Taro the Dragon Boy (1979) - full transcript

A young boy has to make a voyage to a distant lake to save his mother, who has been turned into a dragon.

Special Literary Recognition Selection

1979 International
Children's Memorial Production

This is a story from long ago.

A story before electricity and the
television, and before irrigation.

A story from lonnnnnnnng ago in Japan.

The overly mountainous landscape
made farming rice impossible.

Millet and beans were all the
people could grow and eat.

While sowing their seeds, the
people would cry out to the gods...

"May one seed produce one thousand seeds.
May two seeds produce ten thousand seeds".

May one seed produce one thousand seeds.
May two seeds produce ten thousand seeds.


Tatsunoko Taro!

Come play with us!

- Hurry and wake up! - Taro, come
play with us. - Wake up, Taro!

Taro, dear. I say, Taro!



That sleepy head won't come out.
He's lazy.

He's VERY lazy.

All he does is sleep.

- His grandmother will probably
come out before him. - There she is!

Poor old woman. if Taro doesn't start
to help her out, she'll never make it.

How sad, how sad!
He's a glutton and a sloth!

Perhaps he should be called "Taro the Glutton".
He won't obey the other villagers either.

Dragon boy, dragon boy,
boy of the Beasts!

Dragon boy, dragon boy,
boy of the Beasts!

- Glutton boy Taro! - Lazy
boy, Taro! - Glutton boy, Taro!

- Sloppy pig, Taro! - Glutton
boy, Taro! Lazy boy, Taro!

Glutton boy, Taro! Lazy boy, Taro!
Glutton boy, Taro! Lazy boy, Taro!

Shut up, you!

Good morning!

Good morning!

Winds of the East, blow strong.

Winds of the West, also blow strong.

Take all the rains with you.

I am, I am the dragon child, Tatsunoko Taro

Taro the Dragon Boy
I am, I am the dragon child, Tatsunoko Taro

Taro the Dragon Boy

Taro the Dragon Boy
The land is calling me. Den dera den dera den

The land is calling me. Den dera den dera den

Massive dreams come my way

Dragon child, dragon child, magical child.

Journey through the lands.

Winds of the South, blow strong.

Winds of the North, also blow strong.

Blow blow your flutes with you.

I am, I am the dragon child, Tatsunoko Taro

The clouds are dancing. Den dera den dera den

Endless journies around.

Dragon child, dragon child, magical child.

Soar far above the sky

Taro-san, thank you.

Huh? There come the boars.

You share this with your mother, okay?

Huh? What's that ribbon in the sky?

I wonder where it's headed?

Probably the next mountain over.
I think.

Fine. Let's all go see.

Hey you all,
what are you doing?

Sumo wrestling. Tengu-sama
loves Sumo wrestling.

What you're doing
is NOT Sumo. It's just sparring.

Watch. This is how it's done.

Yoisho! Yoisho!

Well. Any one of you
can try your hand at it.

I'll give it a try.


Konta, good luck!

Here they go.

Yoisho! Who's next?

Fiiiline. I'm next.


Go, Taro! Go, Taro!

Big Bear, hang in there!
Big Bear, hang in there!


Hey, you boy over there. You're
not so bad. What are you called?

Tatsunoko Taro!

Dragon, eh? That sounds amusing.
Fine. I will wrestle with you. Come!



Myyyy, you're fairly strong,
fairly strong.


What are these? Scales?

Tatsunoko Taro, I think I like you.

I will grant you with the strength of
one hundred men. Come, drink this.

He's drinking it!

Come, animals,
try to push him over!

Finnne. Let's go!

That was a vallant effort. Well, Tatsunoko Taro!
Now you have the strength of one hundred men!

Tengu-sama, thank you!

That was nothing.

Listen, Dragon Boy, that strength of one
hundred men can only be used to help others.

You should find those
in need and help them.

Help others?


If you try to help your self,
the strength of one hundred will not surface.

Use your own strength for your
own needs. Do you understand?

Here I go!

I'm so hungry. Grandma, I'm hungry.

Why do you speak such nonsense. This
is the middle of the night. You must sleep.

