spirited away

Kota Sumida

Japan 70

10 October, 2013

3-page paper

Spirited Away

            Spirited Away directed by Hayao Miyazaki is story about Chihiro (Sen) who is trying to help her parent and growing through work at Aburaya. She was one who always worries about everything, but through work at Aburaya, but she comes to realize that she has adaptability and patient. At Aburaya, she takes care of variety of gods and helps Haku from Yubaba at the end. Through Chiharu, Miyazaki tries to give us a message of one’s identity. For example, when Chihiro starts to work there, her name is changed to Sen by Yubaba. The name is one of one’s identities. Also, the director use food as a tool to indicate how people are ugly and strong, and memory is one of their identities.


            People are ugly, and Miyazaki shows this by using food. People have desires for such as food, sex and sleeping. They a hard time to deal with their desire, and most of all cannot control them well. Like parents of Chihiro, people are attracted by food all the time. Once her father smells food, he cannot stop thinking about it. Also, like animals, her parents begin to eat. Miyazaki here uses sounds of eating to make the way the eat ugly. In the scene, the sound is the only sound audience hears, so it is emphasized more. Moreover, when the parents become pigs, the food they are eating look very dirty and messy. Before they eat it, it looks very beautiful and delicious. The contrast of food Miyzaki shows gives audience image of dirty and ugly.  They as pigs lick their dish, and even though they are hit by someone with a whip, they do not stop eating, so here people get the sense of how people are greedy. That is why people are ugly. The parents represent us. We think that we are not animal but human beings; however, we are not different from animals such as pigs. By showing us these images of dirty and ugly, Miyazaki tries to claim that people are ugly like pigs.



People are strong because they can adapt any situation. Chihiro was about to disappear when it gets dark because they had not taken other world’s food until then. When she took a nut from the other world, she could keep being in the world. First, Chihiro worries everything and depends on her mother. Nevertheless, through working, she gets used to work there and adopt situation in new world. Like Chihiro, people have ability to be fit the circumstance. Even though they need time to change themselves in order to make it suitable, they will adapt. For new use or situation, people can change. That is why we as human beings are still alive. Our ancestors moved region to region in order to survive.  If the region they moved to was cold, they adapted the cold condition, and if other region was humid, they also changed to suit the weather. Without this ability, human beings had not been able to live. Of course, there are always feeing of fear and worried when we go to new place, try to do new things and live in new circumstance. Still, we can overcome and adapt. These reasons are why people are strong, and the director gives the sense of it from the scene when Haku tries to give a nut from other world to Chiharu.


            Miyazaki uses rice balls as a tool to show that memory is people’s identity. When Haku took her out, gave her cloth back and gave three rice balls, she started to cry and finished eating them all.  She feels easy and remembers her memory. Memory builds up oneself, so if people forget all their past, they are not themselves anymore; memory is themselves. That is why people vale their memory.  For Chiharu’s case, she focuses on working much, so she almost lost her memory and past. She felt sacred when she realized that she almost lost her identity. The director Miyazaki uses rice balls as a reminder for her, and the reason why he chooses rice balls is that they are very common and familiar with in Japan. By using common thing, he tries to make people imagine the process that Chiharu remembers her memory. People are afraid of losing their memory that is identity, and Miyazaki expresses this by the scene above.

            Food expresses how people are ugly and strong, and memory is one of their identities in the film, Spirited Away. People cannot control their desire, and they just follow it, so they are ugly. At the same time, people have ability of adapting any situation. They can change over time in order to make it suitable. Also Miyazaki shows how memory is important for us. Memory is our identity, so we are afraid of losing it. Through movie, Miyazaki uses food in order to express his thought.


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