The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter and Kaguya Hime: A Japanese Folklore

The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, also known as Taketori Monogatari, is a Japanese folk tale that references the Mount Fuji. This tale of approximately 1592 is also known as "The Tale of Princess Kaguya".

One day, in a bamboo forest, there was an old bamboo cutter named Taketori no Okina. That day, he came across a mysterious, glowing bamboo stalk. After opening it, he miraculously found a child the size of his thumb. He was glad to find such a beautiful girl and took her home.

He and his wife raised her as their own child and named her Kaguya-hime. After that, Taketori no Okina had a great discovery. Whenever he cut a stalk of bamboo, inside would be a small nugget of gold. And as might be expected, he soon became rich.

Taketori monogatari - the bamboo cutter and kaguya hime

Kaguya-hime has grown from a tiny baby to a woman of average size and extraordinary beauty. At first, Taketori no Okina tried to keep her away from outsiders. However, as time passed, word of her beauty spread.

Taketori monogatari – the truth about Kaguya-hime

Finally, five princes came to Taketori no Okina's residence to ask for Kaguya-hime's hand in marriage. The princes eventually persuaded Taketori no Okina to tell a reluctant Kaguya-hime to choose one of them.

Kaguya-hime devised impossible tasks for the princes, agreeing to marry the one who managed to bring her specified item. However, none of the princes got item, and none got Kaguya-hime's hand.

Taketori monogatari - the bamboo cutter and kaguya hime

After what happened with the princes, the Emperor of Japan, Mikado, came to see the beautiful Kaguya-hime. And like the others, when he fell in love, he asked her to marry him. But Kaguya-hime also rejected her marriage proposal.

That summer, whenever Kaguya-hime saw the full moon, her eyes filled with tears. Although her adoptive parents worried a lot and questioned her, she was unable to tell them what was wrong. His behavior became increasingly erratic.

Finally, she revealed that she was not of this world and should return to her people on the moon.

Taketori monogatari - Kaguya-hime goes back to the moon

As the day of his return approached, the emperor sent many guards. They were supposed to guard and protect Kaguya-hime's house from the people of the moon. However, when an embassy of "heavenly beings" arrived at the door of Taketori no Okina's house, the guards were blinded.

Taketori monogatari - the bamboo cutter and kaguya hime

Kaguya-hime announced that although she loves many friends on Earth, she must return with the people of the Moon. She wrote sad notes of apology to her parents and the Emperor. Then he gave his parents his own cloak as a souvenir.

She then took some of the elixir of life, attached it to her letter to the emperor, and gave it to an officer of the guard. When she handed it to him, her feathered cloak was draped over her shoulders. Thus, all of Kaguya-hime's sadness and compassion for the people of Earth were apparently forgotten.

The celestial entourage took Kaguya-hime back to Tsuki no Miyako ("the Capital of the Moon"). Thus leaving his earthly foster parents in tears.

The parents were very sad and soon went to bed sick. The officer returned to the Emperor with the items Kaguya-hime had given him. Furthermore he related what had happened. The emperor read his letter and was overcome with sadness.

Taketori monogatari - the bamboo cutter and kaguya hime

He asked his servants, "Which mountain is the closest place to Heaven?" To which the Great Mountain of Suruga Province responded. The emperor ordered his men to take the letter to the top of the mountain and burn it there. All in the hope that his message would reach the distant princess.

Men were also ordered to burn the elixir of immortality. After all, the emperor didn't want to live forever without being able to see her.

The anime and manga Houseki no Kuni ➡️ Land of the Lustrous

Zetman ➡️ Zetman

Hanayamata ➡️ Hanayamata very reminiscent of the story of Kaguya and the Bamboo Cutter. In the story moon entities want to capture the gemstones. Both stories are related to Buddhism. 
Taketori monogatari - the bamboo cutter and kaguya hime

The story is too big

Legend has it that the word immortality, 不死 (fushi), became the name of the mountain, Mount Fuji. It is also said that the kanji for the mountain, 富士山 (literally "Mountain Abundant with Warriors"), is derived from the Emperor's army climbing the slopes of the mountain to carry out his order.

It is said that smoke from the fire still rises to this day, which is somewhat true. In the past, Mount Fuji was much more volcanically active and therefore produced more smoke.

Taketori monogatari - the bamboo cutter and kaguya hime

But what do you think about this story? If you have more information, questions, suggestions, just leave your comment. Remembering that this story has several versions with some different details. So you can leave some information about other versions as well.

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