The Dark Side of Spirited Away

The Dark Side of Spirited Away

Over the years, “Spirited Away” has remained the highest position in the soul of anime lovers and even the normal audience. The stories began since young Chihiro and her quest to start saving her transformed parents by working in a bathhouse for spirits boasts wonderful values: the brevity of a little girl, the friendship, love and other valuable meaningful things . Plus, there’s the traditional Miyazaki slams against pollution and wastefulness, not to mention adorable spirits, harrowing chases and gorgeous artwork. Uplifting stuff, non? Like many other fairy tales, this wonderful, affirmative piece houses a darker side – the hidden theory of Spirited Away that’s a little bit scary and a little bit surprising about the story. Let’s explore!


Spirited Away: Chihiro - Haku

Bathhouse – The place where Chihiro works

At the bottom of the picture, on the door of the sauna, there is the word: ゆ, pronounced “Yu” in Japanese, meaning hot water. Public bathrooms have this right word in front, right? But, the good part lies in this place! In the Edo period (Tokyo today), around the 17th – 19th century, the sauna gradually changed to … buying and selling the bodies of women!

After the official operation hours, these saunas turn into places where men go to “find fun” and fans guess what, the female staff here is called? Exactly, just like the name in the movie, “Yuna”. When the operation of public bathhouses like this causes fever in Japan, it is the “yuna” who serve visitors to the bathhouse and “serve” those who stay in want to be “happier”.

According to Wikipedia, period: “Contributing to the popularity of the sauna in the Edo era were the girls who served here under the name: Yuna (湯 女, meaning sauna girl) These female staff often help tourists with their backs. After closing the door, a number of “steam bath girls” will “serve to the dock” tourists by selling sex. . “

In addition, if you pay attention, the fans will see that the guests who come to the bathroom are mainly men, the bathroom service for men is all female. There are a few male staff members working at the bathhouse, but these people are more irritable, more fierce than usual, and seem to work as a manager. Haizz, I don’t know what you guys think, but I feel like a pimp! Do fans remember the hands of the old, foul-smelling river spirit that Chihiro took a bath? After being “served”, he “exported” to a yard, considered to be paid to the little girl. If linked to the above images, it is quite evocative of many “associations”

Dark Side of Spirited Away


Not only was the employee’s name, “yuna”, used in real life, the bathhouse owner’s name was also used as well. The owner of the sauna, in “Spirited Away” is the old witch, also known as “Yubaba”. Fans try to contact a bit, do normal sauna owners need eyeliner, fake myrrh, mouth full of pills, red fingers and full of jewelry? Looks more like a lady

Besides, there is one more detail. When girls are sold for a long time, it is a custom for women to give their “daughter” a new stage name and tell them to forget the past and the old name. That person in me is dead! Yubaba did the same thing, giving Chihiro a new name “Sen”.

Zeniba House

The Name “Sen”

We already know Mum Yubaba changed Chihiro’s name to Sen (千). So, what does Sen mean? The word “Sen” has a very reasonable interpretation of the film’s situation, which is 1000 Yen in Japanese currency. From there, it can be seen that Yubaba only considers Chihiro a lucrative figure, an item worth 1000 yen in her hand. Therefore, the action of “No-Face” in the movie is completely plausible. Fans must remember the No-Face many times offering, bringing money, gold and other things to Chihiro, right? Exactly, “No-Face” is trying to use money to “buy” Sen, more specifically to buy Chihiro’s “virginity”!

If you love Spirited Away, you can buy products inspired by the movie at: Spirited Away Merch & Clothing 

Chihiro’s parents are in debt, so they sell her

The first scene of “Spirited Away” is a scene where the whole family moves house to a remote area and Chihiro’s father “accidentally” discovers a secluded road and decides to turn.

After that, the two of them saw a restaurant with goosebumps and sat down to eat comfortably despite Chihiro pouting. In the end, the two turn into pigs and Chihiro gets into the same thing as we know it just now. It all seemed “accidental”, but it wasn’t!

First, why did the Chihiro family move to live in a remote place with little traffic? Second, do any parents leave their car in the middle of the forest and drag their children down an empty road in the woods, even though there is a statue in front of it? Third, what kind of parents would sit “casket” full of food and dress their children behind?

There are too many doubts in Chihiro’s parents’ actions. However, there are several explanations that are quite consistent with what we have seen so far. That is: Chihiro’s parents defaulted on their debt because of dealing with Mum Yubaba (probably doing something like that, huh), so they had to sell their daughter to her to pay off the debt. They deliberately lead the little girl to the path into the spirit world, step by step leading Chihiro into the world. In the end, why did they turn into pigs? There is a good reason for this. They made a contract with Yubaba, letting her turn them into pigs (explaining why they were willing to eat strange food without suspicion) for who blamed their parents when they were turned into poor animals. ? Unexpectedly, Yubaba plans to succeed, turning them into permanent pigs, gaining both capital and profit.

You might be interested in this blog: Special Things about No Face in Spirited Away