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Kaguya Houraisan

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蓬莱山 (ほうらいさん)  輝夜 (かぐや)
Kaguya Houraisan
hoːɽaisaɴ kagɯja (♫)
Kaguya Houraisan
Kaguya Houraisan in Imperishable Night
Eternal Princess
More Character Titles
Species

Lunarian (not native to Gensokyo)

Abilities

Manipulation of eternity and the instantaneous

Age

Currently ageless, but has existed for at least 1300 years. Stated by ZUN (in a drunken state) to be hundreds of millions of years old.

Occupation

Unknown, currently in hiding, formerly a moon princess.

Location

Eientei, was originally from the Moon

Relationships
Music Themes
Appearances
Official Games
Print Works

Kaguya Houraisan (蓬莱山 輝夜 Houraisan Kaguya) was once a princess of the Lunarians, a race of people living on the Moon.

Backstory

She was exiled to Earth over a thousand years ago for the crime of using the forbidden Hourai Elixir to make herself immortal. Arriving on Earth one day, she was found by a bamboo cutter and dwelt among the humans she had once despised. Though the Lunarians looked upon humans with contempt, Kaguya came to love her new home. Tales of her unearthly beauty led men from all across the land to seek her hand in marriage, Fujiwara no Mokou's father being one of them, but none could successfully complete her trial of the Five Impossible Requests.

The first was to bring her the stone begging bowl of the Buddha from India. The second was to retrieve a jeweled branch from the island of Mount Hourai. The third was to seek the legendary robe of the fire-rat of China. The fourth was to retrieve a colored jewel from a dragon's neck. The final task was to find the legendary Cowry treasure of the swallows. These potent treasures were eventually revealed to already be in Kaguya's possession in the final stage of Imperishable Night.

After years of exile, powerful emissaries arrived from the Moon; Kaguya had been forgiven of her crime and it had been decided that she should return. Kaguya, however, had grown to love life on Earth and had no desire to return to the lunar capital permanently. Enlisting the help of her friend Eirin, Kaguya escaped from the emissaries and fled to Gensokyo. Taking refuge in an ancient manor called Eientei hidden deep within a secluded bamboo forest, the two Lunarians began a new exile. After several centuries of isolation, she was eventually reunited with Mokou, who had also used the Hourai Elixir to become immortal, and the two continued their feud, murdering each other on a nearly daily basis.

Character Basis

Origin

Kaguya, and the whole of Imperishable Night, is inspired by the Japanese legend of the Moon Princess, also known as the The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, sometimes called the legend of "Kaguya-hime" (Princess Kaguya).

Name

Kaguya Houraisan (蓬莱山 輝夜) is her name. Her first name Kaguya (輝夜), means "shining night", "sparkling night", or "radiant night". Houraisan (蓬莱山) refers to "Mount Hourai". And indeed, to not only be able to find the location and survive the impossible perils of ascending Mount Hourai (a legendary place filled with powerful youkai, hermits, and other supernatural beings of every kind), but to also be able to enjoy a beautiful evening there, likely with some traditional Moon Viewing, would be to experience a truly otherworldly beauty: a shining night on Mount Hourai.

Design

Kaguya is shown to have dark brown eyes and very long black hair in a hime cut style. She wears a pink shirt with many white bows, and a long, dark burgundy skirt decorated in yellow with bamboo and flower shapes. Her 5 Impossible Requests are seen floating around her, probably waiting for her order to engage in a spell card attack.

Story

Games

Imperishable Night

During the events of Imperishable Night, Kaguya had been hidden in a secret pathway along with the true moon by Eirin to ensure any Lunarians sent to recover Reisen would not discover her. The heroines of Imperishable Night, however, did discover her, and challenged her to return the full moon to Gensokyo. After being defeated, Kaguya unleashed her powers of eternity in an all-out bid to break the spell of the imperishable night cast by the heroines. Finally she relented and the true moon was recovered.

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She now spends her days living in Eientei in a carefree manner, sometimes holding exhibitions of Lunarian treasures there for the rest of Gensokyo to admire. Her long isolation has made her lonely, and she enjoys telling stories to any guests she might receive.

Spin-offs

Shoot the Bullet
Kaguya in HM

In Shoot the Bullet, Aya Shameimaru encountered Kaguya on stage 9 and took photos of her danmaku.

Hopeless Masquerade

Kaguya made a background cameo appearance in Hopeless Masquerade on the Human Village stage. She is seen sitting with Tewi Inaba, Eirin Yagokoro and Reisen Udongein Inaba, where she'll occasionally close her eyes and fall sleep.

Relationships

Eirin Yagokoro

Eirin is Kaguya's servant and friend. She is also the one who made the Hourai Elixir for Kaguya, and when sent to Earth to bring her back on the Moon, she killed the other emissaries and helped Kaguya hiding herself. Now she serves Kaguya faithfully at Eientei.

Fujiwara no Mokou

Mokou and Kaguya are not on the best of terms. They'll fight to the death every chance they get. However, in Inaba of the Moon and Inaba of the Earth, Kaguya and Mokou's relationship seems much more casual instead, though that might be due to the carefree attitude of the author.

Spell Cards

Additional Information

  • Mount Hourai (Penglai in Chinese) is the name of a legendary mountain that floats above the sea. Its inhabitants were said to possess, among other treasures, the elixir of immortality. It was also the destination of one of Kaguya-hime's impossible tasks.
  • A silhouette of Kaguya occupies the front of Imperishable Night's jewel case.
  • In Inaba of the Moon and Inaba of the Earth, she is depicted as a terrible cook, and as innocent and naive.
  • Kaguya is also the name of a Japanese lunar-orbiting probe launched in September 2007 as part of Project SELENE to map the moon's surface.
  • Kaguya has a larger spell card arsenal than either Remilia Scarlet or Yuyuko Saigyouji and attacks confidently and without hesitation in the actual game. In addition, considering she was scrapped from Touhou Hisoutensoku for being overpowered, Kaguya being weaker than other bosses might not necessarily be true. Indeed, if one takes the Final A route in Imperishable Night, it is actually Kaguya who aids Eirin for Eirin's final spell card.
  • It can be conjectured that Mokou and Kaguya's rivalry symbolizes for the cycle of the Sun and the Moon: Kaguya, the Lunar Princess, and Mokou, who uses as an in-game avatar a fire bird that strongly resembles a phoenix.
  • Kaguya was planned to debut as a playable character in Hisoutensoku, but was scrapped from the lineup due to time constraints. ZUN stated in an interview that her moveset as initially designed would have been overpowered and unbalanced the game and there was not enough time to properly balance her strength against the other characters (coincidentally, the same issue was encountered with Mokou, who was also intended to be playable in the game).

Fandom

Official Profile

Official Sources