Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form


Polen, James Scott (2008) CHANGE AND CONTINITY OF MOMOTARÔ. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Primary Text

Download (397kB) | Preview


This paper examines the major thematic elements, or motifs, that allow the folktale Momotarô (The Peach Boy) 桃太郎to undergo changes in plot and usage as it moves from the oral tradition to nationalist literature. My research traces written motifs from a variety of classical and medieval documents to the emergence of Momotarô during the Muromachi period (1392-1573) 室町時代. I identify and compare these motifs within different versions of the tale to determine its change and continuity up through World War II. The paper groups the various versions of Momotarô chronologically into four time periods, researching the social, political, economic, and artistic histories of each to determine what overarching influences change or maintain plot and other details in the story. At the same time, I identify changes in political and social climate. By connecting this popular folktale with its origins, we gain a greater understanding of Momotarô's importance in Japanese history and culture. While the story has received recent modest attention in Japanese studies due to its usage in World War II propaganda, an exploration of the tale's development is lacking. This paper seeks to shine some light on the growth of Momotarô and how it became the most recognized folktale in Japan.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Polen, James
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairSmethurst, Richardrsmet@pitt.eduRSMET
Committee MemberWood, Diane Marston
Committee MemberGoldstein, Donald M
Date: 4 June 2008
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 4 December 2007
Approval Date: 4 June 2008
Submission Date: 18 December 2007
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > East Asian Studies
Degree: MA - Master of Arts
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: folktale; momotaro; peach boy
Other ID:, etd-12182007-164229
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:11
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:54


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item