kaguya ghibli poster japan

YES. Literally there is absolutely nobody who loves Studio Ghibli more than me. I have the box set, be jealous. Anyway I’m SUPER excited about The Tale of Princess Kaguya  (Kaguya-hime no Monogatari) because it is the first major collaboration between Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata since My Neighbor Totoro and The Grave of the Fireflies which were both released in 1988. The film was originally supposed to be released this summer at the same time as their newest film The Wind is Rising, but due to some concerns that the storyboards weren’t complete, the movie was delayed until this coming fall. Fortunately, Joe Hisaishi is composing the score for this film, so it’s pretty much guaranteed it will be amazing.

The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter

[photo via WikiCommons

Not much is known about the film, but the tagline is “A princess’s crime and punishment.” The story used in the movie is actually an adaptation of the oldest Japanese narrative ever preserved, titled The Tale of the Bamboo CutterThe story focuses on Taketori no Okina, a childless bamboo cutter in Japan who one day comes across a shining stalk on bamboo. When he cuts it, he finds a baby the size of his thumb. He takes her home and him and his wife raise the beautiful baby as if she’s their own. They name her Kaguya-hime, “princess of flexible bamboo and scattering light” and ever since that day he found gold in every piece of bamboo he cut. Kaguya grew up to become extremely gorgeous, and the word of her beauty spread until five princes came to seek her hand in marriage. She gave each of them an impossible task which exposed their deviousness and she remained unwed. Then the Emperor of Japan, Mikado, came to ask her for her hand but she rejected him as well because he wasn’t from her country. One night, Kayuga stares at the moon and tears well up in her eyes. Her adopted parents don’t know what’s wrong and she tells them she has to return to the Moon soon to be with her own people. In some versions of the story, she has been exiled to Earth for crimes commited on the Moon and others say she was sent there to be protected from a celestial war. She gives a round of sad goodbyes to everyone, and gives the Emperor a small bottle of the elixir of life which will make him live forever. On the day she is due to leave, the Emperor’s men try to stop her, but they’re all stupefied by a heavenly light. He throws the bottle of elixir away, saying that he would never want to live forever without her. He then asks his men which mountain is the closest to heaven, and they go to the tallest mountain and burn it, hoping the smoke will reach Kayuga. That mountain is rumored today to be Mount Fuji, because the word fuji translates to immortality. If you look closely, it’s also rumored that Mount Fuji still burns to this day because it’s a volcano because of the Emperor’s undying love.

There’s no full trailer out yet, but there was a teaser aired on Japanese TV. It’s just a taste, but savor it!

Gabbi Ewing is a rising junior studying Journalism as well as Film & Television at NYU. She is a New Jersey native who enjoys traveling, writing, skiing, and swimming. She hopes to travel the world, but her next adventure is taking her to Sydney, Australia to study with NYU. She aspires to work for National Geographic or Discovery Channel and to use her film, photography and writing skills to help people experience new cultures and places that they don't have the opportunity to travel to themselves.


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