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JREF Editor
15 Mar 2002
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Kintarō (金太郎, "Golden Boy") is a popular figure in Japanese folklore and was the childhood name of Sakata no Kintoki (坂田金時), one of the four trusted followers of the famous warrior Minamoto no Yorimitsu (源 頼光, 948-1021). Although Sakata seems to have been a historical figure from the Heian Period who appeared in the 11th-century anthology Konjaku Monogatari (今昔物語), he is later depicted as the son of a yamauba (山姥 or 山うば, mountain witch) born on Mount Ashigara (modern-day Kanagawa Prefecture). Being of Herculean strength, he said to have wrestled with bears and other beasts.

Oniwakamaru and the Giant Carp fight underwater (Utagawa Kuniyoshi, 1835)

Kintarō is a common character in 17th- and 18th-century ballads (浄瑠璃 jōruri) and kabuki plays, often appearing under the...

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