Spirited Away Revealed: The Real Mythology & Folklore Explained!

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Spirited Away is not only one of the best animated films, but of the best films of any category. In this video, I will do my best to uncover all the Mythology & Folklore referenced in this Anime Masterpiece.
00:00 Intro
01:18 Torii Gates, Hokora & Dōsojin
02:52 The Bathhouse & Haku
03:52 Shadow Kami & Pigs
05:03 Masked Kami
05:52 Eat food from this world
06:22 No Face & Other Guests
7:36 Kamaji, The Boiler Man & Suit Sprites
8:36 Radish Spirit
8:59 Ritual Bathing
09:28 Yubaba
10:26 The Heads!
11:00 The Power of a Name
12:25 The Stink Spirit
13:54 Haku Dragon Form
14:04 No Face = Hungry Ghost?
14:48 Paper Dolls!
15:24 Bo, the Giant Baby
16:24 Outro
Please let me know which mythological reference you noticed in Spirited Away
Instrumentals in this video in order of appearance:
Prod. Gameboiii "Spirited Away (lo-fi remix)" ruvid.net/show-UCaCZ7RH6CgQfkl4JcO9aOAA
Prod. Chuki "The Path" ruvid.net/u-chukimusic
Prod. PB3 Beats "One Summer's Day" ruvid.net/show-UC9a-y1FXAmjGjSa3J08-UqQ
Please support StoryDive by donating to the channel Patreon: www.patreon.com/user?u=13589263
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#studioghibli #miyazaki #spiritedaway #anime #mythology

Published on


Nov 16, 2019




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StoryDive 11 months ago
Check out my breakdown of the mythology behind Ponyo! ruvid.net/video/video-w3daCR2J230.html Princess Mononoke: ruvid.net/video/video-f53ZCld72FI.html One Piece ruvid.net/video/video-UAoCC2pXWmU.html Naruto: ruvid.net/video/video-lVUxytLlJx4.html & Avatar: The Last Airbender ruvid.net/video/video-ZrKGg6a7riM.html
OPPOSITE 2 months ago
Ahmad Imad
Ahmad Imad 6 months ago
The Great Yokai War movie ?
Amelia Francks
Amelia Francks 6 months ago
Stfu u commie
Max PlaysGamez - Shares Gaming Experience & Stuffs
Date Of Comment: 8th Of May 2020 I Remembered Little Did A 7-Year-Old Me Knew This Was The *Most Magical, Inspirational, Beautiful, Detailed Lores & Mythologies Ever Told In An Anime Film...* When A Female Primary School Teacher Of My Primary School(Which I Had Forgotten Her Name) Decided To Load Up This Movie On A Screen Projector And Show It To My Entire School, Which In A Little Town, Back Then We Know Very Little About Technology, Back Then, There Was No Smartphone. However, The School Ended At The Scene Where Chihiro Saved Haku From Those Paper Dolls That Attacked Him... It Was My FIRST Anime Film That I Had Ever Watched. For Years, My Mind Was STUCKED On That Scene. I've Been Wondering "What Happened After That, What Was The Film's Name...?" I Thought I Would Never Be Able To Find This Film And Re-watch It Ever Again, As It Will Remain In My Childhood Memories Forever, In FRACTURED, DISTORTED Note Of My Life, But Yet BEAUTIFUL At The Same Time... It Was As If There's A Hole In My Heart That Can Never Be Fulfilled If I Never Finish The Film. For Years, I Find This Movies' Emphasis On The Various Themes Of Real Life, Such As Consumerism, Social Status Quo, Greed, Gluttony, Growing Up And Many More... IRONIC REFLECTION And Yet TRUE To What's Really Happening To The World Around Me, In It's Very Own UNIQUE, WONDERFUL Ways Of World-Building & Story-Telling That Demonstrates The Film Producers' Mastery Of Incredible Story-Producing Craftsmanship... Even If I Haven't Finished The Movie. Until Year 2016, I Was Just Simply Scrolling Through "Anime Movies" Section Online. Then, There It Is... The Image Of Chihiro In This Thumbnail(But With Orange Glowing Hue Background) Caught My Attention, It Was As If The Memory Flood Gates Had Opened, A Sudden Gush Of Chills And Goosebumps Floods My Brain And Throughout My Whole Body. The Title "Spirited Away" Called Upon Me, It Was My True Calling All Along... Seconds After, I Downloaded The Movie, Sit Back And Watched It As It Unfolds. But This Time, In A Fulfilled,Completed Fashion. After Finishing The Movie, I Am SATISFIED, I Felt WHOLE, I Felt COMPLETE. The Once Empty Hole In My Heart Is Fulfilled, The Experience Was Simply EXOTIC. It Was My FIRST Anime Film That I Had Watched, It Was The FIRST Movie That Made Me Actually Cared And Feel Related About The Characters. It Felt REAL, And It Still Is For Me To This Day. I Had Even More Questions Than I Had Before About The Film After I Had Finished It -- "What Were The Inspirations For These Creatures, These Characters?", "How Did They Manage To Give An Unspeakable Variety Of Meaning To Every Single Thing, Every Single Event That Had Happened In This Film In Such Beautiful, Coordinated Fashion?"... I Began To Search For My Answers As I Dug Deeper Throughout Various Platforms, Video Analysis, Mythological Stories... Now You Know Why I Am Here. #RUvidAlgoritm Anyhow, For Those Who Had Read This Far, Thank You For Your Time And Patience, Thank You For Reading My Story. Not Only That, StoryDive, I'd Like To Thank You For Your Research On *Spirited Away,* I Get To Learn More Every Day. I Wish You The Best Of Luck Every Day, Peace Out And Much Love.
