Our Work is Our Play!
Princess Kaguya is as well known in Japan as Cinderella is to America. The story follow the folk tale of the Bamboo Cutter.
An old man was cutting bamboo to sell in the forest when he came upon a small, 4 inch tall girl in a flower. He took her back to his wife and the girl grew to be that of a normal child. The poor family began raising the beautiful girl as their own.
The old man went back to the forest to cut more bamboo, but when he did gold would come pouring out! This kept repeating until the family was rich. Their daughter was a good luck charm.
Soon the girl grew up to be extremely beautiful. So beautiful that she was known all across Japan as “Princess Kaguya” since her beauty rivaled that of the moon. She had noble suitors asking for her hand daily and men travel just for a glimpse of her face. But, Kaguya didn’t want to be married. She wanted to be with her father and mother forever.
So when five noble suitors came asking for her hand, she gave them all impossible dowry gifts that they may never fulfil such as the mythological golden bhuddist bowl, or the jewel from the necklace of a dragon. As predicted they all failed. Even the emperor wanted Princess Kaguya as his bride and wrote letters to her everyday.
Soon thought Princess Kaguya became very distraught. She revealed that she wasn’t of this world and was from the moon! On the full moon of August 15 she was to sent back to the moon never to see Earth again. Princess Kaguya didn’t want to leave her father and mother that she loved so dearly.
Although her father got an army to protect his daughter, they were defenseless against the moon people as they suddenly lost their will to fight the four messengers that came for Princess Kaguya. The messengers gave Kaguya an immortal elixar to drink, since those of the moon lived forever, and a robe made of feathers. Before putting on the robe, because as soon as she did she would forget of her time on Earth, she only downed part of the elixar and wrote a note for the emperor stating that “she wished that she could have married him”. She sent the letter along with the other part of the elixar to the emperor and slipped into the feather cloak, forgetting all that she knew like it was a dream before leaving to the moon.
Her father and mother were so distressed that they became ill and died. The emperor, although touched by her last words to him, also became depressed. He ended up burning the letter and the elixar she gave him on top of the highest mountain, hoping that the smoke would reach his beloved on the moon.
That mountain ended up being Mt. Fuji after the story. When the volcano gives off smoke it is said that the letter and elixar are still burning.
The ending was jank, but I still enjoyed this fairy tale.
Princess Kaguya is very prevelant in the Japanese culture as she appears in many different animes, games, and songs
Princess Kaguya from Inuyasha
Currently Studio Ghibli, a much acclaimed animation company, came out with a movie adaptation of the story that I’m looking forward to.