Grandma, starting tomorrow, would
you make twice as many dumplings?

You say you need more food?

Not for me, I made more friends.
in the mountain next to us.

I wish that you would play a lot
less and help out this village more.

You could help with
the millet crop.

Help the village?

Or you could at least
collect some fruit.

Oh my. So you really are a magical child!

Where are you from? You don't
look like you're from my village.

So you live in the next mountain
over. What's your name?

My name is Aya. And yours?

I am Tatsunoko Taro.

A Dragon Child?

Is it strange?

It's a fine name.
It sounds vallant.

I see. Your flute
is very pretty.

Piay some more for me.

Very well.



That's strange.
The animals are not coming to me.

What's happened?

Oh my, oh my!

Hey, you! Can you not hear the
drum of the mighty Red Oni?!

Why you!

So you're the flutist girl who has
been steallng away my animals, eh?

Help me!

Here I come!

What is this little runt??

Huh? That's odd.
That's not supposed to happen.

Oh? Oh? Oh no- no- no- no!

Someone help meeee.

It's the Red Oni!

Damn, I shall remember this!
What are these?!

Tatsunoko Taro, thank you.
You are very strong.

Whenever you're in trouble,
I'll help you.

- Well, I must go now. - Sure.

Come back here tomorrow and
let me hear your flute some more.

Very well. I will.

It's a promise.

Good bye.

It sounds like you've
gotten TOO strong.

But I only get strong when
I want to help others.

You just get carried
away sometimes.

What was my mother like?

Was she pretty?

I've been meaning to tell you this for some
time. But your mother might still be alive.

Really?? Where is she??

Patience. I will tell you.

This happened just
before you were born.

Your father had just died, so your mother left
for the mountains to help work with the men.

You were still inside
of her back then.

One day,
there was a big storm.

And your mother did not return.

Tatsuyo is gone!
Tatsuyo is missing!


Just after your mother disappeared,
a pond took her place.


Your mother had turned
into a dragon.

what happened to your baby?


what happened to my baby?
Can I still give birth to him?

Three moons later,
a baby floated down the river.

That was you, Taro.

You were licking a beautiful ball.
That was your "breast miik".

But how did Mother
turn into a dragon?

That I don't know.
The dragon said nothing to me.

This comb here was also with you.

It belonged to your mother.

You licked the ball and
grew bigger and bigger.

But when the ball was gone, you wouldn't
eat anything and you cried all day.

I had no idea what to do.

Tatsuyo, I beg of you!
Won't you show your self to me?

Tatsu. So that ball
was your eyeball?

He's smiling.


Since I became blind, I am no
longer able to live in this pond.

I will travel to a lake up north.

But what about your son?
What should I do?

I will pray for him,
so he will be fine.

Good bye. Mother.

My son. Farewell.


When my son gets older,
please send him to see me.

I won't die. And I will
be waiting for him.

I won't die. And I will
be waiting for him.

Fine. I will go search
for Mother now.

You fool! You are
still just a child!

I will go. My Mother
is waiting for me!

Taro! At least wait until morning.

Mother! I'm going to find you!

Don't worry, Grandma.
I promise I'll bring Mother home safe.

Be careful out there.

Taro-san! B- b- bad news! Aya-san
has been kidnapped by Red Oni!

Are you serious??

Hey, Red Oni! Showyour self!

Oh? The runt has come to visit?

I'm not a runt!
Release Aya at once!

You can talk big all you want,
but Aya is no longer here.

You lie!

I do not lie. Before she got a chance to
play her flute, Black Oni took her away.

Are you serious?...
And where is this Black Oni??

In Black iron Mountain over that way.

Ah yes, I'vejust made some rice dumplings.
Let's eat them together while I tell you more.

Rice dumplings?

Correct. I'm sure that's
something you've never eaten before.

Bang on that drum and wait for me.

Fine. Go!

As iong as that runt is beating that
drum, he cannot see what I am up to.

But my, what a bad
musician he is.

Why is it in such poor
condition at a time like this?!

Taro-san, bad news! Red
Oni plots to kill and eat you!

But wasn't he going to
feed me rice dumplings?

