Bamboo Baby


This story starts off with a poor old man in Japan who goes up to the mountain into a bamboo forest to collect bamboo. The old man makes a living by selling items made out of a bamboo. In the forest he finds a shiny piece of bamboo, which he decides to cut down. Inside the bamboo he finds a baby girl, he takes this as a sign from the gods to raise the baby. As the little girl grew up she became renowned throughout the country for her beauty, through her beauty  her family was able to gain wealth. Eventually the family gained mass amounts of wealth to move from the countryside to the city, they moved to the city as the father wanted her to marry a rich man. In the city many wealthy individuals including the king wanted to marry her for her beauty. However the girl was unhappy because she hated the superficiality of the men and unconsciously called out for help. When she called out for help she remembered she was originally from the moon, and the people from the moon had heard her cry for help and were coming to bring her back on August 15th. While the girl was unhappy in the city she did not want to return to the moon, she wanted to return to the countryside and live an ordinary life. So her family hired an army to prevent her return to the moon but failed and in the end the girl was forced to return to the moon.

Background & Context:

This folktale was collected from a current freshman at USC. It was collected in a casual context over lunch after class one day. She is an international student who is ethnically Japanese but grew up in various places in Asia. Before coming to USC she lived in Singapore for seven years and before Singapore the longest she lived in a country was Japan for five years. She learned about the folktales through school as folklore was part of her school curriculum and in textbooks.

Final Thoughts:

This story was interesting and gave an important message. The message I got from the story is directed towards parents, saying you don’t alway know what’s best for your children and you should take into consideration your children desires. I believe this is the moral of the story because the old man wants his daughter to marry a rich man so she can be happy but all the daughter wants is to live a comfortable ordinary life. As the father did not listen to the daughter she suffered the consequences and had to return to the moon. This could have been prevented if the father had not pushed the daughter to marry a wealthy man and let her pursue her own desires.