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Kaguya Hime

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By GENZOMAN   |   
© 2009 - 2020 GENZOMAN
a old work, arround 2006 or so

One day, while walking in the bamboo forest, an old, childless bamboo cutter called Taketori no Okina (竹取翁?, "the Old Man who Harvests Bamboo") came across a mysterious, shining stalk of bamboo. After cutting it open, he found inside it a baby the size of his thumb. He rejoiced 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 (かぐや姫 "radiant-night princess"). Thereafter, Taketori no Okina found that whenever he cut down a stalk of bamboo, inside he found a small nugget of gold. Soon he became rich, and Kaguya-hime grew from a small baby into a woman of usual size and extraordinary beauty. At first, Taketori no Okina tried to keep her away from outsiders, but over time the news of her beauty had spread.

Eventually, 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 from among them. To this end, Kaguya-hime concocted impossible tasks for the princes to accomplish. She would agree to marry the prince who managed to bring her a specified item.

That night, Taketori no Okina told the five princes what each of them must bring. The first was told to bring her the stone begging bowl of the Buddha from India. The second was told to retrieve a jewelled branch from the island of Penglai[4]. The third was told to seek the legendary robe of the fire-rat of China. The fourth must retrieve a colored jewel from a dragon's neck. The final prince was told to find the seashell treasure of the swallows.

Realizing that it was an impossible task, the first prince returned with an expensive bowl, but after noticing that the bowl did not glow with holy light, Kaguya-hime saw through his deception. Likewise, two other princes attempted to deceive her with fakes, but also failed. The fourth gave up after encountering a storm, while the final prince lost his life in his attempt to retrieve the object.

After this, the Emperor of Japan, Mikado, came to see the strangely beautiful Kaguya-hime and, upon falling in love, asked her to marry him. Although he was not subjected to the impossible trials that thwarted the princes, Kaguya-hime rejected his request for marriage as well, telling him that she was not of his country and thus could not go to the palace with him. She stayed in contact with the Emperor, but continued to rebuff his requests.

That summer, whenever Kaguya-hime saw the full moon, her eyes fill with tears. Though her adoptive parents worried greatly and questioned her, she was unable to tell them what was wrong. Her behaviour became increasingly erratic until she revealed that she was not of this world and must return to her people on the Moon. In some versions of this tale, it is said that she was sent to the Earth as a temporary punishment for some crime, while others say it is because she was sent to earth for safety during a celestial war.
Taketori no Okina takes Kaguya-hime to his home, Drawn by Tosa Hiromichi, c. 1600
Kaguya-hime goes back to the Moon

As the day of her return approached, the Emperor set many guards around her house to protect her from the Moon people, but when an embassy of "Heavenly Beings" arrived at the door of Taketori no Okino's house, the many guards were blinded by a strange light. Kaguya-hime announced that, though she loves her many friends on Earth, she must return with the Moon people to her true home. She wrote sad notes of apology to her parents and to the Emperor, then gave her parents her own robe as a memento. She then took a small taste of the elixir of life, attached it to her letter to the Emperor, and gave it to a guard officer. As she handed it to him, the feather robe was placed on her shoulders, and all of her sadness and compassion for the people of the Earth were forgotten. The heavenly entourage took Kaguya-hime back to Tsuki-no-Miyako ("the Capital of the Moon") against her will, leaving her earthly foster parents in tears.

The parents became very sad and were soon put to bed sick. The guard officer returned to the Emperor with the items Kaguya-hime had given him as her last mortal act, and reported what had happened. The Emperor read her letter and was overcome with sadness. He asked his servants: "Which mountain is the closest place to Heaven?", to which one replied that the Great Mountain of Suruga Province is the closest place to Heaven. The Emperor ordered his men to take the letter to the summit of the mountain and burn it, with the hope that his message would reach the distant princess. The men were also commanded to burn the pot of elixir of immortality since the Emperor did not desire to live forever without being able to see her. The legend has it that the word immortality (不死, fushi?, or fuji) became the name of the mountain, Mount Fuji. It is also said that the kanji for the mountain, 富士山 (literally "Mountain Abounding with Warriors"), is derived from the Emperor's army ascending the slopes of the mountain to carry out his order. It is said that the smoke from the burning still rises to this day. (In the past, Mount Fuji was much more volcanically active than today.)

PSCS/graphire3/6 hours/Music: inaba no namida-L´Arc en ciel (my favorite j-rock band :D, in b4 GIRUGAMESH!)

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anonymous's avatar
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wnter06's avatar
Kaguya Houraisan? ummm....nice very good job:D (Big Grin) 
CrazyMathNerd's avatar
CrazyMathNerdStudent Artist
This art looks amazing!
grisador's avatar
Maan Japan's really have amazingly well ''ancient alien'' like legends !
thorman's avatar
cool que buen dibujo de kaguya  ella es hermosa me encanta te felicito mucho genzoman:D
Rojusamu's avatar
hey Where's the Moon Goddess Tsukuyomi??
OneEyeLess's avatar
I can't stop looking at that leg 
eniox27's avatar
A breath taking beauty of a girl with a story to match
kingarthuer4888's avatar
the final bad guy in naruto
HeroOfTengoku7K's avatar
HeroOfTengoku7KHobbyist Traditional Artist
Princess Kaguya :clap:
Ficklestix's avatar
FicklestixHobbyist Digital Artist
Studio Ghibli is making a movie of this, coming out this year, directed by Isao Takahata: [link](film)
LightingRock85's avatar
Kaguya-hime has inspired so many characters based off of her. It kinda makes me wonder if she did really exist as a real person but her story was changed to make it appeal to both children and adults. Touhou really got me more into Kaguya-hime and other Japanese folk tales.
MemoryThiefChild's avatar
Awesome!:icondatsamazingplz: Kaguya hime is my absolute favorite japanese fairy tale:iconiadoreitplz:
Draaky's avatar
DraakyHobbyist Digital Artist
Kayalina's avatar
Oh, I loved this story when I was little! I think it's the oldest Japanese legend that still exists to this day. But the children's book version is a lot happier...
Very beautiful work! =D
Saphira234's avatar
Yeah I know this story... I love your picture!!!!
Silash's avatar
SilashHobbyist Traditional Artist
yo tenia esta carta ......... y me acuerdo q tenia una habilidad re penca..... pero el dibujo es bakan :D
Kitsune-Moon-Spirit's avatar
Kitsune-Moon-SpiritHobbyist Traditional Artist
Wow! *.* This legend is epic. Its so mystical with the relation to the moon and the gifts in the bamboo, whats better is how this story is the reason why Mt.Fuji is called Fuji :3 Its a sad story too :tears: I never knew an ancient tale could make me feel like this. I like how you added the bamboo and the movement of her kimono and hair, It is as if her running now symbolizes how she returns to the moon at the end of the story.
Waruzimu's avatar
wonderful picture
HeartOfPrayer1200's avatar
Great background, color, figure, but the only thing is the heads in your drawings seem to be a bit too small. I know it's probably a style thing, but I would try making them a bit larger.
Tasogares-Target's avatar
Aw, that's such a sweet and sad story. I didn't know the whole thing until reading your description.
iceofwolf's avatar
iceofwolfHobbyist Writer
You captured her beauty well.
SonicWolvelina99's avatar
SonicWolvelina99Student Digital Artist
What a sad story. Now I understand Kaguya from Okami. D:
HybridNightmar3's avatar
HybridNightmar3Hobbyist Photographer
awsome picture and an amazing story. so interesting. i enjoyed reading it.
Hank15's avatar
Hank15Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Beautiful girl, beautiful background, beautiful story...*cry*
anonymous's avatar
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