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, 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 the girl to leave her friends behind, and the family moves into a mansion replete with servants. The girl is soon saddled with a governess who is tasked with taming her into a noblewoman. The girl struggles with the restraints of nobility, yearning for her prior life in the countryside.

When the girl comes of age, she is granted the formal name of “Princess Kaguya” by a name-father. Miyatsuko then holds a celebration, where 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. She passes out in the snow and awakens back at the party.

Kaguya grows in beauty, attracting suitors. Five noblemen attempt to 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 quest out of cowardice, and the fourth attempts to woo her with flattering lies. When the last suitor is killed in his own quest, Kaguya becomes depressed. Eventually, the Emperor takes notice of Kaguya’s beauty and tries to kidnap her, but she foils him and convinces him to leave.

Kaguya reveals to her parents that she originally came from the Moon. Once a resident there, 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 restored her memories and said she will be reclaimed during the next full moon. Kaguya confesses her attachment to Earth and her reluctance to leave; Miyatsuko swears to protect Kaguya and begins turning the mansion into a fortress.

Kaguya then returns to her home village and finds Sutemaru. The two profess their love for one another, and in their joy they leap into the air and fly over the countryside, only to encounter the Moon and fall. Sutemaru wakes up alone and reunites with his wife and child, interpreting the whole experience as a dream.

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. She is granted one last moment with her parents before an attendant drapes the robe around her, appearing to erase her memory. They leave, and Miyatsuko and his wife are distraught. Kaguya looks back at Earth one last time, and cries silently as she remembers her mortal life.


Studio Ghibli, Nippon Television Network,
Dentsu, Hakuhodo DYMP, Walt Disney Japan,
Mitsubishi, Toho and KDDI present

THE TALE OF THE PRINCESS KAGUYA

Executive Producer
Seiichiro Ujiie

Based on the Japanese Folktale
“The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter”

Original Concept by
Isao Takahata

Screenplay by
Isao Takahata and Riko Sakaguchi

Music Joe Hisaishi
Theme Song Kazumi Nikaido

Character Design and Directing Animator
Osamu Tanabe

Art Director
Kazuo Oga

Planning Toshio Suzuki
Producer Yoshiaki Nishimura

Directed by
Isao Takahata

Once upon a time there lived a bamboo cutter.

On the mountain he would cut bamboo to make all manner of things.

Sanuki no Miyatsuko was his name.

One day he saw light shining from a bamboo stalk.

In wonder, he drew closer.

A bamboo shoot growing before the plums flower?

What’s this?!

Um…

…may I ask who you might be?

What a beautiful princess!

Heaven must have sent her to me as a blessing.

Did you catch something?

What a pretty doll!

No, she’s sleeping.

What?!

I’ve been blessed.

‘Blessed’?

By Heaven, in the grove!

It’s me Heaven’s blessed.

I’m the one who’ll raise her.

‘Raise her’? She’s already a beautiful princess.

There’ll be more to this than you think.

Right?

Give her here!

Don’t just sit there!
Bring me a cloth.

How’s this?

There, there!

What’s going on?

She wants me to raise her.

Get me a nice basket.

This is very strange, you know.

What if she’s some kind of spirit?

What does she look like?

A baby.

Right!

But just now she was a princess!

That was Heaven telling us who she’ll grow into.

Really?

So that means we must raise her properly.

Yes! That must be it.

Yes.

I see!

But who’ll nurse her?

A wetnurse.

And the lathe-turners have a new baby.

So this is…

A gift.

What’s the matter?

What are you doing?!

There, there!
You must be hungry.

What?!

She’s drinking it right down.

I’ve got milk!

She laughed!

She did!

Suddenly she feels heavier.

That can’t be!

Now what?

She’s heavier still!

Let me see.

She’s growing really fast.

Plum blossoms already!

She just got heavier again!

You see?

Well, I’ll be!

From that day on the Bamboo Cutter and his wife…

…would raise this miraculous child as their very own.

No! You can’t have those yet.

There’s a baby!

Yeah? Where?

Don’t push!

There!

She looked at us!

Yeah!

No.

What is it?

Oh, my!

Well, I’ll be!

Princess!

She’s standing!

She’s walking!

Oh, my!

There, there…

She’s funny!

She walked.

She was just crawling.

She’s growing fast!

Like a bamboo shoot!

That’s her! Li’l Bamboo!

Li’l Bamboo!

Li’l Bamboo!

Li’l Bamboo!

Li’l Bamboo!

She’s not ‘Li’l Bamboo’!
She’s ‘Princess’!

Li’l Bamboo!

Li’l Bamboo!

Li’l Bamboo!

Princess!

Come to me!

Princess!

Li’l Bamboo!

Li’l Bamboo!

Princess!

Come to me!

Li’l Bamboo!

