Supernatural Food

21 Oct

In the myth of Momotaro, the millet dumplings (kibidango) that Momotaro carry with him during his journey to defeat the ogres are an example of a mythical food. This mythical food helps him on his journey to Oni island, as it gives him confidence and power to defeat the ogres of Oni island. It also allows him to gain the allegiance of a dog, a monkey, and a pheasant, who become his followers after they each eat half of a millet dumpling. These millet dumplings can also be seen as a sort of propagandistic food, subtly suggesting the superiority of Japan. Momotaro and the millet dumplings represent Japan, and the dog, the monkey, and the pheasant are less developed and less civilized creatures than humans. Since Momotaro successfully gains the allegiance of these less civilized animals, the story suggests that Japan is a superior nation and would win over the less civilized nations. Japan’s nationalism is conveyed through these millet dumplings.

There are many types of mythical foods like the millet dumplings that have been popularized due to a popular myth. For example, pumpkins have become very popular in America because of several myths. Most of the folklore concerning pumpkins has to do with pumpkins and the supernatural, such as witches turning people into pumpkins. Carving pumpkins into Jack-O-Lanterns during Halloween has also become an important tradition for warding off demons, rooting from an old tale about Jack and the devil. There are several different versions of the legend of the Jack-O’-Lantern, but all have to do with Jack trying to trick the Devil. The Pumpkin is the subject of a vast amount of folklore and is Halloween’s representative food item, used to make several dishes such as pumpkin pie.

 

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