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The story...

Princess Kaguya is a Japanese folktale also known as "The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter's Daughter". Studio Ghibli also made a film of this tale.


One day, a poor old childless bamboo cutter is working in the fields when he finds a tiny baby girl, no bigger than a sakura blossom, asleep inside the bamboo. He carries her home in his hands to his wife and, in their little village on the hillside, they nurture and care for the little girl as she grows into a normal size child. She makes friends with the other children in the village and spends her days exploring the hillside and the forests around the village.


As time passes the bamboo cutter believes that his little girl deserves a much finer lifestyle than the one he is currently providing. One day whilst he is working he finds a nugget of gold in the bamboo he is chopping down. Every day the bamboo cutter goes back to the grove and each time he cuts he finds treasures; gold and silks, inside the bamboo. The poor old man becomes rich and believes the little girl has been sent by Buddha to bless him and his wife. He uses the gold to build the little girl the most decadent palace in the city of the Emperor and the silks to create a stunning kimono collection fit for a princess.


Soon, he takes his wife and the little girl to the palace and starts educating his daughter in how to be a proper lady in high society. He employs the strictest teachers to mould her, all the while not realising how sad the little girl is having left the hillside, her friends, and the little village she loved. The girl is so devoted to her father that she endures the teaching and the silks and the riches to please him.


As she ages she becomes the most beautiful woman in the whole of Japan and suitors from far and wide come to the palace to woo the girl who has been named 'Kaguya-hime' (Princess Kaguya) for the light that shines from her. The old man restricts Kaguya to never leave the walls of the house so her beauty will not been seen by unworthy people. Her only interaction with the outside world soon is restricted to a little garden outside the window to her rooms. To postpone the idea of marriage Kaguya sets impossible tasks for each suitor to prove their worth and, predictably, each fails, one after the other. Soon word reaches the Emperor of Kaguya’s beauty and, upon travelling to Kaguya’s home, he finds her alone in the palace. The Emperor makes advances on Kaguya who flees in horror crying out for help.


Later that night she approaches her parents and tells them that when she begged for help the Moon revealed to her that she is a child of the Moon. Kaguya broke the Moon’s laws to be exiled to Earth and now she will be reclaimed at the next full moon


"Kaguya-hime no Monotagari"


The guards are called and the Emperor vows to protect her, erecting a huge fence up around the palace and posting guards all around. Kaguya dreams of the hillside she once lived on and the wide open spaces she grew up in as the day of her departure draws closer.


At the next full moon the celestial procession moves towards the palace on their cloud they freeze time to all who attempt to stop them. The cloud carrying the procession grows larger and larger as it reaches the palace. Kaguya's parents try in vain to stop and plea with the attendants to let her stay on Earth but it is no good. She is carried onto the cloud and offered a robe to erase her memories of Earth. The robe is draped around her as she protests that the Earth is a wondrous place and she does not wish to leave. As her memories fade she looks back one last time, with a tear in her eye, at her Earth parents who sob, as she disappears from sight.

Kaguya 12070989_896676180369227_502334580_n Tsukiko

Tales of Kaguya is a traditional story in Japan about a moon child fallen to Earth. It's a story of love, greed, passion, betrayal and overprotection of that which we covet. The theme of this story has influenced my work since about 2016 but the three images below are the most relevant to the story. I have also written a story synopsis in my own words.