22 Prologue A Tale That Begins onthe Mn
On the other hand, when people
with good eyesight observe light striking
the Moon they should easily see that its
surface is spherical rather than flat. For
example, if you look at an enlarged pho-
tograph, there are clearly gradations at
the outer edge and the waxing or waning
border line. This wouldn't happen if the
Moon were flat.
Now, let’s return to the story of
Japan is an island country, sur-
rounded by the sea. This means that
even in ancient times, some Japanese
people probably recognized the existence
of the curved horizon and from that con-
cluded that Earth was round.
For example, when European
missionaries traveled to Japan in the
16th century, they tried to introduce their
scientific knowledge to the feudal lords
they found there. One item they presented
as a display of their knowledge was a
globe. However, contrary to the expecta-
tions of the Europeans, most Japanese
people did not show surprise at the sug-
gestion that the world was a sphere.
The fact that Japanese people have
gazed at and felt affection for the Moon
since ancient times is also apparent from
folklore, such as the story of the Moon
Rabbit. And although Otsukimi (moon-
viewing) festivals seem to have originated
in China, the custom of appreciating the Moon is said to have existed in Japan since the
J o¯ m o n period (approximately 14,000 BC to 400 BC). Most likely, it would have been recog-
nized then that the Moon was a sphere.
If Earth—like the Moon—is round and floats in space, then the idea that people should
live on both Earth and the Moon is a natural conclusion. Therefore, it’s not surprising that
this idea appears in the tale of Kaguya-hime.
The Moon has been appreciated by the Japanese since
The round Earth