ByJess O'Kane, writer at Creators.co
Big in Japan
Jess O'Kane

Aw, Spirited Away. Beautiful characters, amazing landscapes and a heartwarming story to boot. There can't be evil lurking in Studio Ghibli's most famous film, right?

Wrong.

Eagle-eyed 9Gag user Brammesz spotted something interesting about Hayao Miyazaki's masterpiece - and the consequences will shock you.

It all starts with the inscription above the door to the bath house in where heroine Chihiro works in Spirited Away.

[Credit: Toho]
[Credit: Toho]

The writing above the door says ゆ - which translates as "yu," meaning hot water. So it makes sense that it'd be a bath house, yes?

Well, when Brammesz investigated further, it transpired that during the Edo period bath houses were basically brothels; places men would go to meet loose women and exchange sexual favors. The women were known as "yuna" or "hot water women."

The trail gets really interesting when you find out what they called the brothel madams in those days:

Yubaba

That's right...exactly the same name given to the horrid old witch who runs the bath house in the movie.

[Credit: Toho]
[Credit: Toho]

And then there's the fact that she gets Chihiro to sign over her name and become "Sen." It's customary for prostitutes to change their names and sign over their identities to their madam.

See also:

With all this in mind, Chihiro (or Sen's) interactions with No-Face suddenly become sinister. Remember how he keeps offering her money and tokens?

[Credit: Toho]
[Credit: Toho]

Extrapolating from all these clues, you might conclude that No-Face is literally trying to buy Sen - or rather, to buy her virginity.

And this isn't just all hot air. In interviews, Miyazaki has admitted this was all intentional:

I think the most appropriate way to symbolize the modern world is the sex industry. Hasn’t Japanese society become like the sex industry?

In other words: Spirited Away is actually about prostitution and the corruption of children.

[Credit: NBC]
[Credit: NBC]

While the official theory ends there, once you start thinking about Spirited Away in this light, you start tripping balls:

The climax of the movie features Chihiro correctly identifying her parents and returning to them - obviously suggesting that her innocence has been restored.

[Credit: Toho]
[Credit: Toho]

Remember when the stink spirit vomits up a dumpling as payment for "Sen" bathing him? All I'm saying is there is a serious amount of imagery there. Srsly.

[Credit: Toho]
[Credit: Toho]

Were the soot sprites actually a metaphor for crabs? MAYBE!

[Credit: Toho]
[Credit: Toho]

Poll

Is your mind blown by this revelation?

(Source: 9gag) [Poll Image Credit: Toho]

Latest from our Creators