“Through the pure heart and spirit in Spirit Away” by Joowon Im

The animation Spirit Away by Miyazaki Hayao starts with the scene that one family was on the way to their new house. The main character named Chihiro was uncomfortable with moving. On their way, they lost the way. And they reached a theme park that is corrupted for the economic crisis. Parents enjoyed the scene in the theme park and were escorted by delicious smell. They found only one restaurant opened with full of tasty food. Parents started to eat them immediately, but only Chihiro did not want to eat. Since parents ate food which served originally for gods, they changed to pigs. And the episode is continued until the family back to human world safely. This film has Miyazaki’s unique thought of the relationship between the nature and the human being or the problem of modern society. Unlike other his work, in Spirited Away, the main character is a passive person and has no supernatural power. Through her pure heart, audiences can be noticed the messages what Miyazaki wanted to tell people. 

When the parents were bewitched by smell of foods, and they started to eat them even there was no owner or permission to eat. In this scene, parents were represented human’s consumerism and greedy. Father kept saying it is okay because he has cash and credit card. It shows how human are selfish and centered thinking. It also portrays our society that money is all solution. He said and acted like he believes money solve everything. Parents cannot resist their desire for food and have no reason to wait until the owner comes because they have enough money to buy them all. However, Chihiro represents a child who has purity and never touches other’s possession.

On the Contrary, there are opposite  used scenes for food later. Haku gave Chihiro something like medicine that healed Chihiro’s body from being transparent to normal. It is the start of relationship between two. At first, Chihiro thought Haku is weird becuase he shouted her to leave here, but as he gave her medicine, she started to believe and depend on him. When Haku gave Chihiro the rice balls, the food used differently too. Chihiro ate the rice balls with tears. The audiences can realize she became stronger after this point. The rice balls helped to build relationship stronger between Haku and Chihiro. And also it gave her power and hope even she is in trouble. Another scene could be when Lin gave her meat buns after Chihiro did good job with river god; it also developed the relationship between Lin and Chihiro. When Chihiro leave for Jeniba’s house, Lin shouted and threatened to Kaonashi not to harm Chihiro. This scene proves their relationship got strong. These three scenes are different with the parents’ scene. These foods are warm, kind and helpful.

The story with Kaonashi and trash god also represents materialism and human selfishness. Since river polluted by human’s trash, river god is ruined his appearance with full of trash and stinks. Kaonashi tempt people by gold and people surely fail to gold. They were eaten by Kaonashi and only Chihiro who is only not tempted can save them. Through Chihiro, the animation is narrated. It alerts the audiences through Chihiro’s view.

The original title of Spirited Away is Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi. Kamikakushi means god take people away. In old days, Japanese thought when a child disappeared, god brought him away. In the film, Chihiro lost her name and be Sen; in this part kamikakushi is established. Spirited Away is funny fantasy that shows one little girl’s growth and find her ego. Furthermore, greed, consumerism and materialism are too carved in the film. During the whole story, only Chihiro is described as pure. She did not waver to the foods or gold. It is the reason why little girl is the main character in this animation. Through this animation, the audiences can realize the power and hope which the little pure spirit has. After I watched this all, I start to wonder what happen to all next. And what happens what if Chihiro looks back when she comes out of god’s world. And why she looked the tunnel attentively after they came out tunnel. Miyazaki depicted people’s never-ending greed and modern society through one little pure girl’s perspective. As parents turned to pigs because of their greed, it never happens in real world though, but it is enough to prove and alert us how materialism and consumerism are in modern society.


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