Li’l Bamboo!

Princess!

Princess!

Princess! Come to me!

Princess! Come to me!

Princess!

Come to me!

Do you want to come?

Bamboo shoots. That’s supper.

Supper! Bamboo shoots!

Right!

Stand back.

There’s lots!

Yeah!

Come here!

You don’t mess with a wild pig!

Huh?

You’re a strange kid.
You just got bigger.

She’s weird, Sutemaru.

She’s gotten bigger again!

Like a bamboo shoot.

A bamboo shoot?

Bamboo shoot! Supper!

Bamboo shoot!

Li’l Bamboo!

Round, round, go round

Waterwheel, go round

Go round, and call Mr Sun

Go round, and call Mr Sun

Birds, bugs, beasts

Grass, trees, flowers

Bring spring and summer,
fall and winter

Bring spring and summer,
fall and winter

Birds!

Bugs!

Beasts!

Grass!

Trees!

Flowers!

Huh?

Do you know this song?

Yes!

Go round, come round,
come round

Come round, O distant time

Come round,
call back my heart

Come round,
call back my heart

Birds, bugs, beasts

Grass, trees, flowers

Teach me how to feel

If I hear that you pine for me

I will return to you

That’s a weird song.

She’s crying!

Yeah!

What’s wrong?

I don’t know.

She’s weird!

We live over there.

That’s your bamboo grove.

Bamboo shoots!

Let’s go!

Princess!

Princess!

Where are you?!

Princess! Princess!

What’s that?

Could this be…?

See you later!

Be careful!

Should we be letting her play with those boys?

She’s fine with them.

It’s just that up in the grove I found…

No. It’s nothing.

That’s lacquer. You’ll get a rash!

‘Lacquer’?

That smells good!

We’ll make bowls from them.

From these?

Wow!

That’s my dad, my elder brother, and my mom.

Goodbye!

Bring us something back!

The Bamboo Cutter’s girl.

‘Li’l Bamboo’.

Come on, Li’l Bamboo!

It’s so hot!

I’m thirsty.

I’ll bet those are good.

Yeah?

Don’t!

Come on!

Someone’s coming!

Leave it!

This is for the others.

This is good!

This is good!

When these beautiful clothes came flying up, I knew…

…what Heaven wants.

What Heaven wants?

It wants us to give her a life that suits these robes.

To make her a noble princess.

A noble princess?

With this gold, I’ll build her a fine mansion in the capital.

Take her there?

Yes.

Out here she’ll always be just a country girl.

Living with nobles as a real princess…

…she’ll be happy.

In any case, that is Heaven’s wish.

A noble princess…

Yes.

Anyway, tomorrow I’ll go to the capital.

From the next day on, the Bamboo Cutter…

…went often to the capital, with gold in his kimono.

The summer went by, and the autumn harvest came round.

Blow, O wind, blow, blow

Blow hard, O wind

Li’l Bamboo! Take him!

Bring the fruits of the mountains

Chestnuts, mushrooms, grapes…

Carry me!

Carry me!

I’ll rub it all over you!

A pheasant!

It’s heading for you!

Li’l Bamboo! Chase it left!

Okay!

It’s coming your way!

I’ll get you!

Sutemaru!

Sutemaru!

Sutemaru!

Sutemaru!

I got it.

I got it!

Great!

Are you hurt?

I’m coming down.

No!

Sutemaru!

The rocks are weak here!

I’m sorry.

Get a long vine, will you!

Sure!

You’re bleeding.

A little spit’ll fix that.

No!

Wait.

There.

Li’l Bamboo…

…did you get bigger again?

You think so?

Somehow I have the feeling you’ll just keep on growing…

…and go somewhere far away.

Why do you say that?

I’ll always be here with you, forever and ever.

I’ll always be one of your gang.

Sutemaru!

How’s this?

Good.

Tie it!

We did!

Right!

Go on.

Hey, there’s mushrooms here!

Look, Sutemaru!

You’re right!

Look at them all!
Tomorrow let’s have a stew!

Yeah! We’ll cook this bird.

Great! Pheasant stew!

Pheasant! Pheasant! Pheasant stew!

Sorry I’m late.

Sutemaru caught a pheasant.

And we found mushrooms and grapes!

Where are you going?

The capital.

The capital?

Me, too?

Now?

Yes. Leave that basket there.

But I told Sutemaru we’d all have pheasant stew.

Leave it.

Let’s go.

Will we be back in time for stew tomorrow?

But for the Princess and Sutemaru, that tomorrow never came.

The young miss is awake.

Good morning.

If you please…

Well, well, well!

I trust Your Highest is in the bestest of spirits this finest…

…of mornings?

Momma?

Poppa? Is that you?

You scared me!

Why are you dressed like that?

It doesn’t suit us, does it.

Now, now!

