Princess Kaguya, also known as "The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter," is a classic Japanese folktale that dates back to the 10th century:
The story revolves around a humble bamboo cutter named Taketori no Okina who discovers a tiny, ethereal baby girl inside a glowing bamboo stalk. He and his wife decide to raise her as their own, and she quickly grows into a beautiful and extraordinary young woman.
As the girl, who is named Kaguya-hime (Princess Kaguya), grows older, her beauty and grace attract numerous suitors from noble families. However, Kaguya rejects all their advances, claiming that she must return to her true celestial home. She befriends five noble suitors and gives each of them a seemingly impossible task, promising to marry the one who completes his challenge.
Despite their best efforts, the suitors fail to fulfill Kaguya's requests. Eventually, it is revealed that Kaguya is indeed a celestial being, sent to Earth as a test for humanity. She must return to the Moon, leaving her earthly family and friends behind. Kaguya's departure is heartbreaking for her adoptive parents and suitors, who are left in despair.
"The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter" is a poignant and allegorical tale that explores themes of love, loss, and the ephemeral nature of life. It delves into the human desire for immortality and the inevitable cycle of birth and death. Princess Kaguya's story has been adapted into various forms of art and literature, including films, manga, and stage productions, solidifying its status as one of Japan's most cherished folktales.