Home > Japanese Culture > The peach can protect you from evil

The peach can protect you from evil

As I wrote at the previous journal, I dropped by a few temples and shrines last Saturday. I’ll let you show one of them.

Do you know a nursery tale, “momotaro“, which is the story about a boy fighting orges.

One day, an elderly male was washing by a river and found a big peach floating down the stream. He took the peach to his home and tried to chop it. Surprisingly, he found a baby in the peach. The elderly man named the baby “Momotaro“(momo literally means “peach” and taro used to be gave the first male babies as a part of name) because the baby was born from the peach. Momotaro grew to go to Ogres’ island to conquer ogres. A dog, a monkey, a pheasant accompanied Momotaro as his retainers. Ogres had surrendered Momotaro and the peace had come back.

Inuyama city, which was the place I dropped by, has a lot of legends about Momotaro. They built the Momotaro shrine.

You can see another legend relating to peach in an ancient book called Kojiki, in which people described myths. In Kojiki, it is said that peaches can protect people from evil. When Izanaginomikoto(one of ancient male God in Japan) ran from yominokuni(land of death, underworld), a devil chased him. He found a peach tree on the run and threw the peach toward the devil. The devil suddenly weakened by peaches.
(*Kojiki in this paragraph doesn’t mean “a beggar” in English. It’s homophonous.)

You might think that Momotaro shrine is huge, famous, and spectacular. Don’t expect too much from my introduction above. I’ll put several photographs.

This is Momotaro shrine. You can see a big torii, the gate which distinguishes a sacred place.
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This is an ogre. All Japanese call him(/her?) oni. Incidentally, we call ogres which have red bodies “aka oni“(aka means “red”) and call ogres which have blue ones “ao oni“(ao means “blue”). So, this is aka oni.
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One of accompanying partners, a monkey.
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A dog.
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A pheasant.
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The very moment when a hero has been born. The baby from the peach named Momotaro.
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Look at his bold appearance. Momotaro was the one who sit at the top.
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Ummm…looks a bit glum.
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It’s quite unique. I haven’t seen such a torii before. Peach shaped.
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You can see an ogre tearing down. There is a proverb in Japan; “oni no me nimo namida(I don’t know how I could say…maybe, ‘Even the pitiless can cry’?).”
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There is a small museum in the premises. I took many photographs there. I’ll introduce some of them.

The great singer in Showa era, Hibari Misora in costume of Momotaro.
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The mummy of an ogre’s kid.
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Ogres is often appeared in Japanese traditional dramas. This is called han nya.
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An iron club. Ogres in Japan use the iron club in tales. It’s called kanabou. oni ni kanabou is a proverb in Japan. It might mean, “With your help, nothing can beat me.”, sorry I’m not sure.
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I don’t know what connections between this shrine and the imperial family. I saw a lot of photographs or pictures in the museum. This picture is showing the meeting in which the decision for surrender at the Greater East Asian War in 1945.
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Incidentally, Japanese readers must feel nostalgic from this photo. This is an old shaped mailbox. Now this type is almost removed because it’s not sturdy when quaking.
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I’ll introduce other temples or shrines in another day. Please don’t miss it.

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  1. May 14, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    Interesting. I don’t think we have any myths/legends over here, well I’ve never heard of any.

    Even after defeat, an ogre must cry.

    Where did the peach come from that had Momotaro? Origin?

    The mail box is a relic I guess. Reminds me of the phone booths in London, they’re disappearing too. Make way for the new! 😆

    Have a nice weekend. 🙂

    • honeypotter
      May 14, 2010 at 11:35 pm

      Hello, girlgeum! How’s your day?

      Oh, if you have chances to know any myths in your country, please introduce it in your blog. I’m waiting. 😀

      Yes, the ogres cried when they were defeated. Where the peach came from…yes, it’s originated from the myth. I think most of nursery tales in Japan are originated from myths.

      Oh, you’ve ever been in London? Great! Yeah, due to mobile phones, we can hardly find phone booths. Now that it’s quite difficult to make a movie such as “Phone Booth”, in which Colin Farrell acted.(Do you know it?)

  2. May 17, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Hi H.P. 🙂

    No I was saying that I don’t know of any myths in my country, and no I’ve never been to London. I have a friend from there though.

    I wanted to go to London and Paris, but my desires have turn East. 🙂

    Yeah I’ve heard of Phone Booth. Have you ever heard of the Bourne Identity or Mission Impossible movies?

    Beautiful days for me. 🙂

    • honeypotter
      May 18, 2010 at 9:18 am

      Hi, girlgeum! How’s your day?

      Oh, sorry I just jumped to my conclusions, but I’m glad you’re interested in Eastern countries. I mean, Asian countries.

      Matt Damon acted an ex-CIA agent in the movie, right? And Tom Cruise! I have DVDs. 😀

  3. May 18, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Out of all the Mission Impossible movies, I prefer part 2. I read that he’s thinking about making a part 4.

    I wasn’t too crazy about Bourne Identity though.

    • honeypotter
      May 21, 2010 at 12:45 am

      Part 4?! Really? Tom is planning it? I can’t wait!

      I also prefer Mat in Stuck on You to Mat in Bourne Identity. Do you know “Stuck on YOu”?

  4. May 21, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    You mean Stuck on You. Miss that, I’m saying in a sarcastic tone.

    I like him in Good Will Hunting.

    • honeypotter
      May 21, 2010 at 7:04 pm

      Ooooops! Sorry about that. 😦

      I just corrected it with my authority as the administrator of this blog. Thank you, girlgeum. 😀

  5. May 24, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    🙂

  1. May 21, 2010 at 12:21 am

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