Economic Analysis Of Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away

1244 words - 5 pages

Anime or animation started in the early 20th century by Japanese filmmakers who experimented with animation techniques. Hayao Miyazaki, a director, animator, screenwriter, and illustrator of such animated films is the creator of Spirited Away. Spirited Away is a film about Chihiro, a young girl who upon moving to a new town becomes lost in the spirit world after her father takes a wrong turn on their way to their new house. Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited away illustrates not only the struggles Chihiro has to overcome in order to save her parents who turn into pigs upon eating the food of the spirit world, but there are also many instants in which the role of the economy have caused an impact on Chihiro’s journey. In particular bourgeoisie, proletariat, and the informal economy are three concepts that are useful tools in analyzing spirited away.
Conflict theorist Karl Marx defines the bourgeoisie as the individuals who own the means of production. Some characteristics which will aid in recognizing a bourgeoisie is their tendency to exploit their workers, their flashy exhibiting of their wealth (nouveau riche) and their constant emphasis on their profits. In Miyazaki’s film Spirited Away the representative of the bourgeoisie is verified by Yubaba, a greedy and power hungry witch who owns a bathhouse that caters to the spirits of the spirit world. Yubaba illustrates several characteristics of a bourgeoisie one being her exploitation of her workers in particular Yubaba capitalizes Kohaku (Haku) and Chihiro (Sen) by taking both of their given names in exchange for working under her this causes them to forget their origins and identity making it easier for her to use them as she felt fit. Thus, illustrating immediately how much power she has due to her owning the bathhouse. Another instance that displays her bourgeoisie ways is when Yubaba places a slug in Haku in order to completely control him once again making him an easier pawn to utilize. There are many other signifiers of Yubaba being a bourgeoisie, such as her living in the top level of the bathhouse. This is an example of her exhibiting her wealth for all to see (nouveau riche). Another trait that gives away that she is a bourgeoisie is her continuous money counting which, when, Haku tells her “you still haven’t noticed something precious to you has been replaced” (Suzuki, Miyazaki, 2001). Yubaba immediately looks to the gold before looking at her child showing that she values profit more so than her family arguably the same could be said for her sister who she had commissioned Haku to steal from. Although throughout the movie we see Yubaba's illustration of the bourgeoisie, another group that it just as prevalent in their display of their role is the proletariat.
Conflict theorist Karl Marx defines the proletariat as the working class (blue collared workers). Typically the majority of people who are proletariat are manual labour workers. Some other distinct characteristics of a proletariat are...

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