

The old man and woman decided to protect Princess Kaguya from the moon escorts by placing warriors around the house. However, the warriors couldn’t move when they saw the escorts from the moon There was a blinding light and the warriors could not drive them away. Princess Kaguya thanked the old couple for their care and returned to the moon.

IC: What do you think this story means?

AI: I’m not sure but I think it’s more magical and beautiful compared to Momotaro. This story is also more popular to girls.

IC: Why is that?

AI: I’m not really sure but bamboos are always close to temples, which are beautiful places in Japan and that a beautiful girl was born from the bamboo is magical. Also, the story is so old but Princess Kaguya wants to find love of her own, not marriage that is a kind of arranged marriage. I think it shows that people will always look for love, even traditionally and now.


My informant is a 25-year-old Japanese woman who grew up mostly in Hong Kong and Korea. She currently works in Japan. She remembers hearing about this story when she was in Hong Kong and went to a Japanese cram school and the teachers told her this was crucial story she had to know as a Japanese.


I think this story talks about how you must always return to where you belong, which can be interpreted as you shouldn’t try to be someone you’re not. Kaguya eventually returns to the moon because that is where she belongs. Even if she wanted to stay, she couldn’t. Although in real life, there aren’t celestial beings from the moon, I think it can be applied to friendships and peer pressure. Growing up, children are often influenced by the opinions of their peers and it can drastically impact their future path. The wrong group of friends will send them down the wrong path. With the right group of friends, you will be on the good path and become someone who will have their own opinions and understand when you should stand up for your own beliefs.