Kaguya Shinomiya, without a doubt, is one of the most complicated Kaguya Sama love is war characters. She is outwardly cold and distant with a heart that beats for Miyuki Shirogane and yearns for family love. We love her for the mess of things she makes while trying to hide or deny her feelings for Shirogane. In essence, she is a maiden in love with no clue how to wade the deep, still waters of love and relationships.
However, Kaguya Sama: Love is War manga author Akasaka Aka, in the fanbook issue of the series, had explained from where he got the inspiration for Kaguya Shinomiya and Miyuki Shirogane. Shinomiya is based on Kaguya Hime, and Shirogane is based on Ootomo no Miyuki from the Tale of Princess Kaguya and Bamboo Cutter.
The old Japanese folklore of Princess Kaguya follows a moon princess who lived on earth at a bamboo cutter’s house. On close inspection, the parallel between Kaguya Hime and Kaguya Shinomiya makes absolute sense. Or does it? Let’s find out.
Kaguya Shinomiya: Who is She?
Kaguya Shinomiya is the eldest daughter of the head of the Shinomiya conglomerate. Brought up extremely sheltered with her life planned out, Shinomiya is unaware of several common things in the world. Being from a rich family, she tends to look down on people she doesn’t like or care about. However, meeting Shirogane and falling for him changes her, for she wants to be eligible for him (funnily enough, he is just the same). The change in her is an aspect of her personality, as highlighted in chapter 131 by the fortune teller when she called Kaguya, “The smooth surface of a calm lake.”
Kaguya Hime: Who is she?
Kaguya Hime or princess Kaguya is a moon princess who comes to earth to experience living on the planet, feeling emotions, and basically, being human. Studio Ghibli’s 2013 adaptation of the Japanese folklore took a different take on the moon princess. Where in the folklore, she seems like a cold, calculating, and the scheming girl who toyed with the feelings of those who loved her, the movie showed another aspect of her personality that the original writers didn’t express. The movie’s Kaguya was not cold, instead, she felt hopeless in her gold prison in the capital, while the countryside called to her.
Kaguya Shinomiya vs. Kaguya Hime
Mangaka Akasaka had drawn inspiration from the folklore The Tale of Princess Kaguya for the characterization of Kaguya Shinomiya and Miyuki Shirogane. As such, one can see a lot of similarities between the two women.
Both were suffocating in their lives:
One of the most important parallels between Kaguya Hime and Kaguya Shinomiya is how both of them were drowning and suffocating in their lives. Shinomiya, hailing from a rich family, finds every decision in her life pre-made with an expectation that she follows the orders. From walking to her school to going to see the fireworks, Shinomiya doesn’t have an ounce of freedom, and her only solace is Ai Hayasaka, her personal maid, best friend, and soul-sister.
Kaguya Hime’s life was no different, for the bamboo cutter curtailed her choices in his quest to make her a refined lady and a princess. There comes a point where she can’t step out of her home because of the ruckus created by the numerous suitors outside her home.
Both crave for love and not possessions
Studio Ghibli’s Kaguya Hime did not wish for the valuable things she requested of her suitors. All she ever wanted was love and a gesture of true affection from someone, which is why she almost fell for her third suitor’s antics. Kaguya Shinomiya, too, wants only love. She does not want grand gestures either, just a word or two would make her the happiest person in the world. As seen many times in the anime and manga, Shinomiya wants affection and acceptance from her father and Shirogane.
Both of them can be cold and calculative
There is no denying that Kaguya Shinomiya is cold towards people in her way or annoying her. She can be manipulative to get her way, as evident during the student council election arc in the manga. The Kaguya Hime from the original folklore is a calculating and manipulative woman who played with her suitors, asking them to do impossible tasks (however, wasn’t it the suitors who chose to do it, in the first place out of lust and greed?).
How are they different?
As much as they are similar, Shinomiya and Kaguya Hime are different people with different experiences. One difference is Shinomiya’s ability to decisively say no to anyone who proposes to her, while Kaguya Hime does not or is not able to say no directly. However, this could be due to the different times the two ladies live in, one in the 21st century and the other in ancient Japan.
Moreover, Kaguya Hime in the Ghibli rendition of The Tale of Princess Kaguya seems to have two parents who dote on her, even though the father can be unreasonable. On the flip side, Kaguya Shinomiya has never experienced the familial love that she craves oh so much.
What do you think about the parallel between the Kaguya Shinomiya and Kaguya Hime? Let me know in the comments below!