Rifat Islam
Rifat Islam 9 months ago
!!!!!!!!!ATTENTION PLEASE !!!!!!!!!!! message for this channel's owner: Brother I am grateful that you work hard to make this video. if I could support your Chanel by donating then I would have definitely done that but i can't. My final message is there are some people who are grateful for work and effort so keep it up I hope you understand what I am trying to say peace
A m
A m 46 minutes ago
Actually the name thing Shakespeare points out, too. In the Public where banks create money out of thin air, courts convict you in colors of law and assumptions. Yubaba represents the govt and fictional world of slavery. Stealing their name represents what all govts especially western govts do. Why you use your name in capital letters on all govt and bank forms. Same reason why prior to 14th amendment Citizen was written with capital C and after its lower case c. Basically much like Yubaba the govt stole your identity and you consent to it using their money goods and jobs it offers for your survival.
꧁Kai_Nightcore꧂ 12 hours ago
It's 2021 for me and omg I feel bad for people that where waiting for 21 years for the second movie... It NEVER CAME 💔 but yea Haku HAS to be my fav bc he was my first anime crush ever... HES THE SAME AGE AS ME 12 EEEEE
niklas carlsson
niklas carlsson 21 hour ago
Just watched it, didn't understand it at all
Maria Makiling
This anime is creepy dont hate me
Just your regular Moomin
In Polish th title is Spirited Away: W Krainie Bogów which literally translates to "Spirited Away: In the realm of Gods"
no0dles 2 days ago
Thought this was Ponya for a while there
Ethan Storms
Ethan Storms 2 days ago
7:42 nah that’s dr eggman 😎
Batuhan yazar
Batuhan yazar 3 days ago
Why are the parents such assholes they should’ve stayed pigs and haku should have escaped with her
T 5 days ago
Baba is also another term in Japan for grandparents and grand aunts
Nisa Gül Özer
Nisa Gül Özer 6 days ago
ı wanna bf like haku
•Stormi •
•Stormi • 7 days ago
i am just wondering about the ducks , if any one any thing about it or how it was created, please tell me
Zancrow 8 days ago
I agree😁✌
Cresent moonlit Aura
Everyone is getting smarter when their intrested in Japanese movies. Edit: Also can you do Ride your wave I'll give you hints before watching this. There is this boy forgot his name because it's long. He nearly drowned but the girl had saved him and everyone confirmed her as brave. Then when they got older they met again lets skip in shall we?. They went riding waves but then one day he went without her and saved 3 boats each filled with 3 people in each boat he sacrificed his own self now they had this song called 'there you are out in the water' and everytime she sings it he appears in water. He says something like this 'I said I would always be there to protect you. Remember?.' I'm not gonna spoil more. Watch the preview I'm to tired.
Mohamed B
Mohamed B 9 days ago
when chihiro was asking Yubaba for a job. That's clearly a reference to post 1991 job interviews in Japan after the stock market crashed. post modernist mythology Lmao
Germania 9 days ago
Funny thing is. The ancient japanese Tribes like the Ainu for example, are clearly european influenced and have more european phenotypes. like more longer and caucasian features and longer noses, full grown beards! today still there are japanese people having those features here and there that look vastly different from other later chinese and mongolian influenced japanese, they are also ofton paler and stuff.. its super interesting, Japan has a unique and different background than many other asian countrys! maybe thats why there are some similarities to slavic language!
