The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.

Kintaro The Golden Boy

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Lee Jay Walker brings us the art and folklore of Japan’s Kintaro the Golden Boy:

Toshidama Gallery comments about the depiction of Kintaro by the artist Utagawa Yoshikazu (pitcure above)by stating that “Yoshikazu portrays Kintaro (the Golden Boy) wrestling one of Yorimitsu’s retainers. Kintaro, as with so many Japanese heroes, is the subject of legend and possibly some fact. Raised by his mother near Mount Kintoki it was said that he was a wild child of superhuman strength – wrestling bears, uprooting trees – and he befriended and spoke to animals especially his friends the monkeys.”


Toshidama rightly reports that Kintaro remains a popular figure in modern Japan and that he is viewed as a symbol of great fortune for young boys. Also, in modern Japan Kintaro can be seen in story books, manga, statues, animation and in other aspects of modern culture. Indeed, the computer game Mortal Kombat draws strong parallels with Golden boy. Therefore, Kintaro is equally at home in the old world of noh, kabuki and ukiyo-e and the new world of animation, manga and computer games.


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Author: Daniela

I was born in Croatia, at that time Yugoslavia. My family moved to the US when I was very young, but I still treasure the memories of my grandfather teaching me how to protect myself against the "evil eye," my grandmother shopping early every morning, at the open air market, to buy the freshest vegetables for the day's meals, and the traditions that were the underpinnings of our society. Someone once noted that "For all of us that want to move forward, there are a very few that want to keep the old methods of production, traditions and crafts alive." I am a fellow traveler with those who value the old traditions and folk wisdom. I believe the knowledge they possess can contribute significantly to our efforts to build a more sustainable world; one that values the individual over the corporation, conservation over growth and happiness over wealth.

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