The earliest recorded version of the legend dates to the eighth century. The play however apparently combines two legends, one concerning the origins of the Suruga Dance (Suruga-mai) and another the descent of an angel onto Udo Beach. A parallel story may also be found in the 14th volume of the fifth-century Sou-shen chi. A poem by the 11th century poet
Nōin is quoted.
The authorship of the Noh play Hagoromo is unknown. The earliest references to the play in historical records date to 1524, which suggests that it was written well after
A fisherman is walking with his companions at night when he finds the Hagoromo, the magical feather-mantle of a tennin (an aerial spirit or celestial dancer) hanging on a bough. The tennin sees him taking it and demands its return—she cannot return to Heaven without it. The fisherman argues with her, and finally promises to return it, if she will show him her dance or part of it. She accepts his offer. The Chorus explains the dance as symbolic of the daily changes of the moon. The words about "three, five, and fifteen" refer to the number of nights in the moon's changes. In the finale, the tennin disappears like a mountain slowly hidden in mist.
An abridged version of the plot of play is attested in
German, with the name Das Federkleid, in Japanische Märchen und Sagen (1885). An English translation exists in the book Green Willow; and other Japanese fairy tales, with the name The Robe of Feathers.
A literary treatment of the play was given as The Fisherman and the Moon-Maiden in Japanese Fairy World (1880). Another version exists with the name The Angel's Robe.
^Young, Serinity. "Gender and Sexuality: Reading Females, Males and Other in Asian Folktales". In: A Cultural History of Fairy Tales in Antiquity. Vol. 1 – Antiquity (500 BCE to 800 CE). London:
Bloomsbury Academic, 2021. pp. 62-63.
^Pound, Ezra. "Noh", Or, Accomplishment: A Study of the Classical Stage of Japan. Macmillan (1916),
p165. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the
^Clouston, W. A. Popular tales and fictions: their migrations and transformations. Edinburgh; London: W. Blackwood. 1887. p. 190-191.
^Iwao, Seiichi; Sakamato, Tarō; Hōgetsu, Keigo; Yoshikawa, Itsuji; Akiyama, Terukazu; Iyanaga, Teizō; Iyanaga, Shôkichi; Matsubara, Hideichi; Kanazawa, Shizue (1981).
"Hagoromo densetsu". Dictionnaire historique du Japon Année. Vol. 7. pp. 9–10.
^Murphy, Maureen. "Some Western Productions of At the Hawk's Well, with a Mythological Footnote". In Tumult of Images: Essays on W.B. Yeats and Politics (ed. Peter Liebregts and Peter van de Kamp).
^Brauns, David. Japanische Märchen und Sagen. Leipzig: Verlag von Wilhelm Friedrich. 1885. pp. 349-350.
^James, Grace; Goble, Warwick, Ill. Green Willow and other Japanese fairy tales. London: Macmillan and Co. 1910. pp. 142-147.
^Griffis, William Elliot. Japanese Fairy World: Stories from the Wonder-lore of Japan. J. H. Barhyte. 1880. pp. 264-272.
^Nixon-Roulet, Mary F. Japanese folk stories and fairy tales. New York, Cincinnati [etc.] American book company. 1908. pp. 46-49.
^Drazen, Patrick. Anime Explosion!: The What? Why? & Wow! of Japanese Animation. Stone Bridge Press (2003),
Petkova, G (2009). "Propp and the Japanese folklore: applying morphological parsing to answer questions concerning the specifics of the Japanese fairy tale". Asiatische Studien/Études Asiatiques. 63 (3): 597–618.