Kintarou 金太郎
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
Lit. golden boy. A childhood name given in later centuries to Sakata no Kintoki 坂田公時, one of the four great generals of Minamoto no Yorimitsu 源頼光 (? -1021). Often called Kaidoumaru 怪童丸 in the Edo period. Although a historical figure, Kintoki became a folk hero, with many legends accredited to his biography. According to legend, as a boy Kintoki was lost on the mountain called *Ashigarayama 足柄山 and raised by an old woman *Yamauba 山姥. Noted for prodigious feats of strength such as uprooting trees (to build a bridge), wrestling with a giant carp, and defeating a bear and eagle, he is sometimes known in English as the strong boy. A popular theme in joururi 浄瑠璃 and *kabuki 歌舞伎, the Kintarou story was a well-known subject for *ukiyo-e 浮世絵 artists by the mid-18c. Typically shown holding a hatchet, he is often depicted riding on a bear, or together with a deer, hare, monkey, or demons. With a reddish complexion, he is usually shown nude or wearing a backless vest known as a haragake 腹掛. A sub-genre of Kintarou depictions made famous by Kitagawa Utamaro 喜多川歌麿 (1753-1806) shows him together with Yamauba, typically suckling at her breast.


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