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This article is about the folk ninja featured in Jiraiya Gōketsu Monogatari. For the ninja of the same name featured in Naruto, see Jiraiya (Naruto). For the 1988 television series, see Sekai Ninja Sen Jiraiya. For the cicada genus, see cicada.
Ogata Shuma Hiroyuki later known as Jiraiya, with a heavy gun, overcoming a huge snake which has preyed on his toads
Jiraiya riding a giant toad, depicted in an 1866 print by Yoshitoshi

Jiraiya (自来也 or 児雷也?, literally "Young Thunder"[1]), 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"). He 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 masters 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").

Classic story[edit]

A novel version of the tale was written by different authors and published in 43 installments from 1839 to 1868. Woodblock artist Kunisada was one of the story's illustrators.[2] 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.[2]

Modern adaptations[edit]

  • Jiraiya (also known as Ikazuchi-Maru) is the protagonist in the tokusatsu movie Kairyū Daikessen (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 the Tengai Makyō series, T'engai Makyō: Ziria, 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. These characters all returned in a spin-off fighting game Kabuki Klash.
  • Jiraiya Kenzan, an unreleased video game by Capcom.[3]

Other appearances and influence[edit]

  • 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 episodes in the anime is called "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.
  • 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. In the video game series Rumble Roses the ninja girl Benikage also uses toad magic.


  1. ^ "The Tale of Jiraiya the Gallant". Way Of Ninja. 2008-09-03. Retrieved 2013-09-18. 
  2. ^ a b "The Gallant Jiraiya". Web.archive.org. 2001-07-13. Retrieved 2013-09-18. 
  3. ^ "The Magical Ninjya: Jiraiya Kenzan PS2 - Cancelled". Unseen 64. Retrieved 2013-09-18. 

External links[edit]