FlameDaName 10 days ago
never mind sento chi hiro (spirited away in japanese) represents the two names chihiro got
FlameDaName 11 days ago
spirited away in Japanese mean a thousand lands hidden by the gods
じゃがりこ 11 days ago
SkullKing 11 days ago
they stole it from fainted
JC Desierto
JC Desierto 11 days ago
Ever Wonder Why No Face Saw Chihiro Even She Was Holding Her Breath? = Cause No Face is considered as a NOBODY (no identity, no label, no existence, alone as a wolf) and realizing the same fate that time to Chihiro (trying to find herself to a new world [both reality and spirit world] with no one that can relate to) being a NOBODY (no relation to anybody on that area).. to somewhat No Face can relate to. SOOOOOooo same feather can flock together or same feather can see each other in their own language. TEEHEE #MyOwnTranslationOfMyOwnUnderstanding
Nicole Tolentino
Nicole Tolentino 12 days ago
POV When she return Chichiro and her family is heading to her school and Kohaku is one of her classmates
kai. 12 days ago
i always skip the ending of Spirited Away because it soo painful to watch, lol
Marc Meng
Marc Meng 12 days ago
Overrated Demon Slayer Came Along ...
Shannon Livaudais
Shannon Livaudais 12 days ago
@StoryDive Have you seen any shared origins between the hopping lantern in Spirited Away and hinkypunks in Harry Potter?
lânchánđời nguyễn
you have to be deeply soak into mythology and cultures to be able to create such movies.That is why new modern ghibli films are losing its soul
Alijah Santos
Alijah Santos 14 days ago
As of now the Demon Slayer movie: "Mugen Train" has surpassed spirited away in theater earnings in Japan. So Spirited Away is no longer the highest grossing Japanese film.
Banajit Das
Banajit Das 14 days ago
Lovorka 14 days ago
Thanks, amazing educational perspective, I really enjoyed it 😊
Study Vibes
Study Vibes 14 days ago
I want the old animae movie,all the graphic too..these days animae its too fake now
WilX 15 days ago
Fun fact: They made spirited away without a script, they made the film on the go.
Nadine Cassar
Nadine Cassar 9 days ago
@WilX oh ok dam i would have never known lol
WilX 9 days ago
@Rayd Matthew so do you like it or not? i dont understand lol
Rayd Matthew
Rayd Matthew 9 days ago
@WilX yeah I don’t get the praise of the movie. It’s alright.
WilX 9 days ago
@Rayd Matthew yes
Rayd Matthew
Rayd Matthew 9 days ago
That explains why it’s just a touch above average.
April Thun
April Thun 15 days ago
Well done
Dinico Foxy
Dinico Foxy 15 days ago
I watched this film for the first time a couple of days ago (on Christmas Eve actually!) Along with a few other Ghibli films one of the best movies I've ever watched beautiful music and animation I'm so mad at myself for not watching this when I was younger ❤️
Sandeepan Vk Bhattacharyya
Movies will come and go...but no one can replace this masterpiece
ѕσиια _χχ
ѕσиια _χχ 16 days ago
no face was one of my favourite characters in the movie
ѕσиια _χχ
ѕσиια _χχ 16 days ago
Spirited away is literally one of my fav movies since i was 6, im 14 now
Burnt Rice
Burnt Rice 11 days ago
Brad Miller
Brad Miller 16 days ago
The only thing negative about this movie is that I can't watch it for the first time again...... unless I can get a hand on one of those memory erasers from MIB.
Paty Luna
Paty Luna 17 days ago
Yu-baba is a clear reference to the red Duchess from Alice in Wonderland, a Big headed woman dressed in luxury and taking Care of a baby. Yu-Baba and Seniba are a depiction of Infinity and might Also reference that sense of duality that we can see in the Myths of Izanami having a counterpart.
Natalie Hurst
Natalie Hurst 17 days ago
I wonder if shikagami looks familiar🤔... Oh yeah it was also used in the Naruto anime!
Maria C
Maria C 19 days ago
could she beat goku tho?
Maria C
Maria C 19 days ago
i love goku
Prana Lover
Prana Lover 20 days ago
Incredible analysis, right or wrong, there are so many remarkable correlations. How could the filmmaker know ALL of that!
Ofer Horowitz
Ofer Horowitz 21 day ago
This is really cool. I really liked the names myths and usage. Thanks :)
James DeLozier
James DeLozier 22 days ago
I thought a kami was a spirit...
