The Tale of Princess Kaguya

Kaguya Hime no Monogatari
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CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
2016
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28
Japanese
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March 30, 2021 April 1, 2021

The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter is a 10th-century Japanese monogatari (fairy tale).It was also occasionally known as The Tale of Princess Kaguya. It primarily details the life of a mysterious girl called Kaguya-hime, who was discovered as a baby inside the stalk of a glowing bamboo. Life in this sacred space is idyllic, and the young sylph soon earns the nickname Takenoko (Little Bamboo) for the speed with which she grows. But the equally miraculous discovery of gold and rare fabrics convinces Sanuki that this glowing creature deserves better, and he moves her to the capital to seek a husband befitting her imagined regal status.

A succession of suitors ensue, all desperate to earn the hand of the mysterious young woman whose ethereal beauty has become the stuff of legend. But trapped within the gilded cage of a noble home and rigid social etiquette, the now formally named “Princess Kaguya” longs for the lost countryside of her childhood, and the friendship of handsome ragamuffin Sutemaru, which has sparked an eternal flame in her heart. Animation interpretation of Hayao Miyazaki studio Ghibli and his 79-year-old co-founder Isao Takahata keeps the animation studio’s stock high, amid reports of closure, with what has been rumoured to be his own final film. This adaptation of the 10th-century Japanese folk tale Taketori Monogatari (which has previously inspired such cinematic adventures as Kon Ichikawa’s live-action Princess from the Moon) boasts a sketchier, more impressionistic palette than the bold strokes of Spirited Away or Howl’s Moving Castle, which made Ghibli a global brand.

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About the book

The Tale of Princess Kaguya is a mystical tale that, like many similar Japanese writings, seeks to teach the reader the fundamental concepts of living. In this tale the fundamentals thought are kindness and altruism of the bamboo cutter contrasted with the avarice and lust of Kaguya’s suitors.

In fact, one day the cutter finds a tiny girl among the bamboos and takes her home, raising her as a daughter and giving her everything he can. From that day on, he always finds bamboo to cut and makes a fortune. But both the cutter and his wife are getting old and would like to see their daughter married, but she doesn’t want this. Moreover, no one has ever seen her face and many think she is beautiful so much that many men would like to marry her.

When Kaguya realises that she can no longer postpone the marriage, she gives five trials to five suitors and whoever succeeds in completing the trial will be worthy of her hand.

What I think

I love Japanese legends so obviously I liked the story a lot. The book also contained the story of de Amicis: Marco from the Apennines to the Andes which, having already read it (the author is Italian), I have not reread it. And also a third fairy tale that I liked too. It is obviously not a difficult book so you can read it in a short time and spend a few hours reading an easy story.

Style

The language is simple, but in reading it you have that legendary feeling as if the scrolling of the text were something mythological. I don’t know how to explain it well, it’s just so poetic even if it’s simple.

I recommend the book to those who love Japanese legends and stories and maybe then see the anime, thing that I will definitely do.

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