I’ve noticed that several of my followers are Miyazaki fans, so I thought I share this little tidbit of information with you about Spirited Away.
I always wondered why the symbol “ゆ” (said “yu”) was on the door to the bath house. I asked my Japanese teacher, and he wasn’t too sure so I did a little research.
The symbol is used on the entrance to 温泉 (onsen) and 銭湯 (sento), or Japanese bath houses. The word “yu” is translated to “hot water”. So, makes sense to be on a bath house, yes?
Then I did more reading. During the Edo period, these public baths became popular for men because of women who started working at these communal baths, washing men and selling sex. These bath houses were called “yuna baro”. The woman were known as 湯女, or “yuna”. This directly translates to “hot water woman”. So basically, they were brothels. Guess what the woman who ran this bath house would be called?
(translates directly to “hot water old woman”)
Yubaba is the name of the woman who runs the bath house in Spirited Away. If you watch Spirited Away in Japanese, the female workers are referred to as yuna.
Chihiro was forced to change her name to Sen. Kinda like how strippers get names like “Candy”.
カオナシ/No-Face keeps offering Chihiro money. He “wants her”.
THEN I read interviews with Miyazaki. This was all put in intentionally. As we all know. Miyazaki’s stories are weaved with different themes and metaphors. He said he was tackling the issue of the sex industry rapidly growing in Japan, and that children being exposed to it at such early ages is a problem.
To me, this makes me respect Miyazaki even more as a film maker.
And also, frustrates me because so much gets lost in translation, and people see it as this cute childrens movie and this “master piece of animation” (which it definately is) instead of the real statement that it is.
Thought I’d share :) .
told this to my Japanese teacher today. He was speechless for a bit and then said “I NEED TO WATCH THAT MOVIE AGAIN OBVIOUSLY.” Haha.
“Some people turn sad awfully young. No special reason, it seems, but they seem almost to be born that way. They bruise easier, tire faster, cry quicker, remember longer and, as I say, get sadder younger than anyone else in the world. I know, for I’m one of them.”—
“You recite the bones of the body
as though it were a poem. Patella, femur, coccyx, your eyes
closed, head weaving slightly
as you travel up the body. Before you can arrive at the cranial borders, I put down Conrad and lean against you. You ask what I’ve been reading, and I tell you it’s the death of geographical mystery, when the last white patches of the atlas were shaded in and the dark corners of the world were given names. Maybe we shouldn’t know where all rivers begin. Maybe there
should be some native tongues
without translations. I want to hear drums in the jungle, I say, to hear the Earth’s wild heartbeat. You press my head to your chest
and help me navigate the pulse, atrium, ventricle, aorta,
as I close my eyes and discover
a land where true believers still
eat the bodies of their gods. By Traci Brimhall”—Eating Poetry: Late Night at the Library
I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground. So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind: Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.