Progress Report: Momotarō, the Peach Boy

The first big new project this year is upon my class. Momotarō, or Peach Boy is a Japanese folktale from the late Middle Ages, or Edo period in Japan.  As part of our unit on Japan, we will be recreating this story using Minecraft. I am fortunate enough to have a dedicated Minecraft period at the end of the day. We are learning the design process and have formed our own “build team” with the goal of designing and developing large-scale imaginative builds that we plan to share with friends around the world.

Momotarō is the first of two projects that I will be describing within this blog. We greatly enjoyed working with students in Melvina Kurashige’s class in Hawaii last year and wanted to do it again. Melvina and I came up with this idea to tell this tale and involve our students in creating and translating the world into something we could share globally. It is in the early stages now, but will be completed by Christmas break.

Momotarō tells the story of a boy sent from Heaven to be the son of a childless couple who grows up to fight devilish demons with the help of three loyal companions: a dog, a monkey, and a bird. Numerous versions of this story exist so we will be writing our own version of the tale, recording it in Japanese, and recreating key scenes in large scale format in Minecraft. Each of the 10-12 scenes will be built inside a giant shoebox. Visitors to the world will be able to fly through the story, read it in English, and listen to it in Japanese as they float through each giant shoebox.

I’ve included a few photos of our characters as we refine their features and scale them to fit in each scene. Visit this link for an idea of how we intend to visualize the story. Look for the completed world on this site early in 2017.

Oni, version 1.0. Demons like these will need to be dealt with wisely.

Oni, version 1.0. Demons like these will need to be dealt with wisely.

Iterations of the "Boss" Oni created by Angel.

Iterations of the “Boss” Oni created by Angel.

The fearless Momotarō takes shape.

The fearless Momotarō takes shape.

Every good story has a talking dog in it.

Every good story has a talking dog in it.

Momotarō's feathered friend is almost ready to take flight.

Momotarō’s feathered friend is almost ready to take flight.

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