Not everyone who offers you
a rice dumpling is sincere!

Come, Taro-san, let us escape! Taro-san.

That damn Red Oni.
He tried to trick me.

Fine, this time for
sure I'll get him.

Well, I brought you
some delicious dumplings.

Take that!

Watch out!

What are you doing?

Oh no! Oh no-no-no-no!
My cleaver!

It's gone. Damn you!

I'll throw you to oblivion!!

Please, I'm sick of being thrown.
Have mercy.

Then will you show me to
Black Oni's lair?

Anything but that!
Black Oni is frightening.

In that case, I'll throw you
AND your drum to oblivion!

I will do it! I will do it!
Even I do not care to be a slave to Black Oni.



Fine, fine.

Okay I'm going.

This place is getting
more and more gloomy.

Aya! Aya!

You dare try to
escape from me??

I smell a beast and a human.

Who is hiding back there?
Show your self!

It is i! Tatsunoko Taro!

I was worried for a bit, but
I see you are a mere runt!

Good evening, My Lord.

What is the matter with you??

I don't remember telling you to bring
me a filthy boy or a tasteless boar.

I want a young GIRL.
Where is she?

I will bring her right away.

You make me angry, Black
Oni. I challenge you to a duel!

You foolish little runt.
Can you compare to me?


What do you think?
That is my 806th swing.

Do you surrender now,
little runt?


Why you!

Hey, stop it, stop it.
That tickles!

Time for stomach stomps!
How's that?

You rotten kid.
You will die for this!

Why you.

Come to me.

Watch out!

Why you!

You foolish Red Oni.
You dare defy me??

Hey, stop. That tickles...
That tickles!

We did it!

Oh my.?

He put on a loin cloth.

Huh? I wonder what that is?

That is the procession that carries a young girl to Black
Oni as an offering. I cannot tolerate this any longer.

Red Oni, what's the matter?

Black Oni forced me to harass the people
of the village at the foot of his mountain.

The girl they are bringing is one of the girls I chose.
Now they will seek revenge on me! What shall I do?

Very well, I will throw you into the
black clouds over this mountain.

You can become a servant
of the Thunder God.

I like that! Please do it.
Throw me.




So this is the top of a cloud,
eh? What a comfortable place.

Now I can bang on my drum as often
as I like! Tatsunoko Taro, I thank you!


You are very lucky, my dear.

That boy, Tatsunoko Taro,
and that girl rescued you.

I am truly, truly
grateful to you!

Hey! There's treasure
in this mountain!


Wheeeee, go!

I broke it!

This way, this way!

This is... all the
rice we had grown!

This is our rice!

This is our rice!

That damn Black Oni!
He hid our rice in here!

This is our rice!

So this is rice?

What a pretty horse.

Black Oni said this pony
can run strong all day.


Let's follow her.

What a pretty lake.

To us peasants,
water is our livelihood.

But Black Oni...

Look, he used that boulder
to block its flow.

This has put us through
such pain and suffering.

What a beautiful
mirror this is...

I see. Aya-san,
take this with you.

I'm pleased.

Fine. I will move that
boulder for you.

Come, men, we must also help him.

That's right. We'll help.

Let's help!

I'll help too!

Keep going.

Just a bit more.

What a large flat land.

The water is coming!

Everyone will be overjoyed!

- We owe this all to Tatsunoko Taro!
- Yes, we do!

This place has so much more
open space than my village

Doten dotenran dontokoton!

Tatsunoko Taro did. yes! Yes, he did!

He threw away that black Oni.

And once again, we can grow delicious rice

And we owe all our thanks to him.

So this is a rice sprout?

These are rice seedlings.
They are still small now,

but in order to grow tall,
they need to drink lots of water.

Without water, they would
shrivel and die.

Doten doteran dontokoton!

Tatsunoko Taro did. yes! Yes, he did!

He threw away that black Oni.

You both must be tired. We bring you a feast.

Here it is. This is cooked rice.

Please, enjoy yourselves.

Thank you!

Thank you.

Water! Someone bring some water!

Are you okay?
Can you breathe? Are you okay?

Here, drink this.

