Thursday, July 26, 2012

Fuji Festival Legend of Moon-princess Kaguya-hime papercraft model!

The legend of Moon-princess Kaguya (Kaguya-hime) tells of a poor bamboo cutter that one day found a baby girl the size of a thumb inside the stalk of a glowing bamboo plant that he had wanted to cut down.

The bamboo cutter took the baby girl home to his wife and together they raised her as their own child, naming her Kaguya.

After that day, whenever the bamboo cutter would cut down a bamboo stalk, there would be a small nugget of golden inside. ;o)

Over the years, Kaguya became a very beautiful young woman, with hair that would shine like the Moon. Several princes came to ask her hand in marriage, but Kaguya was reluctant and gave them all impossible tests to fulfil before she would agree to marry any of them.

Eventually, even the emperor of Japan heard of her beauty and wished to marry her, but Kaguya kept declining all the offers of marriage from the emperor.

Meanwhile Kaguya grew sad every time she saw the full moon, and eventually revealed to her adoptive parents that she was not of this world but came from the Capital of the Moon and that she longed to return there...

One day, her wish came true, as an embassy of Heavenly Beings arrived to take Kaguya back to the Moon with them. Kaguya wrote a letter to her adoptive parents and the emperor telling them goodbye, and she attached a small bottle with the Elixer of Life to her letter to the emperor.

When the emperor received the letter and the Elixer, he would not drink it because he would not live forever without Kaguya-hime. Instead, he ordered the letter and the immortality Elixer to be burned at the summit of the highest mountain (back then simply called Great Mountain) hoping that the smoke would reach Kaguya-hime in the heavens.

The tallest mountain in Japan is now called Mount Fuji, one of the meanings being Neverending or Immortal mountain, and in days past, when it was much more volcanically active, smoke could still be seen rising from the summit to the heavens...

That's the story more or less in short as I understand it, anyway. ;o)

Giant version for the Fuji Festival, with strips
of paper with good wishes from visitors.

Download + build your own papercraft Moon princess Kaguya-hime in the bamboo stalk from this beautiful Japanese legend! (by Fuji JC)

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