Maki Roll
Maki Roll 23 days ago
I heard that this anime is a story about:$€X
Andrea Marcovati
Andrea Marcovati 23 days ago
This radish creature was probably inspired by a big radish 😂
Badam Zorigt
Badam Zorigt 24 days ago
i love spirted away its very intersting and the animation feature is great i love it
H. Y.
H. Y. 24 days ago
you missed Krabat
I’m not stupid Yet
You know the little houses in the beginning well here is what I noticed. The little stone houses in the beginning for the spirits show up again when the spirits are getting of the boat behind the boat the city looking place I am assuming are those houses but bigger and that is where the spirits came from.
Lyra Martin
Lyra Martin 26 days ago
Do you know haku is actually a dragon
Jane Bumanglag
Jane Bumanglag 28 days ago
I tried watching this and now I’m sobbing... .
Baby Grizz
Baby Grizz 28 days ago
You should make a mythology video on this show called Hilda it has so much European folklore and would be amazing to learn about.
레인 Month ago
My first time watching this movie was last year, I got a copy from my classmate. And then I watched it again today because why not. And after watching I immediately searched for this kind of vid. Thank you for making this!
K M Month ago
I thought kamachi looked kinda like Eggman lol
Cody VIn
Cody VIn Month ago
I thought haku was a girl hahahah
Wadad Parker
Wadad Parker Month ago
I just don't understand one thing, this anime was supposed to be sad n was in the list with clannad n grave of fireflies n silent voice, wtf was sad in this?
ZEPHRON7 Month ago
I saw this movie and the movie: The Cat Returns for the first time when I was very young(probably 4 or 5 years old). For a long time I thought that this movie was just a dream that I had as a kid but I was never sure. I never forgot it but I remembered only parts of it(dragon and the train on water) When I was 16 I came throug a movie clip from The Cat Returns movie and watched the whole thing. But then it hit me. The artwork/ character design was very similiar to this dream/movie so I started searching for this and when I found it, the experience of watching this movie after such a long time was undescribable. It felt like a dream that I could watch all over again. I don't even know how to describe this feeling but it was amazing. Did anyone else experience this as well?
JonOnPaper Month ago
This is beautiful
Nathalie Duverna
The radish spirit was my favorite 🥰
Jadethebrave Month ago
Just saw this for the first time last night. My only complaint is that Chihiro's English voice is so effing annoying. Especially the yelling for no reason. I should've watched the Japanese one. Not the one dubbed in English.
bulletcorn Month ago
10:53 DAAAAARUUUUUMAAAAA-SAAAAN if u watched as god's will then you'll know
GodArcGX Month ago
I kinda feel bad now for river spirit.
The TrashCan
The TrashCan Month ago
*Spirited away is literally the first anime I watched* *It's literally so beautiful I live it so much*
Her name was sen this is totally random but in Chinese the character that was “sen” meant dry, so her name is now dry
Lotus Meaden
Lotus Meaden Month ago
When watching this as a kid I absolutely loved it, however, the one thing I still find funny to this day is that i used to be scared of No Face so I named him " Samuel " instead.
Aozawa Month ago
What about the hair tie that Zeniba gave to Shihiro ?
Ck Month ago
I just finished watching this anime and It was really nice I liked how the creator came up with this movie. I really hope that there will be another movie of this
M K Month ago
So. Many. Ads.
mochifuwu Month ago
8:52 hey that's yashiro nene
potato Month ago
Here I am with my last living braincell cooperating to read everyone's smart*ss comments and their theories 😭😭
Jianna Aguda
Jianna Aguda Month ago
User Of Google
User Of Google Month ago
I love spirited away and i really want to see some more stories with the characters please people recommend me some good fanfiction PLEASE
jupamoers Month ago
Isn't the main character of the Golden Boy Manga/Anime also called Kintaro?^^
Somday Month ago
"one of the best film, period." damn bruh that's biased AF. but i like it
Crystal Cyber
Crystal Cyber Month ago
Tell about Hilda netflix.
K linou
K linou Month ago
Chihiro's parents turning into pigs also very much ressemble Odysseus men turned into pigs by Circe in the Odyssey after eating her food
_Paws_ Month ago
You missed out on the female yokai that work with Chihiro/Sen in the bathhouse. Lin as well as the other women with white painted faces are called "shikome" or ugly lady. They put on make-up and paint theur face to look beautiful but end up looking worse than ever.
jonathan ducoutumany
Kudos to you for your work and your great knowledge of japanese culture
Evan Kramer
Evan Kramer Month ago
I think spirited away is a good representation of how life can just "happen" to you, as well as how you choose to interact with it. Each character and the way they carry themselves can resemble how life happened to them, most of them being consumed by their demons and desires, which could suggest why most of them look like spirits or animals (or pigs like Chihiro's parents). This would show how they don't have any control over themselves, and are also all so attracted to Chihiro's smell. When Chihiro first enters the bathhouse, Lin says it'll only take "a couple days" before Chihiro's smell wears off, possibly another metaphor for Chihiro's naturally innocence and humanity.
jonathan ducoutumany
Chihiro's parents car is an Audi, not a Toyota, but why then ? Because they are upper middle class ?
alicia Month ago
Because they are greedy
Laura Ess
Laura Ess Month ago
So interesting!
