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Shuma Hiroyuki, later known as Jiraiya, using a heavy gun to defeat a huge snake that preyed on his toads.

Jiraiya (自来也 or 児雷也, literally "Young Thunder"[1]), originally known as Ogata Shuma Hiroyuki, is the toad-riding character of the Japanese folklore 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 influenced various other works.

Classic tale[edit]

In the legend, Jiraiya is a ninja who uses shapeshifting magic to morph into a gigantic toad. As the heir of the mighty Ogata clan in Kyūshū, 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 means "giant snake" or "serpent"). It was first recorded in 1806.[citation needed]

19th century adaptations[edit]

Jiraiya riding a giant toad, depicted in an 1866 print by Yoshitoshi
  • 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.[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]

In popular culture[edit]

  • 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.[3]
  • Shōnen Jiraiya, a manga by Shigeru Sugiura.
  • 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").
  • In the manga and anime series Gin Tama, Jiraia is the strongest ninja of the Oniwanbanshu.
  • Jiraiya Byakko is a character in the manga and anime series Karasu Tengu Kabuto.
  • In Persona 4, Yosuke Hanamura wields a persona named 'Jiraya,' which takes the form of an anthropomorphic frog that controls wind and is dressed as a ninja.
  • The titular character from the tokusatsu television series Sekai Ninja Sen Jiraiya is loosely based on the legend, and his suit vaguely resembles a toad.
  • In the tokusatsu television series Ninja Sentai Kakuranger, Ninja Black is named "Jiraiya" and pilots a toad-themed mecha.
  • In Pokémon X and Y, the frog-like ninja Pokémon Greninja may have been inspired by this legend.
  • In Nioh, famous ninja Hattori Hanzō's father is a yōkai in the form of a giant frog.
  • In Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood, the Ninja job gains a new ability where they appear on top of a giant toad that shoots out a fire attack.
  • In Takashi Miike's film Yakuza Apocalypse, a villain taking the form of a man in a frog suit transforms to become giant.
  • In ARMS, a playable character, Ninjara, comes from a ninja college which is represented with frog statues.
  • In The Legend of Zelda. Breath of the Wild, both the Sheikah clan and the Yiga clan, both inspired in the figure of ninjas, use frogs as representative figures and guardians in their village and lairs.

See also[edit]


  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. Archived from the original on July 13, 2001. Retrieved 2013-09-18.
  3. ^ "The Magical Ninjya: Jiraiya Kenzan PS2 - Cancelled". Unseen 64. Retrieved 2013-09-18.

External links[edit]