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 (d.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 shows him together with Yamauba, typically suckling at her breast.


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