Eily Vollick
Eily Vollick Month ago
Where did you get this information, I’m doing a school project on studio Ghibli?
_ KeN _
_ KeN _ Month ago
After seeing No face now I know where Hollows in Bleach came 😆😆
Caleb Torres
Caleb Torres Month ago
But what are those purple and yellow spirits that look like tablecloths in 6:55
formula 10
formula 10 Month ago
13:57 dem chickan legs
leo Leondre
leo Leondre Month ago
19 years matte 16 cuz Your name took it😅 now Demon slayers gonna take it back again😣
Old King Spook
Old King Spook Month ago
14:17 reminds me of the Native American legend of the Wendigo
Anh Nguyễn
Anh Nguyễn Month ago
I just realized that when Haku warned Yubaba about her most precious thing being switched, the first thing she looked was at the gold in front of her. It took her a whlie to look at Boh... That's... kinda sad tbh
Mia Childers
Mia Childers Month ago
Damn so the heads are like drop bears
nobody special
nobody special Month ago
is that a synonym for disappeared?
Aaron Hyman
Aaron Hyman Month ago
This video does an incredible job explaining the folklore and backstory of the movie, but what does this film all come together to mean? I watched it for the first time and very confused by the story
Mija Vera
Mija Vera Month ago
No duck yokai reference?
Becca G
Becca G Month ago
The “don’t look back” deal also appears in an Old Testament/Hebrew Bible story. A family fleeing an evil city is told not to look back, but the mother does and gets turned into a pillar of salt.
Lucid 9 days ago
@Jazmin Asinas-David looks like somebody knows the Bible! the cities were Sodom and Gomorrah.
Jazmin Asinas-David
yes! lot and his wife!!
Guy Vizard
Guy Vizard Month ago
I'm not a huge fan of the manga or anime of Gantz. But the CGI film, Gantz 0, has so many references to ghosts and demons of Japanese folklore, including many you covered in this video, and they look great! (I consider it to be the best of the Gantz films, too.)
Abz Vlogz
Abz Vlogz Month ago
It really is my dream to meet Hayao Miyazaki once in my life and thank him for making such amazing movies, before I die.
kowaii Kitsune
kowaii Kitsune Month ago
*when you realize that if Chihiro’s parents had just brought their lunch everything would be different*
꧁Kai_Nightcore꧂ 12 hours ago
RIGHT!!!? But also if they did that welp the movie would not be hear soo THATS A GOOD THING THEY ATE THERE 😂😂😂
kowaii Kitsune
kowaii Kitsune Month ago
About the spell that Haku first blew, in my theory they are scales, since the sound effect was clinking and it looks similar to the part near the end where he transforms into human form
Kida Tash
Kida Tash Month ago
Not to mention, regarding the name thing, I'm sure Miyazaki took some influence from Earthsea as well, as he's been proven to be fond of Ursula. K.LeGuin and the books. By that I mean, names play a significant role in the books, where a character's true name is not only a major part of their identity but if you know a character's name, you have significant power over them. I don't know where Earthsea's influence for this comes from though, as it sounds like something that either comes from the Yahi tribe as LeGuin's father had a close relationship with the last surviving member, Ishi, as Ishi said in his culture a person from his tribe can't disclose their real name to any outsiders unless introduced by another member of their tribe. Or Egyptian mythology where the gods, such as Ra, have a secret name, which if granted to a person, gives you power over them. Personally think it might be influenced by both. But either way, by giving her name to Yubaba, Chichiro has given Yubaba power over her, which hinders her to remain behind in the kami's world as her servant. Edit: ah! See he mentioned it as well! Consider this an in-depth explanation then for those who haven't read Earthsea yet. Which I highly recommend because Earthsea is awesome.
Alexander Westenberg
Oh meeeeeen, thanks for this amazing video! So much interesting stuff! I also like spirited away very much. Before my first trip to Japan I watched it all night long:) thank you again!
Kha’lil Martinez
Kha’lil Martinez 2 months ago
Demon slayer passed them in sales crazy after what 20yrs
Hey, Maria
Hey, Maria 2 months ago
Still waiting for part 2...
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