Monday, March 17, 2014

Amazing Strength of Kintaro

The ancient history tale of Kintaro, the Japanese Golden Boy unfolds from the story of a brave soldier named Kintoki who fell in love with a beautiful maiden and married her. Thereafter due to the malice of some of his colleagues, he was disgraced in court and got dismissed which played heavily on his mind resulting in his death leaving behind his wife to face the world all alone. Hs wife, fearing her husband’s foes fled to the Ashiagara Mountains soon after his death to reside in the forest which was rather lonely, but for some woodcutters who came along to chop some wood. The beautiful maiden soon gave birth to a lovely boy whom she called Kintaro or the Golden Boy. The most amazing thing about this child was his remarkable strength which grew stronger as he matured in age and by the age of eight he was capable of chopping down trees as quickly as the other woodcutters.

His mother provided him with an axe which he used to help his fellow woodcutters, who named him `wonder child’, due to his amazing strength and his mother the `old nurse’, since they had no inkling about their rank. Kintaro also had another of his favorite past time of smashing up rocks and stones leaving people to wonder on his amazing strength. Unlike any other child, Kintaro grew all alone in the mountains and having no companions to mingle with, he made friends with the animals, learned to understand and relate with their strange talk who turned out to be tamed looking on Kintaro as his master, while he used them as messengers and servants.

There are several tales about Kintaro and his adventures, wrestlings and helping the local woodcutters and as an adult, he changed his name to Sakata no Kintoki. He came across a samurai, Minamoto no Yorimitsu when he passed by who was impressed by his enormous strength that he took him as one of his personal retainers to Kvoto. Kintoki lived and studied martial art at Kvoto and eventually became the chief of Yorimitsu’s Shitenno, meaning Four Braves, for his renowned strength and martial prowess.
Kintaro is a very popular figure in Japan and is viewed as a symbol of fortune for many young boys and in modern times his image adorns from statues to storybooks etc. According to Japanese traditions, the room of a new born baby boy is decorated with Kintaro dolls on Children’s Day, on May 5 with the hope that the child would turn out to be as strong as the Golden Boy. A shrine is also dedicated to the hero at the foot of Mount Kintoki in Hakona location near Tokyo with giant boulders nearby which were probably cut into half by Kintaro himself.

Some legends claim that his mother looked after him and cared for him very much and they both learned the ways of the mountains and survived under very harsh conditions, while others claim that his mother fled to the mountains due to family dispute. Some are of the opinion that he was raised by Yama-uba who happened to be a mysterious mountain witch who brought him up. You could check up for interesting history mystery at elixir of knowledge for more amazing information.

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