Get yourself a range of chobe,
I mean, ‘a change of robe’!

In there.

All those robes are yours,
Your Highness.

They smell so nice!

They’re beautiful!

Like a rainbow!

I’m glad she likes them.

I told you!

You’re going to live here now.

In this mansion?!

Yes.

Wow!

Poppa, can I swim in there?

You most certainly may not.

A noble princess does not frolic and dance around in such a manner.

Your Highness…

…I’ve summoned Lady Sagami from the palace to teach you…

…the ways of a noble princess.

A ‘noble princess’?

‘Palace’?

I have never met a child so much in need of my instruction.

I will undertake to make her a truly fine lady.

And so with Lady Sagami…

…the princess began to learn the noble airs and graces of a lady.

Watch carefully.

One holds one’s back straight, and stands with a ‘swish’.

‘Swish’?

That will do for now.

In any event, a noble lady stands only on rare occasions.

Then how do I move to pick something up?

In that case…

…thus!

One proceeds on one’s knees, and always gracefully.

Be graceful at all times…

Your Highness!

Beautiful, is it not?

Unroll it like this, and the story flows out in the pictures.

Yeah! It really flows!

Let us have a short rest.

Your enthusiasm for practicing handwriting…

…makes me proud.

Your Highness!

Once more, together.

Hey, this is fun!

Your Highness!

Well?

How’s the koto practice going?

Sir!

I trust you are well, Father.

Well, well, well!

You’re so elegant I hardly recognized you.

Whoops!

And how is the koto lesson going?

We’ve only just begun…

Well, well, well!

With me, she treats everything as if it were a game.

But then instantly she does everything perfectly.

That makes sense.

She is truly a princess from Heaven.

She is not one to stay forever out in the mountains.

Thus the princess seemed devoted to making a noble lady of herself.

Whoops!

What’s going on here?!

Will you stop doing all this!

You are now the mother of a noble princess.

But this makes me feel at home.

It’s because of you the princess won’t…

Is something the matter?

You’re very quiet.

Well, Husband…

Is that true?

Yes.

That’s wonderful!
We’ll have to hold a banquet!

A banquet?

To mark your coming of age.

This is the happiest of occasions!

So we can invite my friends?

I miss them so much!

That might be nice.

Don’t be a fool!

Do you realize how important this is?!

We live in a different world to those hillbillies!

We’ll have the naming ceremony after New Year’s.

After your coming-out banquet you’ll be a true princess!

Poppa…

This is wonderful!

I know! I’ll ask Inbe no Akita to be your ‘Name Father’.

Is anyone here?!

Lady Sagami? Lady Sagami!

What a bore.

Birds, bugs, beasts

Grass, trees, flowers…

Momma, can I use this piece of the garden?

Sorry?

To plant things I like.

Why, of course you can.

Do what you like with it.

Thanks, Momma.

No! Never!

You’ll never be a fine princess looking like that.

I’ll get sweat in my eyes if you pluck my eyebrows!

A noble princess does not sweat.

Now…

And blackened teeth just look weird!

How will I laugh?

A noble princess does not open her mouth and laugh.

That’s stupid!

Even a princess must sweat and laugh out loud sometimes!

Or want to cry.

Or get mad and shout!

No. A noble princess…

Then a noble princess isn’t human!

Your Highness!

The poor thing was tied up!

Your Highness!

This way, Lord Akita.

Your Highness!

I’m very sorry!
She’s still very young.

Not at all.

She’s an adorable little princess.

She has yet to be made up.
I am truly ashamed.

Don’t give it a second thought.

To observe her as she really is…

…will help me think of an appropriate name.

I am glad to hear that.

Please bestow a fine name on our princess.

Your Highness, come and greet Lord Akita.

How do you do, sir.

Your Highness, let Lord Akita hear you play on the koto.

Beautiful!

‘The Shining Princess of the Supple Bamboo’…

‘The Princess…

‘Kaguya’?

Yes.

A form as graceful as slender bamboo…

…and a beauty that shines out from her.

I give her a name that means ‘shining light’.

I thus suggest ‘Princess Kaguya’.

‘Princess Kaguya’!

Lord Akita, you have given her a truly fine name.

Thank you very much.

Following the rites of hair and trailing skirt…

…guests were invited in great numbers…

…to a banquet celebrating the taking of her name.

Congratulations!

‘Princess Kaguya’ certainly is a fine name.

There are so many fine gentlemen here!

This is a banquet to celebrate the taking of my name?

Yes, it is.

But all I’m doing is sitting.

I may as well not even be here.

Thank you very much!

Princess Kaguya’s naming banquet went on for three days and nights.

To Princess Kaguya having her hair put up!

‘Tis a fine thing!

A fine thing! A fine thing!

But isn’t this all a bit pretentious?

Your ‘princess’.

