Princess Mononoke is one of my favorite films of Ghibli.
“Ikiro”, or “Live”, this was the catchphrase of the film.
There were many phrases other than “Live” in Princess Mononoke that made me think.
I introduce the phrases which touched my heart.
Source of all the quotes of Princess Mononoke is from Studio Ghibli
Quote of Hii-sama
You cannot alter your fate. However, you can decide whether you wait or act on your own
This is the word from Hii-sama, who is the head of the village Ashitaka lives in.
When Ashitaka got a curse on his arm, she told the word to Ashitaka.
Destiny is destiny, you can not do anything against what is already happened.
But there are 2 choices, just wait and to do nothing or work on it dependently for the future.
Most important thing is not the destiny itself (what happened), but what you do after that.
Quote of Eboshi
Don’t show off your misfortune with a wise look
Ashitaka showed his cursed arm to those battling with San.
Eboshi said to Ashitaka to stop showing it off.
Eboshi wanted to say was it is not only you but also many others suffering.
Do not mislead villagers, she wanted to say.
Of course, real intention of Ashitaka is not showing off his bad fortune.
He wanted to tell people hatred just cause another hatred.
To make people understood the real, he showed his arm.
Quote of a Villager who suffers disease
To live is really suffering and hard, the world is cursed, people are cursed, still I want to live
A villager had suffered serious disease and he told Ashitaka not to kill Eboshi.
He told that Eboshi did not abandon him while others did not treat him even as a human.
It is said that this disease implies Hansen’s disease.
People who suffered the disease got discrimination and isolated in the past.
There are many cases such as even family members abandoned them.
To them, just to live in this world itself is suffering but still they hope to live in this world.
Because they know they still have slight hope even in this tough world.
That might be Eboshi to them
Quote of Moro
Be quiet, boy! How could you help her!
This is one of the famous quotes of Princess Mononoke.
When Ashitaka told Moro to release San, Moro asked Ashitaka if he can save her instead.
Moro must have irritated by the simple word of Ashitaka as he did not know the real suffering of San.
Even if San got free, there is no place for her to live as she was abandoned from human and have already adapted to the life in forest.
Moro herself wanted to save her if possible but knew nobody can do it.
Quote of Toki
As long as you’re alive, we’ll manage
Toki was a lady like leader of Villagers.
His husband Kouroku was opposite type, that is, person like a coward.
Kouroku realized Tataraba, which was working place for villagers burned out and said “Everything over”.
Then Toki told him “We can manage as long as we alive”.
Tataraba is the place to make money for villagers to live so I understand the feeling of Kouroku.
But as Toki told him he still have life.
We can challenge again and again as long as we live even in a desperate situation.
Quote of Ashitaka
To retreat is also courage
When San appeared to battle with Eboshi, Ashitaka told San to go back to the forest.
Retreat is courage, I understand it.
Just always to be brave is not brave thing actually.
Sometimes to retreat oneself also takes a big courage.
It might be for oneself or something more important.
Instead of small pride or superficial thing, we sometimes need to see the essence of the thing.
Those who can admit defeat or throw away small pride can be stronger than ever before.
We can live together
This is the reply of Ashitaka to Moro.
Ashitaka told Moro to release San and Moro replied to him to be quiet as Moro knew even Ashitaka can not save her after all.
Then Ashitaka replied “At least, we can live together”.
He also did not know if he can save San but he felt at least they can live together by helping each other.
Ashitaka did not give up the possibility of co-existence.
Live, you are beautiful
San got mad for being rescued and the words Ashitaka told San.
He told her he wanted to save her.
Suffered serious damage, Ashitaka still cared about San, telling her to live.
“You are beautiful”, the word gave her a big surprise.
Because she never thought she receive such a word after all the actions she took.
Ashitaka must have seen beauty of the heart of San.
So he wanted San to live from the heart.
Isn’t there a way humans and the forest to live in peace?
Ashitaka asked Moro if there is a way to live both humans and the forest in harmony.
This is the thing Ashitaka really want.
We humans might use all the sources on the earth as much as possible but that also means destroy nature on the earth.
If we just keep chasing comfortableness only for ourselves, the price we take in the future is beyond imagination.
What we eat, buy casually in our lives might lead to a destruction of nature.
I still remember the word my friend once told, “Buying something is same as voting at election”.
Buying the item means we supported the company which made it and the item itself.
I think this is the big theme of not only Princess Mononoke but other films of Ghibli.
Quote of Jikobou
It’s a human sin to want everything between Heaven and earth
When Jikobou running away with the head of The Sun God, Ashitaka appeared in front of him and stopped him.
But Jikobou told him that it is natural thing human wants everything on the earth.
Jikobou knows it is a sin, that is, natural desire of human, but it is the human he says.
That’s his excuse.
Yes, that’s the opinion of human side.
Quotes from Last Scene (Ashitaka & San)
Shishigami-sama (The Sun God) is not dead. He is life itself
San said Shishigami-sama (Sun God) dead but Ashitaka replied it is not dead.
Because it is life itself.
Shishigami-sama was not something to protect just either side of human or forest.
He save and kill both.
It looked like it was dead but its essence is life itself.
It keep living as long as lives going on on the earth.
I like you Ashitaka, but I can’t forgive the humans
Ashitaka was no longer just a stranger to San, he was a special one to her now.
To her, privately she likes Ashitaka but still she can not forgive the humans.
This is an emotional thing but San has grown up in the forest but destroyed everything she loved by the humans.
Forest, animals, Moro, everything never comes back.
So that’s that.
That’s OK, You live in the forest and I live in Tataraba. Live together. Go see you with Yakkuru
Ashitaka said that’s OK for she can not forgive humans and live separately.
I felt like it also implies human relationships.
Every person has every tastes, believes and lives, we should not force what we want.
But important thing he said was “Live together”.
Even if there are differences or battling (in this case humans and the forest), we need to live together.
Human, animals, forest, everything is same living creature on the earth.
It was 1997, Princess Mononoke had released in Japan.
I was 17 and watched it at the theater.
Now it is over 20 years but still the film and the messages don’t fade.
Rather the popularity of it has been increasing in the world.
In Japan, original religion was Shinto, which regard everything as God.
Stone, wood, river, sky, sun, star, you and I are God.
I don’t say I have any particular religion (I think most other Japanese, too) but if asked, I often said I like the thought of Shinto.
From Princess Mononoke, I felt same belief in Shinto.
If you like Princess Mononoke, I also recommend you to read Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.
If possible, please read comics as only the comics touch the deeper essence.
The Journey of Shuna (Shuna no Tabi) is also recommended.
This is actually not famous work of Hayao Miyazaki but I like it, too.
Theme of Princess Mononoke seems to be eternal suggestion for us.