We have plenty of rice.
Eat as much as you like.

Here. This is rice.

What's the matter?

What alls you, Taro-san?
Does your stomach hurt?

Taro, what's the matter?
Did you eat too much?

No, no.

It's just...

I've never eaten anything
this delicious.

I want to feed some of this to my
Grandma and the people in my village.

My village can only farm millet,
no matter how hard we work.

I feel sorry for everyone,
but it can't be helped.

I see. So that's what
makes you sad.

Taro-san, you are a
gentle hearted child.

Very well. You should bring all the
people of your village over here.

They can all live here.

That's right. With Black Oni gone, we can farm
as much rice as we want. Bring them here.

I appreclate it, but I just left on a quest,

and there is something
I must do right away.

Take care!

Be careful out there, you two!


Well, I will head north from here.

I will come with you.

You mustn't. It's too
dangerous for a girl.

But I want to come, too.

Never mind. Come, get on.

Take care of Grandma for me.


You need to go home, too.


Tatsunoko Taro!

Winds of the South, blow strong.

Winds of the North, also blow strong.

Blow blow your flutes with you.

I am, I am the dragon child, Tatsunoko Taro

The clouds are dancing. Den dera den dera den

i wonder what happened here?

It looks like it should
be prime farming land.

Old lady, I hear there's supposed to be a large
pond with a dragon living in it around here.

Dragon, you say?

Yes. I'm looking for a dragon.

Well, there IS a dragon living in the
pond behind my house. A dragon, I say.

Are you sure?

Yes, I am.

But she doesn't show herself.

Would you come work for me?

Work? What exactly do you mean?

I keep a farm.

I had 100 employees,
but they all left me.

Now no one will man my fields. If
things keep up, all my crops will rot.

- Old lady, do you live alone?
- Of course

Why did your employees leave?

They said a strange sickness came
from the pond with the dragon in it.

A sickness?

That's right.

This dragon seems to be a bit bashful
and only appears when everyone is gone.

So you should work here
until that happens.

This will be your house.

I expect you to start work
tomorrow, so go to bed early!

What a strange dragon.
But she might be Mother.

Heyyyy, if you're my Mother,
you'll show your self to me soon,

Okay? I'll be here
waiting for you.

You good for nothing lazy bones.

Kaw, kaw, kaw, kaw,

What the? Huh? Old lady.

Take this and get in the field!

What's this?

You don't even know what a scythe
is?? What a crazy boy I've taken in.

You use this to cut grass.
if you don't hurry, the sun will set!

But the sun hasn't even risen yet.

What a big field. I can grow lots of
rice here. Everyone will be so pleased.

Finnnne! Yoisho!

That's the spirit, that's the spirit!
Work! Work!

You idiot!!

You impudent fool!
You wrecked my machine!

You idiot!!

Look. What an amazing boy.

He must be magical.

Hey, would you mind helping me?

Good, here's our chance.

Take it!

Old lady, you have so much rice from last year's
harvest. So why won't you let me eat any of it?

Why should I feed you rice when you
don't even know how to prepare it?

In that case, I quit!

What?? You're quitting?
Wait, Taro! Owwww!

Mother, if I prepare you some
rice, will you come out to see me?

I'll work hard and learn how.

Tatsunoko Taro.
How are you doing?

Taro. Keep going.

Oh, please, oh, please, Mountain Gods,
Water Gods, please give me some rain!

Please give me some rain!
Please give me some rain!!!

Winds from the mountains, blow strong!

Winds from the sea, blow strong!

What seems to be the problem, son?

Red Oni! The plants are drying
out! Please give us some rain!

Fine, I accept! Here we go.

Whee! Go, go, go, go, go!


It's raining! Raining, raining!

The plants are happy!

It's raining! it's raining!

Thank you, Red Oni!

No problem.
Take care, little runt! May we meet again!

You should have told me you
were friends with the Thunder God.

Here, eat these rice balls.

Mother, I made you some rice.
So why won't you show your self?

A snake!

Were you the one who fed me rice?

Are you the dragon the
old lady told me about?

Dragon, you say?

I wouldn't put it past
that greedy old witch.

