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The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

A bamboo cutter named Sanuki no Miyatsuko discovers a miniature girl inside a glowing bamboo shoot. Believing her to be a divine presence, he and his wife decide to raise her as their own, calling her “Princess”. The girl grows rapidly and conspicuously, causing her parents to marvel and earning her the nickname “Takenoko” (Little Bamboo) from the other village children. Sutemaru, the oldest among Kaguya’s friends, develops a close relationship with her.

Miyatsuko comes upon gold and fine cloth in the bamboo grove in the same way he found his daughter. He takes these as proof of her divine royalty and begins planning to make her a proper princess. He relocates the family to the capital, forcing her to leave her friends behind. She finds herself in a mansion, replete with servants. She is also saddled with a governess who is tasked with taming her into a noblewoman. She struggles with the restraints of nobility, arguing that life should be full of laughter and struggle.

When the girl comes of age, she is granted the formal name of “Princess Kaguya” for the light and life that radiates from her. Miyatsuko holds a celebration in commemoration of her naming. At the celebration, Kaguya overhears partygoers ridiculing her father’s attempts to turn a peasant girl into a noble through money. Kaguya flees the capital in despair and runs back to the mountains, seeking Sutemaru and her other friends, but discovers that they have all moved away. Kaguya passes out in the snow and awakens back at the party.

Kaguya grows in beauty, attracting scores of suitors. Five men of noble standing court her, comparing her to mythical treasures. Kaguya tells them she will only marry whoever can bring her the mythical treasure mentioned. Two suitors attempt to persuade her with counterfeits. The third abandons his conquest out of cowardice, and the fourth attempts to woo her with flattering lies. When one of the men is killed in his quest, Kaguya falls into depression. Eventually, the Emperor takes notice of her. Taken with her beauty, he makes advances toward her, revolting her. Kaguya then demonstrates the ability to disappear at will, surprising the Emperor. Understanding that he has been too forward, the Emperor takes his leave.

Kaguya reveals to her parents that she originally came from the Moon after it spoke to her. Once a resident of the Moon, she broke its laws, hoping to be exiled to Earth so that she could experience mortal life. When the Emperor made his advances, she silently begged the Moon to help her. Having heard her prayer, the Moon will reclaim her during the next full moon. Kaguya confesses her attachment to Earth and her reluctance to leave.

Miyatsuko swears to protect Kaguya and begins assembling defensive forces. Kaguya returns to her hometown in the mountains once more. She finds Sutemaru and tells him she would have been happiest with him; Sutemaru vows to protect her. The two run around the grass field and Kaguya demonstrates the ability to fly. However, she loses it when they fly by the Moon, and the two drop into the water. Sutemaru wakes up on the grass field, thinking it was a dream, while Kaguya is seen in a carriage going back to the palace.

On the night of the full moon, a procession of celestial beings led by the Buddha descends from the Moon, and Miyatsuko is unable to stop it. An attendant offers Kaguya a robe that will erase her memories of Earth. Kaguya begs the attendant to grant her a last moment with her parents.

The attendant assures her that upon returning to the Moon, she will be free of Earth’s impurities. Kaguya rebuffs her, saying that Earth is full of wonder and life. The attendant then drapes the robe around Kaguya, and she appears to forget about her life on Earth. The procession ascends to the Moon, leaving Miyatsuko and his wife distraught. Kaguya looks back one last time, and tears run down her eyes as she recognizes the love from her parents. The film ends with an overlay of baby Kaguya over the moon, hinting the possibility of her memory remaining with her.

The characters

Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 11.23.49 PM Princess Kaguya
The mysterious young princess enthralls all who encounter her – but, ultimately, she must confront her fate, the punishment for her crime.
Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 11.27.09 PM Bamboo Cutter
He was very poor and sad also, for no child had Heaven sent to cheer his old age, and in his heart there was no hope of rest from work till he died and was laid in the quiet grave.
Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 11.32.54 PM The Wife
Bamboo Cutter’s Wife.
Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 11.34.44 PM Sutemaru
is the Deuteragonist. He is a friend of Kaguya. When they meet she is only a toddler, but by the the autumn she looks almost as old as him.
Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 11.36.24 PM Sagami
he is lady of the Emperor’s Palace and serves as a coah in etiquette for Kaguya. Sagamiresembles a very traditional Heian lady.
Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 11.37.57 PM Menowarawa
a character in The Tale of the Princess Kaguya,
Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 11.39.53 PM Inbe no Akita
He organize ceremonies and he gives people a name. The last mentioned task is important for people to become noble.
Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 11.40.04 PM Prince Ishitsukuri
a prince. He is portrayed as a glamor boy. He is first seen on a royal ceremony in Heian-kyō. On the ceremony Inbe no Akita describe Kaguya‘s beauty.
Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 11.40.10 PM Prince Kuramochi
a prince. He describes her beauty as Buddha’s unique shell.
Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 11.40.18 PM Otomo
One of many male frog workers in the bathhouse. He’s a bit of a suck up and a taddle-tale.

Production Credits

Directed by Isao Takahata[1]
Produced by Yoshiaki Nishimura
Screenplay by
Based on The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter
Music by Joe Hisaishi
Cinematography Keisuke Nakamura
Edited by Toshihiko Kojima
Distributed by Toho
Release date
  • 23 November 2013

Voice Cast

Character Japanese cast English dub cast
Princess Kaguya Aki Asakura[ja] Chloë Grace Moretz
Caitlyn Leone (young)
Sutemaru Kengo Kora Darren Criss
The Bamboo Cutter Takeo Chii[a] James Caan
The Bamboo Cutter’s Wife Nobuko Miyamoto Mary Steenburgen
Lady Sagami Atsuko Takahata Lucy Liu
Me no Warawa Tomoko Tabata Hynden Walch
Inbe no Akita Tatekawa Shinosuke George Segal
Prince Ishitsukuri Takaya Kamikawa James Marsden
Lord Minister of the Right Abe Hikaru Ijūin Oliver Platt
Great Counselor Otomo Ryudo Uzaki Daniel Dae Kim
The Mikado Nakamura Shichinosuke II Dean Cain
Prince Kuramochi Isao Hashizume Beau Bridges
Middle Counselor Isonokami Tamaki Kojo John Cho

Movie Trailer

Screenshots from the movie







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