Princess Kaguya, or whoever it is…

…enshrined behind that bamboo blind.

What’s wrong with us seeing if she’s as beautiful as they say?

No! Anything but that!

So we come to celebrate and we can’t even say hello?

That’s the custom!

The custom for noble women, not commoners.

Hey!

She’s not a real princess.

She is a princess!

What did it cost to get her named one?

At least let us see her!

Maybe she’s ugly!

What a farce!

Um…

…would you know what happened to the people who lived down below?

I wouldn’t know.

They’re on a journey looking for good trees.

A journey?

They won’t be back for ten years.

Ten years?

Use up all the trees and you kill the mountain.

Leave its power and go away, and it revives.

Give the trees ten years, and you can work them again.

Charcoal’s like that, too.

But what if the mountain really is dead?

The leaves were so beautiful…

It’s not dead.

Look.

The trees are getting ready for spring.

They are?

Will spring come back here?

Sure it will.

Now the trees are waiting for it to come round again.

But who…

I’ve seen this before.

From that day on, Princess Kaguya…

…was like a different person, devoting herself to her studies…

…in pensive silence.

Your Highness!

Look at all these gifts!

The nobility has accepted you as one of them!

This is the proof!

For old times’ sake…

…I’ll weave you a fine bamboo cage for this meadow bunting.

Thank you, Father.

Thanks be to Heaven!

Thanks be to Heaven!

I’ll just leave this here.

As word of this great beauty spread…

…huge crowds gathered outside the mansion…

…hoping to catch a glimpse of Princess Kaguya.

Do you serve Princess Kaguya?

Then give her this!

Please!

And this!

There’s another crowd of gentlemen outside.

They’ve given me all these letters for you.

And I brought you some cherry blossoms…

…because you can’t go out with that crowd outside.

Thank you!

You summoned me, Prince Ishitsukuri?

About that rich upstart’s daughter that you named…

You mean Princess Kaguya?

Keep your voice down!

Did you say ‘Princess Kaguya’?

Princess Kaguya?
I’ve heard the gossip about her.

They say she’s very beautiful.

You would shout, wouldn’t you.

Beautiful she may be, but she is of humble birth.

She is not a woman for any of us.

‘Princess Kaguya’ is a presumptuous name…

…for a daughter of the likes of Miyatsuko.

No, Minister.

She is not his true daughter.

She was born from a bamboo stalk.

A bamboo stalk?

How interesting.
So she’s a woodland spirit?

That is not entirely impossible, Lord Counselor.

What?!

The moment I stood before her…

…this aged body began to tremble…

…as if a dry fountain had come back to life.

Just the memory of that glimmering beauty…

…leaves me completely lost for words!

Stand aside!

I will win this race!

I will be first!

That glimmering beauty will be mine!

I will have her!

I go to meet my wife!

Lady Sagami! Lady Sagami!

What is it?

Look at these!

Five of the land’s highest-born men have come…

…and in formal dress!

Oh, my!

Thanks be to Heaven!

A minister, two princes…

But how will we choose among them?

They’re all here together, awaiting an answer.

I understand.
Leave the princess to me.

You go entertain them.

I will!

Thank you very much!

Thanks be to Heaven!

That banquet was worth every penny I spent on it!

They are all of the highest rank.

You will not go wrong with any of them.

So, Your Highness, choose the one you wish.

Even though I don’t know them?

Of course.

A gentleman makes a proposal, and you meet on your wedding day.

With your choice of these five nobles…

…how happy you will be!

‘Happy’?

I have no wish to marry anyone yet.

You can’t mean that!

You must marry a suitable gentleman as soon as possible.

That is happiness itself.

Why would you hesitate?

With any of those men, your happiness is assured.

I will not choose any of them!

Please ask them to leave.

Do you wish to hurt your father?

He is as glad for you as he would be for himself.

All has been made ready.
If you would come this way…

Now, if you would each speak in order of precedence.

I am Prince Kuramochi.

Princess…

…my feelings toward you are as I wrote in my letter.

If it came to pass that you became my wife…

…my joy would be as if I had found a jeweled branch from a tree…

…of Mount Horai in China…

…with silver roots, gold trunk, and pearls for fruit.

To me, you are a treasure as unattainable as that.

If you would…

I am Prince Ishitsukuri.
If you consent to be my wife…

…I will worship you day and night, my forehead to the ground…

…as I would the stone begging bowl of Lord Buddha himself in India.

You would treat her as a piece of cold stone?

To me you are as a robe of fire-rat fur.

Put in the flames, all impurities burn away…

…but it is not consumed, and merely glistens…

…all the brighter.

You are as pure as this rare treasure of China.

You compare Princess Kaguya to a rat-skin?

To me, Princess…

…you are a jewel that glistens more radiantly…

…than the five-colored stone that shines from the dragon’s neck!

