Spirit away

The expression to "spirit away" means to remove without anyone's noticing.

Kamikakushi (神隠し, lit. "hidden by Kami") means "spirited away".[1] Kamikakushi is used to refer to the mysterious disappearance or death of a person that happens when an angered god takes a person away. Japanese folklore contains numerous tales of humans abducted to the spirit world by kami. Folklorist Kunio Yanagita records several tales of kamikakushi in Tōno Monogatari (遠野物語, Tōno Tales, 1909).[2]

Modern fictionEdit

In the anime film Spirited Away (千と千尋の神隠し, Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi, Sen and Chihiro's Spiriting Away), the main protagonist, Chihiro, is "spirited away" from reality to the spirit world.[3] There, she meets friendly and aggressive spirits as she tries to return before forgetting her memories.[4]

In the short story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, when the main character Ichabod Crane vanishes after being pursued by the Headless Horseman, he is rumored to have been spirited away by the specter.[5]

In the anime, manga and visual novel Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, one person dies and one disappears mysteriously every year in Hinamizawa village. This is known as "Oyashiro-sama's curse," named after the village kami Oyashiro.[6] The first arc of the series is called "Abducted by Demons" (鬼隠し, Onikakushi, lit. "hidden by an Oni").[7]

In the novel and manga Missing / Spirited Away by Gakuto Coda, the main character Utsume Kyoichi goes missing for a second time, in the company of his new spirit girlfriend Ayame.

In the manga Rin-ne by Rumiko Takahashi, heroine Sakura Mamiya disappeared for a week after being taken away by spirits, and she was brought back to this world by Rinne's grandmother Tamako. Sakura can't remember what exactly happened to her during these days, but as a consequence she gained spiritual powers that let her see ghosts, something that she wants to get rid of.

Kamikakushi is mentioned in a song "Madoite Kitare, Yuuda na Kamikakushi ~ Border of Death" by IOSYS. It refers to Yukari's mystic abilities.

In the video game series Fatal Frame many of the characters get spirited away[8][9] by ghosts often leading them into a spirit world where they use the Camera Obscura (射影機 / しゃえいき shaeiki), an antique camera-like device that captures images of spirits to either find a way out or save someone who has been spirited away.[10]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "神隠し". Jisho.org: Japanese Dictionary. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  2. ^ Reider, Noriko T. (April 2005). "Spirited Away: Film of the Fantastic and Evolving Japanese Folk Symbols". Film Criticism. 23 (3): 4–27, 79. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  3. ^ Ebert, Roger (20 September 2002). "Spirited Away (review)". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  4. ^ "Spirited Away: Plot Overview". SparkNotes. SparkNotes LLC. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  5. ^ Irving, Washington (25 June 2008). The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Urbana, Illinois: Project Gutenberg. Retrieved 6 April 2020. The old country wives, however, who are the best judges of these matters, maintain to this day that Ichabod was spirited away by supernatural means...
  6. ^ Henley, James (8 September 2009). "Anime Reviews: Higurashi: When They Cry". The Escapist. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  7. ^ "Higurashi WHEN THEY CRY". Yen Press. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  8. ^ Fatal Frame (instruction manual) (NTSC, PS2 ed.). Tecmo. 2002. Nine days have passed since Mafuyu, brother of Miku Hinasaki, had disappeared.
  9. ^ Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly (instruction manual) (NTSC, PS2 ed.). Tecmo. 2003. Many also say that, if you should happen to get lost in this forest, you will be spirited away to this lost village.
  10. ^ Brown, Andrew. "Scary Nintendo Memories: Fatal Frame". Nintendo World Report. NINWR, LLC. Retrieved 7 April 2020.

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