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Origin

Taketori Monogatari 2

Kaguya-hime goes back to the Moon; circa 1650.

Kaguya, or Kaguya Hime, is the main character in 'The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter.' As a baby, she was found inside of a glowing bamboo plant by a bamboo cutter named Sanuki no Miyatsuko and his wife, who raised her as their own.  

When she grew up, tales of her beauty spread far and wide, and many princes came to ask for her hand in marriage. Kaguya, not wanting to marry, put forth a series of impossible tasks for the princes, asking each to fetch her a special item. The first would fetch Great Buddha's Stone Bowl, the second a Jeweled Branch of Horai, the third Fire Rat's Robes, the fourth a jewel from a dragon's neck, and the fifth would bring the Swallow's Cowrie. None of the suitors succeeded with their task.

Hearing of this, the Emperor of Japan came to ask for her hand, and although she fell in love with him, she refused his marriage proposal as well.

That summer, upon seeing the moon, Kaguya's eyes filled with tears, and she revealed that she is actually from the capital of the Moon, either sent to earth for her protection or as punishment, and she refused all the proposals of marriage because one day, she must return to her people on the Moon. On the day of her return, she wrote a note of apology to her parents, took a small sip of an Elixir of Life, and attached the rest to a letter she addressed to the Emperor. Her entourage of Heavenly Beings placed a feathered robe around her, whereupon she forgot all her experiences on earth, and they flew off towards the Moon.

When the Emperor received the letter and the elixir, he wrote a reply, and ordered it to be burned atop Mount Fuji where the message could reach the princess. He also ordered the elixir burnt, as he did not desire immortality without being able to see her.

In some versions, Kaguya was said to have hair that shined like the moon.

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