Studio Ghibli’s ‘Spirited Away’ has been adapted into a stage play

Hayao Miyazaki’s 2001 film Spirited Away has been adapted into a live stage performance and will debut in Japan 2022.

In a world premiere, the Oscar-winning film Spirited Away, directed by Hayao Miyazaki, has been adapted for the stage and will tour around Japan early next year.

The anime film has been adapted, directed, and produced by John Caird, known for his award-winning direction of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Les Misérables, and has worked in over 20 Shakespeare productions.

Spirited Away
Image: Studio Ghibli

The story of Spirited Away is set around a young girl Chihiro, who tries to escape a mysterious supernatural world after her parents are turned into giant pigs.

In 2001, the film received an Oscar for Best Animated Feature and, until last year, was the highest-grossing Japanese film in history.

The adaption by Caird was met with support from the original director. In a statement to IndieWire, Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki mentioned that he and Miyazaki both liked John’s vision, agreeing that they trust him and look forward to seeing Chihiro grow on stage.

“I could tell how much he adores this story from his delighted face when I gave him a No-Face (Kaonashi) piggy-bank,” he recalls.


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Caird shared his excitement and privilege to be working on the first-ever stage adaption of the film, describing Miyazaki as “one of the preeminent geniuses of world cinema and the greatest ever proponent of the anime form.” 

He tells IndieWire of his firm belief in the themes of Spirited Away: care for the environment, reverence for nature, a belief in the force of the good spirits within us, and the empowerment of young women and men to change the world for the better.” 

The role of Chihiro will be shared between Kanna Hasimoto, making her stage debut, and Mone Kamishiraishi, known for her role in the anime film Your Name.

We can only hope that international borders will be open by February 2022, so we can head straight to Tokyo and be Spirited Away.