“The bathhouse organization privileges traditionally sanctioned virtues such as endurance and hard work, as seen by the fact that the only way Chihiro can rescue her parents is by taking whatever job is offered to her, no matter how burdensome. Chihiro must also relinquish her name and identity, suggesting that she must subordinate herself to the group, another value connected with indigenous Japanese social structures such as the prewar ie, or extended family. Finally, the jobs she is given evoke the teachings of the native Shinto religion, one of whose central tenets is the cleansing of pollution.”

From Matter out of Place: Carnival, Containment, and Cultural Recovery in Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away” by Susan J. Napier (2006)

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