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!

While this lesson is free, Makoto+ and Patreon supporters have access to bonus content including a downloadable PDF and sound files. If you are a member, please click here for the bonus content.

Please consider supporting us by becoming a member or patron!

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


Vocabulary & Notes



Vocabulary & Notes



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


Vocabulary & Notes


Vocabulary & Notes

Sharing is caring!

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Let's connect!

Hot Deal at TheJapanShop.com | Upto 70% OFF


Best Selling Bundles + Big discounts + lifetime free updates!

Click the learn more button below and give your Japanese a boost!

5 of 5 stars

Level up your Japanese with Makoto+! Starts with a free trial.



**The fun Japanese not usually found in textbook**

  • Laughs, Jokes, Riddles, and Puns
  • Vocabulary
  • Prefecture Spotlight
  • Etymology
  • Anime Phrase of the Day
  • Haiku
  • Kanji Spotlight
  • Grammar Time!
  • Japanese Readers and sooo much more
  • 5 of 5 stars