No, no, no!

To me, Princess Kaguya…

…is like the cowry shell the swallow warms as a treasure…

…and a charm for safe birth.

‘A treasure’…

A cowry shell is a treasure?
It is to laugh!

Well, a dragon’s neck stinks!

It’s the jewel on the neck!

What a beautiful melody!

I am grateful for these sentiments toward someone…

…you have neither met nor seen.

I ask…

…that you bring me…

…these rare treasures of which you speak.

Then I will be able to feel clearly in my heart…

…how you treasure me.

Prince Kuramochi, bring me the jeweled branch of Horai.

Prince Ishitsukuri, Lord Buddha’s stone bowl.

But… but…

Lord Minister of the Right Abe, bring a robe of fire-rat fur.

What?!

Grand Counselor Otomo, the jewel from the dragon’s neck.

And Middle Counselor Isonokami, the swallow’s cowry shell.

Impossible!

No, no no no…

These things may not even exist!

They were only figures of speech!

Yes.

You have all compared me to very rare treasures.

If I can obtain one of them…

…I will happily become that gentleman’s ‘treasure’.

Gentlemen, I apologize!

She knows nothing of the world.

But she must be beautiful.
Her voice, her music…

Indeed! That melody was quite out of this world.

But to set us these impossible tasks…

Out of the question!

She is truly an unattainable treasure.

It’s terrible!

When the nobles left, so did everyone else outside!

Just like the tide going out?

Yes.

I thought I should tell you.

Your Highness!

Let’s go!

Where?

Out!

Out?

To see the cherry blossoms!

Go ask Father and Mother to come, too!

There is nothing more I can do.

Yes, but surely…

Next time the princess will…

There will be no next time.

I will take my leave of you.

But…

The carriage the princess requested awaits, Squire.

Tell them to go on ahead!

Oh, my!

It’s beautiful!

Stop!

Your Highness?

How wonderful!

I’m very sorry, Milady.

Please forgive us!

Come on.

They’re right at their peak.

Yes, they’re beautiful.

Let’s go home.

Something’s happened up ahead.

Someone’s coming.

Sutemaru!

Run!

Sutemaru?

Sutemaru!

Sutemaru!

What’s wrong?!

They’ll catch us!

We’re going!

Li’l Bamboo!

Sutemaru!

Sutemaru!

Sutemaru!

Come on.

Three years went by.

Off you go.

Isn’t it a lovely day.
Look how the garden has grown.

Yes, but you know…

…it all looks different when you see it from here.

Well!

It’s like the mountain back home.

You’re right.

There’s the forest, and the hill…

And there’s our house.

And the grass is the bamboo grove.

The mugwort looks just like trees.

You can almost see the moon rising behind the mountain.

And we could go over the bridge and up the hill…

Princess!

Where is Her Highness?

You’re here again?

What’s wrong with it?

You’re here all the time!

Anyway, not now.

The Prince!

Prince Kuramochi has brought the jeweled branch of Horai!

Impossible!

It’s hard to believe, but he’s true to his word.

You’d think he’d be angry with a task like that…

…but he really has brought back a jeweled branch!

Your Highness, go and get ready for your wedding!

I should hurry!

The two of them will need a bedchamber!

If only Lady Sagami were here!

This can’t be right!

A bedchamber…

Princess Kaguya!

Where is Princess Kaguya?

Please wait, Your Highness!

Squire Miyatsuko!

Forgive me.

I was in such a rush to get here I didn’t change my clothes.

Oh, this is wonderful!
Thanks be to Heaven!

Please… this way.

Come in.

Without further ado, I will show what I promised to bring.

It’s so beautiful it dazzles the eye!

As you wished, the jeweled branch of Horai.

Princess Kaguya, are you in there?

Come near and take a good look.

One moment.

First, allow me to ask how you came by it.

Of course!

Three years ago I vowed to carry out your wish.

I boarded a ship…

…and we set course for Mount Horai.

Tossed by angry waves…

…and starving for lack of food…

…after all manner of trials and tribulations…

…’Behold!

‘What is that mountain, so beautiful yet forbidding?

‘Amazing!

‘It flows with water of gold, silver, and lapis lazuli!

‘Look!

‘A celestial maiden scoops water with a silver bowl!

‘Hello!

‘What is the name of this mountain? ‘

‘This is Mount Horai.

‘And my name is Ukanruri.’

At last I had made my way to Mount Horai!

Without a second glance at the maiden, I climbed the mountain.

‘Look at those beautiful trees!

‘Silver branches, trunks of gold, and fruit of pearls!

‘How beautiful!

‘Are these not the jeweled branches of Horai…

‘… Princess Kaguya said she wished for? ‘

This is the branch I snapped off then.

One look is worth a hundred tales.

Look upon it with your own eyes.

