Kintaro’, also known as the Golden Boy, is one of Japan’s popular folk heroes.
In many ways, Kintaro’’ was like Japan’s Tarzan, having been raised in the wild and battling different sorts of weird creatures. The story of Kintaro’ is said to come from the desire of parents to have their young boys grow up with strength and courage, just like the folk hero.
Long ago in Japan, there lived a great soldier named Kintoki. He had fallen in love with a young women and married her. Not long after this he fell into disgrace at Court and was dismissed. This misfortune so preyed upon his mind that he did not long survive his dismissal so,he died, leaving behind his beautiful young wife to face the world alone. Fearing of her husband’s enemies and ran to the Ashigara Mountains. There, she had given birth to a little boy that she named Kintaro. Kintaro was not like other boys, He was as strong as ever. When he grew older, his strength gained. Since Kintaro lived in the mountains, he did not have any friends but animals. His dearest friends were the bear, monkey,deer, and the hare. One day the 5 friends found an open space filled with beautiful flowers. Kintaro said, “Here is a place for a good game. What do you all say to a wrestling match?” The bear said,“That will be great fun.I am the strongest animal so I will make the platform for the wrestlers;” and she set to work to dig up the earth and to pat it into shape. When that was done the friends divided into groups of who would wrestle. When it was the monkey and the hare’s turn, the hare won and he got his prize. The monkey got mad and said that he didn’t win so they had a rematch. This time the monkey won. When that was over, they started back home together. Suddenly the 5 friends faced a lake and had no clue how to get past. Kintaro said,“Wait a moment. I will make a good bridge for you all in a few minutes.” He took hold of a great tree nearby and lifted it of the earth. Then, Kintaro dragged it to the river. Everybody was impressed of how strong Kintaro was. An old man saw this and rubbed his eyes to make sure that he was not dreaming. He said to him self,“This is no ordinary child. Whose son can he be? I will find out before this day is done.” When Kintaro went back home, he told everything to his mother. In the middle of their conversation, the same old man came and asked Kintaro for an arm wrestle. Kintaro agreed. They stayed in the middle for a long time. At last the old man declared that it was a drawn game. He said to Kintaro’s mother,” I am one of the great generals of Japan. My name is Sadamitsu, and I am a vassal of the powerful Lord Minamoto-no-Raiko. He ordered me to go round the country and look for boys who give promise of remarkable strength, so that they may be trained as soldiers for his army. I thought that I could best do this by assuming the disguise of a woodcutter. By good fortune, I have thus unexpectedly come across your son. Now if you really wish him to be a samurai I’ll take him and present him to the Lord Raiko as a candidate for his service. What do you say to this?” Kintaro’s mother gladly agreed and let her son go. Kintaro finally became a great samurai in Japan.