Yama Uba and Kintaro
 

Yama Uba and Kintaro


Yama-uba is a mountain spirit (yokai) who has the appearance of a disheveled hag and lures travelers to their doom as her prey. However, as with other things in nature, she is marked by ambiguity, demonstrating a softer, maternal side on occasion. This is exemplified in her dealings with Kintaro, an orphan boy lost in Mount Ashigara, who was found and raised by Yama-uba. Kintaro, often translated as “golden boy” was a child of supernatural powers of whom there are many legends. He played and wrestled with wild animals and defeated monsters and demons. As an adult, Kintaro is said to have changed his name to Sakata no Kintoki and become one of the hero warriors of 10th c. samurai, Minamoto Yorimitsu.