Studio Ghibli’s masterpiece “Spirited Away” which was released in 2001 and became a big hit all over the world, here we will introduce the unknown behind-the-scenes setting of Spirited Away!
This story is about an ordinary elementary school girl named Chihiro who gets lost in the mysterious world beyond the tunnel she stopped at on her way to a new house.
Chihiro’s parents, who wandered in together with her, were changed from Yubaba to a pig for eating and drinking god’s meal without money, so Chihiro decides to work at a hot spring inn run by Yubaba in order to somehow return to her original world.
As she worked hard, Chihiro grew up with various encounters and trials.
In the end, Chihiro was able to escape from Yubaba’s spell and return to the original world with her parents. There are many unrevealed mysteries and behind-the-scenes settings of Spirited Away, and even now, there are some scary urban legends about Spirited Away, consideration about the last, and behind-the-scenes settings whispered about.
The theme of Spirited Away is the SEX industry
Director Miyazaki himself said, “I think the most appropriate way to portray the world today would be in the sex industry.
Japan has become a society where everything is like the sex industry. The theme of this work seems to be the motif of the sex industry as commented in the following.
The “oil shop” where Chihiro came to work is thought to be a paraphrase of “yuya”.
In the Edo period, the term “yuya” was used to refer to a brothel.
And the women who worked there were called “Yujo”(means Prostitutes).
Chihiro had to work to pay back her parents’ debt by eating and drinking god’s meal without any money.
The circumstances are like the reason a prostitute ends up working.
And Chihiro is given the name “Sen” by Yubaba.
This is considered to be the name of the source in the entertainment industry.
Even more interestingly, the eight million gods who come to the oil shop as customers are all men.
Although some of the employees are men, the majority of them are women and it appears to be their role to serve the customers.
The title and the main character’s name were changed midway through.
It seems that this is because “Chisato” who is the daughter of Mr. Saeki(the model of Porco Rosso), was the model, but since the theme was related to the sex industry, it became “Chihiro” because of its honor.
Why is Chihiro’s parents’ punishment a pig?
The father of Chihiro’s was the model “Porco”,(PorcoRosso) so the word “pig” translates as it is.
Why is Chihiro’s mother so cold?
From the beginning, Chihiro’s mother told her, “Don’t get attached to me. It’s hard to walk”
She seems a little cold towards Chihiro.
In fact, director Hayao Miyazaki’s intentions were hidden even in the coldness of Chihiro’s mother like this.
Chihiro’s mother’s coldness towards Chihiro represents the typical image of a modern mother who works and does not treat her children as children, and asks her children to be independent”.
Chihiro’s father is also a selfish father who drives a car at a high speed and does not listen to his family’s attention at all which he portrays a typical Japanese father figure.
This was actually answered by Hayao Miyazaki in an interview, so the setting is confirmed.
Why was Chihiro able to leave from Yubaba?
The biggest mystery of Spirited Away Spirited Away is, “Why was Chihiro able to return when she made a contract? This means that. There are various theories about this on the Internet, but there are two leading theories.
One theory is that it is because Chihiro didn’t make a proper contract with Yubaba.
Chihiro wandered into that world and made a contract with Yubaba. However, if you take a closer look at the scene where he makes a contract with Yubaba, you will notice something.
In fact, Chihiro wrote the wrong kanji for her name (wrong kanji for ogi). From this, it is thought that Chihiro was able to return because she had not made a formal contract with Yubaba.
The other is simply because Haku made a new contract with a new condition that he bring the boy back in order to bring Chihiro back to the original world.
After making a contract with Yubaba, Chihiro almost forgets her name once, but when she sees a letter from a friend of Chihiro’s that Haku has kept for her, she recalls her name.
Thanks to that, Chihiro was able to act without losing herself, but when she took the boy to Zeniba’s place, it touched the back of Yubaba’s mind.
So, Haku made a new contract that said, “Instead of bringing the boy back, bring Chihiro back to the world she came from.
From this, it seems that it was originally impossible for Chihiro to return to her original world by contract, but she was able to change it to the condition that it was possible if she could find her parents from among several pigs.
What happened to Haku after that?
And the question that always comes up among the fans of Spirited Away is “What happened to Haku after that?
Haku remembers his real name and breaks up with Chihiro, promising to reunite with her.
However, it is not depicted whether Haku and Chihiro were able to meet again afterwards.
There are several theories, but the most likely one is that Haku was ripped to pieces by Yubaba afterwards.
In the farewell scene of Chihiro and Haku, the depiction of Chihiro and Haku’s hands being separated and only Haku’s hands being left on the screen as if they were lingering, and the sparkling hair band that Chihiro received from Zeniba are said to be Haku’s tears.
In addition, Haku offers to Yubaba to bring Chihiro and the others back to the world in exchange for getting the boy back. On this occasion, an angry Yubaba asked him if he could be torn to pieces.
At the time of the release of Spirited Away, there was an explanation on Ghibli’s official website that Haku had been torn to pieces, as per the worldview that “everything must follow the rules”.
Therefore, it is possible that Haku’s promise to reunite with Chihiro was “to meet Chihiro, who returned to the original world after Haku was torn to pieces and died, becoming only a soul.
However, this cruel explanation has now been removed, and instead, what Hayao Miyazaki said during the interview is the response that “Haku and Chihiro will never see each other again.
There is a possibility that the setting was changed from one where Haku, who was torn to pieces and became a only soul, and resumed in Chihiro’s world, to one where Chihiro and Haku will never see each other again, although Haku was not torn to pieces afterwards.
When the movie came out, there was a scene with a different ending.
It seems that when the movie was released, there was a different last scene than there is now.
The story ends with Chihiro moving to a new house, walking around the neighborhood, finding a river with a bridge over it, and realizing that the river is the reincarnation of Haku.
Since there are more than one or two sightings from the audience, fans are certain that there were scenes in the movie version that don’t exist on the current DVD.
The existence of this different ending is also used to explain the theory that Haku’s subsequent setting was changed at a later date.
However, there has been no comment from the official.
Maybe it’s just Ghibli’s way of saying that she likes to leave mysteries behind?
Why was it said that Chihiro’s name was extravagant?
When Yubaba sees Chihiro’s name for the first time, there is a line that says, “That’s an extravagant name.
I’m sure some of you may have wondered about this, but the letter “hiro” has the meaning of praying to God.
Yubaba seems to have said it was extravagant when she saw it.
Chihiro’s ancestor is “San” from Princess Mononoke
In the official setting material of Spirited Away, there is a description that makes us think that Chihiro is a descendant of San of Princess Mononoke.
Miyazaki’s company car appears at the beginning of the story.
The car that Chihiro’s family is riding in at the beginning of the film is the car that Miyazaki actually uses for his work.
There’s the festival from which the story is based.
In the southern part of Nagano Prefecture, there is a festival called Shimotsuki Matsuri that has been around for a long time.
Director Miyazaki seems to have gotten the hint for this story after seeing it on TV.