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About Spirited Away

In 2001 Miyazaki Hayao 宮崎(みやざき) 駿(はやお) and his Studio Ghibli スタジオジブリ animation studio released a movie called  (せん)千尋(ちひろ)神隠(かみかく)し.

This would more directly be translated as "The disappearance of Sen and Chihiro" but the official English title is Spirited Away, which is a far more compelling title considering the subject matter.

If you haven't seen the movie, you should give it a watch or at least read the Wikipedia entry here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirited_Away

In the movie, the ten-year-old 千尋(ちひろ) is moving to a new town with her parents. On the way, they enter the world of yokai and kami spirits. Her parents are turned into pigs and 千尋(ちひろ)'s name looses a kanji. She goes from "Chihiro" to "Sen." 千 is read "chi" and "sen." [Learn more about the kanji 千 here.]

The longer she remains in the yokai world, the easier it is to forget her past and her real name.


What does 神隠かみかくし mean?

It is made of 神 (God; divine) and 隠し (concealing). In other words, to be "hidden by the gods." In the past, when a child went missing without a trace, it was said the child had been "spirited away." So, 神隠(かみかく)し is used for any mysterious disappearances.


The main characters:

  • 千尋(ちひろ) Chihiro, the 10 year old girl
  • ハク Haku, the boy who befriends and helps Chihiro escape
  • 湯婆婆(ゆばーば) Yuba-ba, the witch who runs the bathhouse
  • 銭婆(ぜにーば) Zeni-ba, Yubaaba's twin
  • 釜爺(かまじい) Kamajii, the old man yokai who runs the bathhouse's boiler room
  • リン Lin, another human worker at the bathhouse

I picked a few lines for us to break down today. Listen to Yumi read the lines from the movie and work through the vocabulary list. Let's get started!

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First, 千尋(ちひろ) realizes something isn't right.

うそ……(ゆめ)だ、(ゆめ)だ!さめろさめろ、さめろ!

Vocabulary & Notes


(いま)からおまえの名前(なまえ)(せん)だ。いいかい、(せん)だよ。

()かったら返事(へんじ)をするんだ、(せん)!!

Vocabulary & Notes


おとうさんおかあさん、きっと(たす)けてあげるから、

あんまり(ふと)っちゃだめだよ、()べられちゃうからね!!

Vocabulary & Notes


(せん): ハク、きっと(もど)ってくるから、()んじゃだめだよ。

リン: (なに)がどうしたの?

釜爺(かまじい): わからんか。(あい)だ、(あい)

Vocabulary & Notes


(わたし)本当(ほんとう)名前(なまえ)は、千尋(ちひろ)っていうんです。

Vocabulary & Notes


ちひろ。いい()だね。自分(じぶん)名前(なまえ)大事(だいじ)にね。

Vocabulary & Notes


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