No! You can’t do this!

Get out of my way!

What is the meaning of this?

I most humbly apologize.
I’ll go see.

At least read this letter!

What’s going on?

Pay us our fee for the jeweled branch we made!

What?!

‘Made’?

I am Ayabe no Uchimaro, of the Guild of Artisans.

Prince Kuramochi had us mount gems…

…and fashion them into a jeweled branch.

What?

The Prince, however, has not yet paid us.

He hasn’t?

Oh, dear!

And since Princess Kaguya, one of his concubines…

…sorry, his wife, was here in this house…

…we had no choice…

…but to come here and ask her for payment.

I see.

Your Highness, what is the…

Your Highness?
Where did he go?!

Where’s the branch?

His Highness has taken his leave.

What?!

Please reward the artisans very well.

There!

Next to call at the mansion was Abe, Minister of the Right.

Look!

See how it glistens!

The world has never seen such an expensive engagement gift.

But if it should please Princess Kaguya…

…it is a mere trifle.

In that case…

Ah, you’re right here?

Put it into a fire.

Huh?

What?

If it is truly the fur of the fire-rat…

…it will not burn, but merely glisten all the brighter.

Of course!

This robe is the genuine article!

Placed in the fire, it will not burn.

Or at least, it ‘should not’ burn.

Unless of course between myself and the princess…

…there remains some unwarranted impurity.

Yes, indeed.

All the more reason to test it.

Burn away all the impurity of my doubts.

Oh, all right!

What did I tell you?

You see?

Ow!

My fortune is burning!

I’ve lost everything!

Do you realize how much this cost?!

Look at it, will you!

‘Burn it,’ she says!

How infuriating!

I wonder how much the Minister spent on that fake.

I assume that is what I am to those gentlemen.

A fake jeweled branch, or a rat-fur robe that burns.

Both those objects were very expensive.

But don’t worry.

Grand Counselor Otomo has indeed put to sea…

…in quest of the gem hanging from the dragon’s neck.

They say in order to marry you…

…he has sent his wife away…

…and completely rebuilt his mansion.

A warrior’s resolve is a wondrous thing.

All right, Dragon! Have at me!

Careful!

The Dragon!

Forgive me! Forgive me!

Another one!

Help me!

Calm down!
The storm will blow itself out.

About that time, Prince Ishitsukuri was paying a call on Princess Kaguya.

Well, Your Highness, is this Lord Buddha’s stone bowl?

Give this to her.

What is it exactly?

Give it to her, please.

Yes, but…

Your Highness, this is from Prince Ishitsukuri.

Since I first heard your voice three years ago…

…you have been constantly on my mind.

Desperately I searched for ‘Buddha’s stone begging bowl’.

I crossed meadow and mountain, visiting every temple in the land.

Eventually, weary as could be, I sat on a rock by the roadside.

Suddenly my eye fell upon a wildflower there at my feet.

Ah! My feelings for you bloomed unknown, I thought…

…just like that flower.

Suddenly the realization dawned…

…that what I wanted to give you…

…and you wanted to receive…

…was not some unattainable treasure, but that flower.

In other words, the symbol of my devotion to you.

‘Devotion’…

Princess Kaguya!
You are the one…

…to whom I would give my heart.

Would you accept that lovely flower…

…and my devotion?

I have always loved plants.

I am entranced by the nameless flowers that grow by the roadside.

And I always wish…

…I could live as one of those flowers of the field.

Princess, come with me to some place that is not this one.

Let us leave the capital and its formalities…

…for a rich green land of flowers, birds, and leaping fish.

Somewhere not here.

We will laugh, sing, and sleep to our hearts’ content.

Morning to night, the seasons meeting our needs…

…let us spin a beautiful tale.

Come with me to somewhere that is not here!

A land of green where flowers bloom, birds sing, and fish dance!

Somewhere that is not here!

What?!

‘Somewhere that is not here’?

I would very much like to be taken there again.

I’m sorry!

Forgive me!

How many flowers…

…have you plucked and thrown away…

…leaving them to shave their heads in despair…

…and become nuns?

I’ve found one!

Get me down!

Remaining now…

…was Middle Counselor Isonokami, and the swallow’s cowry shell.

Counselor!

He’s dead?!

Yes.

The fall broke the Middle Counselor’s back.

What’s wrong?

This garden! It’s a fake!

Fake!

Fake!

Fake!

Fake!

All of it! Fake!

And so am I!

Stop it.

It’s my fault everyone’s miserable.

It’s not your fault. It’s not.

It is my fault.

Because I’m a fake!

Princess!

I never dreamed things would turn out like this!

Of course not.

But it’s not your fault.

Now, in spite of her wishes, there was even more talk of her.

His Majesty himself became interested.

She has toyed with five of the greatest nobles.

Fascinating.

