Kintaro with a Rooster
Kintaro with a Rooster by Totoya Hokkei
Japan: Early 19th century, Woodblock print
This print depicts Kintaro the Golden Boy, a character often present in Japanese folklore. It is believed that Kintaro was a warrior child who possessed superhuman strengths and fought many monsters and demons. He was raised on Mount Ashigara by a mountain hag named Yama-uba. Kintaro befriended the animals on Ashigara and is often portrayed in prints with various creatures of the wild.
There are many stories that attempt to explain why Kintaro was left on the mountain: some say his mother died and left him an orphan; some believe his mother abandoned him. Still, other stories put forth that the Golden Boy’s own mother raised him but was called Yama-uba because of her haggard appearance. Kintaro is called “Golden Boy” because he wore a bib with the Kanji (symbol) for “gold” on his bib.
Q: What did the Golden Boy’s caretaker Yama-uba the mountain hag look like?