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Spirited Away

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Shuang Yang
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Spirited Away

In one of the discussion sessions, Professor Pitelka recommended the movie Spirited Away as an introduction to Shito. I watched this movie many years ago. I really like the movie. I am a big fan of Ghibli studio. The movie is very interesting, but I did not make any links to Japanese history and rituals back then. Now that I have learned so much about Shinto, I decided to watch again to see how the movie reflected Shito related concepts and rituals. There is a particular part in the movie that really clicked with what I am looking for. That is when the god of the river showed up. Nature is an essential part of shintoism. Each river has a god. That one came as this huge stinky gross master looking thing to the onsen. Everyone was afraid and disgusted. Only Chihiro helped him. After cleaning, all the trash people threw into the river came out. It was a powerful moment to realize people’s selfishness and lack of respect for nature. It definitely raises attention to environmental problems. Shintoism is related to animism and deeply rooted in Japanese history and culture. Spirited Away is a great animated movie to show students and discuss Japanese culture. I can introduce Shito and lead students to explore more about it.