Themes Of Japan 's Indigenous Religion

Decent Essays
Japan 's indigenous religion is Shintō, and its customs are enmeshed in Japanese culture. It is animistic, seeing gods and spirits in everything. This leads to a deep respect for human harmony with the environment. Many Ghibli films contain jinja, or shrines, and torii, or sacred gates, which are used to pay respect or give offerings in Shintōism. Ghibli films also contain kami, spirits that reside in all things. Princess Mononoke is filled with a kami (Odell 28).
Other Japanese mythology is seen through Miyazaki films through spirits that have the ability to transform their shape, such as the foxes and raccoons in Pom Poko. Buddhism also influences Miyazaki films. Dragons derive from Buddhist legends and are in Spirited Away. Buddhist statues are also seen in My Neighbor Totoro, and Pom Poko (Odell 28). All of his movies contain variations of spirits, demons, or fantastical creatures rooted in nature. There is a balance of empathy through his human elements, but mystery in his fantasy elements.
One major theme that runs through all Miyazaki films is environmentalism, or how mankind interacts with nature. This is closely linked with the Shintō ethic that sees the environment as interconnected beings that deserve respect. In Princess Mononoke, the center of the plot is focused on the conflict between humans destroying the forest and the gods and spirits who are fighting back. In Ponyo, the dumping of waste is almost her downfall right at the beginning of the movie
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