She keeps all the rice to herself. That old hag
wouldn't feed any of her employees, so they all left.

But she told me everyone ran away because of
a strange sickness that came from this pond.

She only said that because I
refused to let her drink my water.

Dammit, she tricked me. And
here I worked so hard for her.

I thought I would be able to
see my Mother if I did. Dammit!

Thanks, that was delicious. Son,

once you pass the ninth mountain to the
north, you will find a mountain woman.

Ask her about the dragon,
she knows about it.

Are you sure?

If you tell her I sent you, she
will tell you where the dragon is.

Well, take care of your self.

Hey there, old hag!
You really tricked me good!

It wasn't a dragon, but a snake! I'm
leaving now, so give me my pay!!

You're leaving? In that case, I'll have to
pay you. Take as much as you can carry.

- Fine! You said I could take as much as I can carry, right?
- Sure, sure, just leave!

Paying that little runt for a year's work with
just as much as he can carry is dirt cheap!

I'm going to share this with the
workers who were tricked by her!

Taro! You intend to take
ALL the rice with you??

It's MY rice! Give me my rice
back!! Hey! Hey, don't go!

Tatsunoko Taro! I apologize.

Please forgive me!
Please don't go! Don't go, Taro!

It's my rice!

My rice! It was my rice
grown on my land!

What's this?

It's rice on the stalk.

Oh, so this is the stalk
that rice comes from!

I brought some to
share with you all.

It smells good.

This is rice?
It's pure white!

I worked on her farm, but I was sent
away before I got to eat any rice.

This sure is tasty.

It's good.

I'll leave all of this with you,
so you can eat it all.

No. Beyond this village there are so many
others who are in even worse shape than we are.

We can't let them suffer while
we have such wonderful food.

That's right.

Thank you so much!

Nii-chan! Thank you so much!

Why is there nothing but
mountains here?

I had no idea I'd ever
eat something so fancy.

Let's save some of these
seeds and grow our own rice!

I'd like to,
but we have no land.

I wish I were much bigger.
Then I could smash all these mountains down.

You speak as if life
were a fairy taie.

"How can such poor villages become prosperous?" While
thinking of this, Taro arrived at the ninth mountain.

There's a light.

That must be the house of
Mountain Woman.

Good evening, old lady?

And who are you?

The white snake in the
pond told me about you.

Oh, I see.

Come on in.

A man anda woman are bound by fate.

Is it true that there is a lake with
a dragon in it near this land?

It is true. Do you
wish to see a dragon?

I'm on a quest to find my Mother.
She's been turned into a dragon.

I see. But you never know when
the dragon will show herself.

I know. But I can wait until then. So
it's true that there is a dragon nearby?

Of course. I'm not a liar.

What a relief.
I was tricked by the last lady I visited.

She told me a dragon lived in her pond,
but it turned out to be a white snake instead.

I see. That snake also used to be a woman,

but the gods turned her into a snake.

Why did she turn into a snake?

Because she did not obey me.

You sure are a sweet boy.

Don't struggle.

Oh, yes, I'll go make you some
delicious azuki buns. So wait right there.

The lake where the dragon lives
is in the next big mountain over.

But the night paths are dangerous.

Come back! Come back!!

It's cold!

Mother! I'm almost there, Mother!

Where are you going, little one?

It's cold!

What a precious little leg.

It's cold!

What happened to your
strength of a hundred?


Mother. Help me.

Tatsunoko Taro, wake up!

Am I dreaming?

This is no dream. It's me, Aya.

Aya, what are you doing here?

When I concentrate into this mirror, I can see you. I saw snow women
were about to kill you, so I flew here as fast as I could.

- But how?
- Look.

Do you notice the horse got bigger?
She can fly now.

That's amazing.

Come, Taro, let's fly together.

Then we'll find the
dragon's lake together.


Here we go.

There it is!

The dragon might live in there.

I'm sure she does!

Look over there, Aya.
There's the ocean.

You're right.
It's the ocean.

The ocean sure is vast.


Tatsunoko Taro is
here to see you!

Showyour self!!


Mother!! Mother!!
Tatsunoko Taro is here!



