Cover Oscar-winning animation film "Spirited Away" by legendary Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki will be adapted into a stage play for the first time in Japan next year (Photo: Courtesy of IMDb)

Hayao Miyazaki's 2001 Oscar-winning animated film, “Spirited Away” will be brought to the stage in Japan next year

The legendary Japanese animation filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki’s acclaimed work Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi) has been set for a stage production, with a premiere date set for February 2022 in Tokyo.  

This is the first-ever stage adaptation of the movie, which will be produced by leading Japanese film and theatre production company Toho, written and directed by Tony and Olivier Award-winning director John Caird. According to Toho, the play will be staged at Tokyo’s Imperial Theatre and is expected to tour throughout the country during spring and summer, with Osaka, Fukuoka, Sapporo and Nagoya on the list. It’s also hoped that the play will be taken to the other parts of Asia and Europe for fans of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli to enjoy. 

“We, Hayao and I, both liked John’s vision; he is a person we can trust," said Toshio Suzuki, Studio Ghibli’s film producer of Spirited Away in a statement. "I am looking forward to seeing Chihiro grow on stage under his direction.” 

Caird also expressed his excitement for the collaboration, "I feel so excited and privileged to be working on the first-ever stage adaptation of Sen to Chihiro. "I have for many years now regarded Miyazaki Hayao as one of the pre-eminent geniuses of world cinema and the greatest ever proponent of the anime form." In addition to his work on “Les Misérables”, Caird co-directed the early 1980s stage hit “The Life and Times of Nicholas Nickleby.” He also wrote the book and lyrics for the 2000 Broadway musical “Jane Eyre.”

He continued, "I share a belief in all the most dominant themes of Miyazaki's work, themes that are at the core of the Sen to Chihiro world—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. I am looking forward with great pleasure to deepening my partnership with my dear friends at Toho through a new relationship with Studio Ghibli and Suzuki Toshio, their most generous and inventive lead producer."

Two actresses, Mone Kamishiraishi and Kanna Hashimoto, have been cast in the stage production in Tokyo as the female protagonist Chihiro of Spirited Away. Hashimoto will be making her stage debut in the production, while for Kamishiraishi, she is known internationally for voicing in the smash-hit animated film Your Name (2016).

See also: A First Look At The Real-Life Howl’s Moving Castle In The Studio Ghibli Theme Park

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