“The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya” Film Adaptation

Many folktales, particularly the account of “The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter,” contain one of the only surviving elements of Jase folklore. In 2013, producer Yoshiaki Nishimura adapted the story into “The Tale of The Princess Kaguya,” retelling the myth of a princess who was banished by the moon to live with an earthly family as a punishment. The two pieces contrast and complement one another. Essentially, the film depicts two highly different interpretations of this story. The movie expanded on the plot in multiple ways while giving the text’s various passages fresh performances. Generally, the medium-animated or live action creates a clear image of the thesis by adding or detracting from the original plot.

Live-action film or animation adds to the thesis of the story. The book’s primary thesis is that the princess does not enjoy her existence as a member of the upper class or the lonely and monotonous life she leads on the moon. While the novel omitted any information about the princess’ true way of life, it appears in the film that the princess enjoys the life of living freely and without restrictions in the countryside. In essence, this gives rise to a new character named Sutemaru, princess Kaguya’s childhood best friend, reflecting the way of life she envisioned in this young boy. In the movie, it is evident that the old man knew from the beginning that Kaguya was “a blessing from heaven.” (Nishimura 03:06). Therefore, he did not bother her when she decided not to marry any noble suitors and chose Sutemaru. He only asserts, “I am not her father, and she is not obliged to follow my wishes” (Keene 331). Additionally, the screenplay replaces the gift offered by one of her admirers with a tiny flower symbolizing the liberty the princess loves.

Live-action film detracts some scenes and replaces them with new ones to show a widely varying interpretation of this narrative. Kaguya’s encounters with other kids and the fact that she was never depicted as having been restricted to her home in the text allow her uninvolved traits to be erased in the film. The author recounts, “it was not easy, even for those who stationed themselves on the fence around the louse or at the gate, to catch a glimpse of her” (Keene 331). In contrast, the suitors were able to see her rather frequently throughout the film. In addition, the pursuers were constantly present during the day, contrary to the narrative, which depicts them skulking around at night, hoping to catch a glimpse of her and downplaying their nobility.

The production team has the liberties to expand the theme and provide a vivid narrative interpretation. “The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter” covers almost every scene but does not appear finished, offering filmmakers many opportunities to provide additional plots. For instance, the author solely discusses the lifestyle choices that the princess dislikes without highlighting those that she finds more appealing. The director included several characters and new narratives to accentuate this topic. He believes that the life Kaguya is seeking in the film is one of freedom. Therefore, the purpose of creating the youngster Sutemaru was to convey to the viewers the value of their innocent friendship and the strength of freedom.

Converting a work of literature into a motion picture with music and sound is not an easy task. The difficulty of fitting a book’s worth of pages into a longer screen time is immense. Producers frequently omit a few essential plot points to achieve. Additionally, it can be challenging to assign a sound to each object and character while staying as true to the book.

Works Cited

Keene, Donald. “The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter.” Monumenta Nipponica, vol. 11, no. 4, 1956, pp. 329-355.

Nishimura, Yoshiaki. “The Tale of The Princess Kaguya.” Netflix, 2013.