Jiraiya (自来也 or 児雷也?, literally "Young Thunder"), originally known as Ogata Shuma Hiroyuki, is the title character of the Japanese folk tale Jiraiya Gōketsu Monogatari (児雷也豪傑物語?, "The Tale of the Gallant Jiraiya"). The tale was adapted into a 19th century serial novel, a kabuki drama, several films, video games and a manga, and has also served as a source of influence for various other works.
In the legend, Jiraiya is a ninja who uses shapeshifting magic to morph into a gigantic toad. As the heir of a powerful clan in Kyūshū of the same name, Jiraiya fell in love with Tsunade (綱手), a beautiful young maiden who has mastered slug magic. His arch-enemy was his one-time follower Yashagorō (夜叉五郎), later known as Orochimaru (大蛇丸), a master of serpent magic (the kanji 大蛇 literally mean "giant snake" or "serpent"). It was first recorded in 1806.
19th century adaptations
- A novel version of the story was written by different authors and published in 43 installments from 1839 to 1868; one of its illustrators was woodblock artist Kunisada.
- Kawatake Mokuami wrote a kabuki drama based on the first ten parts of the novel, which premiered in Edo in 1852, starring Ichikawa Danjūrō VIII in the leading role.
In popular culture
- Jiraiya (also known as Ikazuchi-Maru) is the protagonist in the 1966 tokusatsu movie Kairyū Daikessen (known in English as The Magic Serpent). He and his nemesis Orochimaru transform into two daikaiju, a toad and dragon, respectively, and have a duel to the death. Tsunade is his love interest.
- There are also films Jiraiya (1914), Nidaime Jiraiya (1917), Jiraiya Gōketsu Tan (1918), Gōketsu Jiraiya (Jiraiya the Hero, 1921), Jiraiya (also known as Ninjutsu Sanyō Den, 1937), Hibari Torimonochō: Jiraiya Koban (1958), and Kunoichi Ninpō Chō: Jiraiya Hishō (1995).
- In the first game of Hudson Soft's Tengai Makyō series (known in the West as Far East of Eden), Tengai Makyō: Ziria (1989), Jiraiya ("Ziria") is a ninja from the Fire Clan who fights with a kodachi sword and has a pet frog which grows several times its size when he summons it in combat. Tsunade is a ninja girl from the Roots Clan (the arch-enemies of the Fire Clan) who uses snails and a huge axe in her attacks and is in love with Orochimaru, a wandering warrior and poet who wields a naginata and snake magic. In 2006, the game was remade as Tengai Makyou Ziria: Haruka naru Jipang. Its characters also all returned in the 1995 spin-off fighting game Far East of Eden: Kabuki Klash.
- Jiraiya Kenzan, an unreleased video game by Capcom.
- Shōnen Jiraiya, a manga by Shigeru Sugiura.
Other appearances and influence
- An Australian horror and fantasy author Shane Jiraiya Cummings is named after Jiraiya.
- In the tokusatsu superhero series Sekai Ninja Sen Jiraiya, the protagonists’s hero identity is named after Jiraiya.
- In Naruto, a popular manga and anime television series, Jiraiya appears in the series as a ninja with the ability to summon giant toads. Along with the series' versions of Tsunade and Orochimaru, he is part of a trio of legendary ninja known as the Densetsu no Sannin ("Legendary Three Ninja"). One of the anime's episodes is titled "The Tale of Jiraiya the Gallant."
- In the video game Muramasa: The Demon Blade, the DLC story "A Spirited Seven Nights' Haunting" uses elements from Jiraiya's story in terms of snake, toad, and slug magic. In the story's second ending, a teenage Jiraiya and Tsunade confront the game's version of Orochimaru.
- In the manga and anime series Gin Tama, Jiraia is the strongest ninja of the Oniwanbanshu.
- One of the five characters in the Super Sentai series Ninja Sentai Kakuranger is descended from the title character Jiraiya the Gallant. Fittingly, as each Kakuranger is associated with an animal, Jiraiya uses toad-based mecha.
- Jiraiya Byakko is a character in the manga and anime series Karasu Tengu Kabuto.
- Akimitsu Takagi's detective novel The Tattoo Murder Case uses the character representations in tattoos worn by three of the main characters: Kinue Nomura (Orochimaru, the snake), her brother Tsunetaro (Jiraiya, the frog) and sister Tamae (Tsunade, the slug; translated as Tsunade-hime), all set within a series of murders that takes all three's lives.
- In the video game Persona 4, Yōsuke Hanamura's persona is a cartoony Jiraiya in a disco/furry costume.
- In the Capcom arcade game Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters, the ninja Robot Master ShadowMan will summon and ride a robotic frog when his weakness is exploited.
- A variant on the Jiraiya theme is Okuzaki Akira, a ninja girl from the manga and anime My-HiME. Her 'child' resembles a giant semi mechanical/biological toad.
- The video game series Senran Kagura, about modern-day ninja girl schools, feature a toad as the symbol of the main heroine Asuka. The snake is the symbol of her antagonists.
- The video games Pokémon X and Y feature the Pokémon Greninja, a frog-like Pokémon with an obviously ninja-influenced design and name. This may have been inspired by the legend of Jiraiya.
- In the video game Final Fantasy XI, players can unlock a visual emote for their character(s) through a quest which requires the in-game job Ninja at level 30. With it unlocked (and accessed by typing /jobemote nin), the player's character, regardless of current job, abruptly makes a gigantic toad appear below them as they stand on top of it, with each in-game race making a specific pose during the emote's duration.
- The ninja girl Benikagen the video game series Rumble Roses also uses toad magic.
- Japanese lucha libre wrestler Shinichiro Yoshida uses Jiraiya as his stage name.
- "The Tale of Jiraiya the Gallant". Way Of Ninja. 2008-09-03. Retrieved 2013-09-18.
- "The Gallant Jiraiya". Web.archive.org. 2001-07-13. Retrieved 2013-09-18.
- "The Magical Ninjya: Jiraiya Kenzan PS2 - Cancelled". Unseen 64. Retrieved 2013-09-18.