That must mean…

…this ‘Princess Kaguya’ wishes to come to me.

Send word that she is to come and serve at court.

Yes, Sire.

If she comes, I’ll give her father, Sanuki no Miyatsuko…

…a court rank!

Yes, Sire.

Thanks be to Heaven!

Your Highness!

Please! No more of this!

Your Highness!

Your Highness! Rejoice!

His Majesty summons you to serve him at court!

You’ll be one of his ladies.

And I’ll wear a courtier’s cap!

Thanks be to Heaven!

You still don’t understand how she feels?

You don’t understand!

This is what I’ve worked for!

A court lady!

There is no greater happiness for a girl in this land!

At last the princess will be happy!

Father…

…I’m sorry, but please refuse.

I couldn’t be His Majesty’s now.

What?! This is for your sake…

Tell him no.

But…

…no one in this land may disobey an order from His Majesty!

Now, please!
Don’t be so contrary!

If you wish to accuse me…

…of disobedience to His Majesty…

…then feel free to kill me.

Princess!

If your happiness depends on a courtier’s cap…

…then I will go to him.

When I see you wearing that cap, then I will kill myself.

What? She refuses?

What can this mean?

I never dreamed a woman would ever turn me down.

Fascinating.
I wish to meet her all the more.

In that case, I’ll pay a quiet visit to the Miyatsuko mansion.

Yes, Sire.

This way, please.

She plays wonderfully.

How beautiful!

Come with me to the palace.

Why are you doing this?!

No woman is unhappy when I do this.

I will never be yours!

You must be, if I wish it.

Bring the palanquin!

What?

Where are you?

Where did you go?

I apologize for acting in haste.
Please show yourself.

Please.

I will burn the sight of you into my eyes and leave.

How beautiful!

Forgive me.

I will withdraw.

But I still believe…

…your happiness lies in being mine.

Beautiful!

His Majesty returned to his palace.

Now, every night that the moon was out…

…the princess would gaze up at it.

What’s wrong?

Lately you don’t come to see me.

You’ve left your spinning to sit, and your garden to grow wild.

You sit every night and gaze at the moon.

What’s the matter?

Nothing.

It’s something.

I can tell by the look in your eyes.

There’s really nothing wrong.

That’s not true.

Can’t you tell even me?

I don’t want to go back to the Moon!

‘Go back’?

‘To the Moon’?

I’ve begged them to let me stay!

Here! In this land!

But they’re coming for me on the 15th night!

Coming for you?

I don’t understand.

Your Highness…

…tell me something that makes sense.

You poor thing!
This is serious, isn’t it.

I am one who was sent down here from the Moon.

The Moon?!

So that’s what it was!

Yes.

I only realized that when His Majesty came.

And now on the 15th I must leave you…

…and go back.

To the Moon? And leave us?

What have we done to deserve this?

Everything we’ve done has been for your happiness!

That happiness you wished for me was hard to bear.

Without realizing it…

…I prayed to the Moon to save me.

When His Majesty embraced me, my heart screamed out…

…’I don’t want to be here! ‘

You deliberately called them to take you back?

How could you!

What have you done?!

But I don’t want to go.
Not like this!

Then why not just stay?

Fine! Even if they come to take you…

…I won’t let them!

It’s too late…

…for everything!

What have I been doing down here?!

Throwing tantrums about belonging to someone…

…ignoring your wishes…

…and fooling myself with fake meadows and mountains!

But now that I have to leave I finally remember…

…why I came down to this place…

…and why, in this strange land, I’d always known that song.

‘Birds, bugs, beasts’…

That’s right.

I was born to truly live!
Just like the birds and the beasts.

I don’t want to leave!

Do you think I’d let you go?!

From the day I took you out of that bamboo stalk…

…I’ve loved you as if you were my own child!

When I held you, changed you, set you on your feet…

…I was as happy as if I were in Heaven!

It’s not too late!

You’re still here!

Here in my arms!

We’ll drive them away!

No matter how many come for you!

Is anyone here?!

Prepare to defend the princess!

I’m sorry, Father.

What a lot of noise!

Let’s sing to keep up our spirits.

Round, round, go round

Waterwheel, go round

Go round, and call Mr Sun

Go round, and call Mr Sun

Birds, bugs, beasts

Grass, trees, flowers

Bring spring and summer,
fall and winter

Bring spring and summer,
fall and winter

Go round, come round,
come round

Come round, O distant time

Come round,
call back my heart

Come round,
call back my heart

Birds, bugs, beasts

Grass, trees, flowers

Teach me how to feel

If I hear that you pine for me

I will return to you

There’s another verse to that song?

Long ago…

…someone who’d come back from here used to sing it on the Moon.

When you put on the robe of the Moon, you lose all memory of this place.

All grief and sadness are gone.

