a truth hidden in Taketori Monogatari

IMG_0163 A reader of this blog asked me what I felt spiritually about Taketori Monogatari (竹取物語, The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter), one of the oldest classical Japanese stories. It has often been said that it is a story about an alien from the moon and it has been used as material for a science fiction story. According to my psychic reading, however, what I found about it was much more realistic age and phase. Unfortunately, no aliens appeared.

  • classical 古典的な
  • alien 宇宙人
  • material  題材
  • according to A Aによると
  • realistic 現実的な
  • age 時代
  • phase 様相
  • unfortunately 残念ながら
  • appear 現れる

This story is the one for entertainment based on historical facts. What came to my mind first in reading it was bamboo forests. I think it was around Nara Period(奈良時代). In those days, groups of foreign settlers were coming to Japan from China and Korea to make villages in various parts of the Western Japan and settle down there. They brought bamboos with them from the Continent of Asia and planted them around their villages. They had a culture where they used bamboos in their lives.

  • entertainment 娯楽
  • based on A Aに基づいた
  • fact 事実
  • come to one’s mind 思い浮かぶ
  • bamboo forest 竹林
  • in those days 当時は
  • foreign settler 渡来人
  • various 様々な
  • part 地域
  • settle down 定住する
  • the Continent of Asia アジア大陸
  • plant 植える
  • culture 文化

Some areas whose name includes “bamboo” at present or where there used to be an old bamboo forest may have been a place foreign settlers lived a long time ago. The woman who modeled Princess Kaguya, the main character of the story, was an offspring of a clan who escaped overseas from a disturbance of a war on the Korean Peninsula. She is very beautiful with a fair skin and clear-cut features and must have in her genes some blood of a Westerner who traveled along Silk Road a long, long time ago.

  • include 含む
  • at present 現在
  • there used to be A 以前Aがあった
  • may have pp 〜したかもしれない
  • model モデルとなる
  • main character 主人公
  • offspring 子孫
  • clan 一族
  • escape 逃れる
  • a disturbance of a war 戦乱
  • the Korean Peninsula 朝鮮半島
  • fair skin 色白
  • clear-cut feature すっきりとした目鼻立ち
  • gene 遺伝子
  • Westerner 西洋人

This woman was from a royal family who lived on the Korean Peninsula.  The place she lived in Japan was near the present Kyoto(京都) and surrounded by big bamboo forests. When disturbances of wars on the Korean Peninsula was over for a while,  some men, in order for the royal family not to become extinct, came to Japan in search of its offspring and took her back to the Korean Peninsula.

  • royal family 王族
  • surround 囲む
  • in order for A to~ Aが〜するために
  • become extnct 絶える
  • in search of A Aを探して
  • take A back to B AをBに連れ戻す

Crossing the Sea of Japan required desperate efforts and it was like going to the moon for the people. The warriors coming to Japan looking for the offspring were so strong with advanced weapons of the Continent of Asia that Japanese soldiers couldn’t defeat them at all. This incident was described in the story.

  • cross 渡る
  • the Sea of Japan 日本海
  • require 必要とする
  • desperate 必死の
  • effort 努力
  • worrier 武人
  • advanced 進んだ
  • weapon 武器
  • soldier 兵士
  • defeat 打ち負かす
  • not … at all 全く
  • incident 出来事
  • describe 描写する

In Taketori Monogatari, there appears a Mikado(御門), the Emperor of Japan, which seems to have some deep meaning. I don’t know if an emperor often appears in classical Japanese stories, but it seems that the Imperial Family and the clan appearing in Taketori Monogatari had much to do with each other. This is one of the romances of ancient times, isn’t it?

  • the Emperor of Japan 天皇
  • seem to~ 〜するように思われる
  • meaning 意味
  • it seems that S+V SはVするように思われる
  • the Imperial Family 皇室
  • have much to do with A Aと大いに関係がある
  • each other お互い
  • romance ロマン
  • ancient times 大昔

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