Mother! Come out to me!

It's no use. She's not here.
It was all a lie.

I feel so bitter!

Don't cry, Taro. You mustn't give up hope.

What is that sound?

Listen, boys, is there a dragon
living on the bottom of this lake?

Yes, there is.

Are you sure??

Yes, I'm sure. And a very
big dragon, at that.

Please, deliver a message
to that dragon for us.

Tell her Tatsunoko Taro is here.

I'm not sure I want to.
Yes, she might eat us.

Now, don't fret over that, you
two. Fine, I'll deal with it myself.

Listen, the dragon cannot see.

Is that so? Then she must be my mother!

That's it. Take this to her.


- I'm sure she'll know it's me.
- Thank you.

It's a dragon! Run for your lives!

Tatsunoko Taro.

Tatsunoko Taro, where are you?

I'm over here, Mother!
Over here!

I'm Tatsunoko Taro, Mother!

So you came to see me.

To such a far off land.
You came to see me.

Taro, I wish I could see your face.

Mother, I will never leave you again.

Thank you. I'm so angry that I have
to face you looking so hideous.

I don't mind!
You're my Mother.

But, Mother, why did you turn
into a dragon? Please tell me.


I do want you to
know the truth.

I, your Mother, was turned into a dragon
because I broke the commandment of the mountain.

Since you were inside of me,
the villagers gave me easy tasks.

My job was to fix everyone's lunch.

Since there was fish in the
river, I caught it and cooked it.

And when it's smell reached my nose, I was
overcome with the desire to eat it all myself.

Pregnant women aiways crave fish.

I wanted the fish to help my baby grow strong.

I intended to eat just one fish, but
before I realized it, I had eaten all three.

And then, my throat felt as
though it were on fire.

No matter how much water I drank, the
heat remained and I felt as though I would die.

The gods had unleashed
their punishment on me.

I should have shared the fish with everyone.

Those who are selfish and do not
share are punished by the gods.

That has been a commandment of
the mountains for a very long time.

But I...

I didn't consider the feelings of
others. And I thought only of myself!

I see. So you were turned into a dragon
because you were pregnant with me.

That's not right, Taro.

I was wrong for breaking the
commandment. I was not patient enough.

But that is a sad commandment.

Sad, you say?

It's because there's simply not enough
food to go around! That's why our village,

that's why that commandment was set!

But we cannot resist it. No
matter how hard we siave,

our flat lands are small and
our crops lack water.

Yes, but I see a nice low
flat land over there.

Ifwe break those boulders and
let this lake flow down there,

I'm sure we can make a very large piece of land for
farming. Then the farmers can all move and work there.

I'd like to give it a try.
Mother, won't you help me?

You, what made you come
up with that idea?

During my quest to find you,

I visited many villages.

I even learned how to grow and harvest rice.
So I want to help people who are having trouble.

Is that so.

You are such a good boy.

I was only able to think of myself.

But you think of others.

Very well.

I will help you.

Come, get on my neck. Then, steer
me by my horns. Be my eyes for me.


Understand? No matter how
frightened you are, you mustn't let go.

Don't worry, Mother.

Straight ahead, Mother.

Winds from the East, blow strong!

Winds from the West, blow strong!

Tatsunoko Taro, what are you up to?

Breaking those boulders! Will you help us?

Very well! I will call my friends!

Go! Go!



Taro, I will warn the villagers
below the lake. it's getting dangerous!

Good. Thanks!

Water is coming! Water is coming!

It's dangerous, so please escape! Water is
coming! Water is coming from the mountains!

- Water?
- Water?

It's a thunderstorm!!

Are you all right, Mother?

With one more shove, it will break.


What's wrong?


Taro, keep a tight hold on my horns.

It's water! Yes! it's water!

We did it, Mother! We did it!
We did it! Banzai!

We did it! We did it!

Mother! Wake up!


Mother is dead!


Mother. Can you see me?




I'm so relieved, Mother!

Taro, thank you!

Because of you.
I changed back into a human!


And so, the larrrrrrge flatland that was
created was shared by allll the villagers.

They grew rice, and were prosperous.