But when she sang that song, tears would come to her eyes.

And for some reason, that magic took my heart, too.

And now I understand exactly how she felt.

And why I yearned for here, and broke the rules…

…and maybe why I was sent down here.

Princess!

She wanted…

…to come back here.
I’m sure of it!

‘If I hear that you pine for me, I will return to you.’

‘If you are truly waiting for me…

‘… I will come straight back.’

I want to go home! Right now!

Prepare a carriage, please.
Don’t tell anyone.

All these ginger flowers!

It’s been a long time.

Num-nums!

What, are you hungry?

Did you hear that?

Nope.

I’ll go on ahead.

Sutemaru?

Is that you?

Li’l Bamboo?

Can I call you that?

We’re just getting back here.

Coming over the pass, I thought I heard you singing.

I’m so glad to see you!

Uh, yeah.

But why are you here, and dressed like that?

All this time I’ve wanted to come home.

‘Home’?

Here?

Yes.

Didn’t you like the capital?

You had nice clothes, a mansion, fine food…

All the time I was thinking about how we all used to play here.

They’ll all be here soon.

With you, Sutemaru…

With you, Sutemaru, I might have been happy.

With me?

Now I realize that.

Yeah, right!

You couldn’t live like we do.

Sure I could!
I did when we were kids.

In these clothes?

Half-starving, eating roots?

Sometimes having to steal?

I saw that!

I got you beaten up.

That was nothing.

You’re right! As long as you can answer back by being alive.

I’m sure I would have been happy.

Li’l Bamboo!

But it won’t happen.

It’s too late.

Too late?

His Majesty?

No!

No one will own me!

Well, then…

It won’t happen.

Why not? We could start now.

Let’s run away.

Right now!

I’ll carry you on my back.

We’ll go far away, where no one knows us.

I can’t run away now.

Sure you can!

If they find us, I’ll protect you!

They’ve already found me.

What do you mean?

I’ve been found.

So you’ve been found.

So what?!

Who cares?

I want us to run away!

Come on!

Sutemaru!

Right!

I’ll run, too! As fast as I can!

Li’l Bamboo!

Li’l Bamboo!

Sutemaru!

O heaven and earth!
Take me in!

Please!

Let me stay a little longer!

Just a little longer, to feel the joy of living in this place!

What do you mean?

I’m holding you!

Hold me tighter! Don’t let me go!

Li’l Bamboo!

Li’l Bamboo!

Li’l Bamboo!

Li’l Bamboo!

A dream?

I dreamed that?

Poppa!

Poppa!

Poppa!

Now, at last, August 15th came round.

Loose arrows!

Princess!

Princess!

Princess!

Princess!

Princess!

Princess…

Birds, bugs, beasts

Grass, trees, flowers

Flower, bear fruit, and die

Be born, grow up, and die

Still the wind blows, the rain falls

The waterwheel goes round

Lifetimes come and go in turn

Lifetimes come and go in turn

Princess!

Lifetimes come and go in turn

Lifetimes come and go in turn

Princess! Don’t go!

Wait!

Please, wait.

Once I don this robe…

…I will forget everything about this place.

Give me a little more time.

Princess!

Momma! Poppa!

Princess!

Take us with you!

Poppa, Momma… forgive me!

Come along.

In the purity of the City of the Moon…

…leave behind this world’s sorrow and uncleanness.

It’s not unclean!

There’s joy, there’s grief…

All who live here feel them in all their different shades!

There’s birds, bugs, beasts…

…grass, trees, flowers…

…and feelings.

Princess!

Princess!

Princess!

Forgive me!

The joy I felt when I touched you

Went deep, deep down

And seeped into

Every nook and cranny of this body

Even if I’m far away

And no longer understand anything

Even when the time comes

For this life to end

Everything of now

Is everything of the past

We’ll meet again, I’m sure

In some nostalgic place

The warmth you gave me

Deep, deep down

Comes to me now, complete

From a time long past

Steadily in my heart

The flames of passion give light

And softly soothe my pain

Down to the depths of my grief

Everything now

Is hope for the future

I’ll remember, I’m sure

In some nostalgic place

Voices
Aki Asakura Kengo Kora

Takeo Chii Nobuko Miyamoto

Supervising Animator
Kenichi Konishi

Key Animation
Shinji Hashimoto Takayuki Hamada

Masashi Ando Akiko Yamaguchi

Paint Outline and Texture Animation
Masaya Saito

Animation Check
Maiko Nogami

Color Setting
Yukiko Kakita

Director of Digital Imaging
Keisuke Nakamura

English Translation by
Ian MacDougall

Subtitles by Aura
Rieko Izutsu-Vajirasarn and Studio Ghibli

Production Koji Hoshino
Studio Ghibli

Producer
Yoshiaki Nishimura

Directed by
Isao Takahata