Tradition vs. Innovation and the Creatures in Spirited Away
Japan is perhaps best known for creating the world-famous film style: anime. Popular with adults and children alike, anime boasts unfamiliar creatures that are sometimes considered strange or disturbing to the Western world. Hayao Miyazaki, perhaps the most well-known anime director, screenwriter, and animator, presents such fantastical creatures in Spirited Away. The creatures viewers encounter resemble kami, or spirits, from Japanese folklore. This paper explores how these spirits illuminate the tension between tradition and innovation within modern Japanese society. Traditions are not only preserved through Spirited Away, but are made relevant for Japanese youth, who are often perceived to be slipping away from Japanese tradition.