This story is the oldest surviving story of Japanese fiction. It’s known as the “ancestor of romances” and goes back at least to the 10th century. I read it as part of my reading bucket list – one book a week of the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. It’s the story of a poor bamboo cutter who discovers a tiny, beautiful princess in a stick of bamboo. He takes her home and he and his wife raise her. Not to spoil the story for those who haven’t read it, I will say that the princess, Kaguya-hime, is no traditional looking-for-a-prince heroine. She sets her suitors impossible tasks, knowing they will fail. She has no wish to marry, and the reason becomes clear near the ending, which I personally found quite moving.
This particular edition is a beautiful book to read. The illustrations are by Masayuki Miyata who was a master of kiri-e (cut-out illustrations). These alone are worth the price of the book.