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Chihiro (荻野 千尋 , Ogino Chihiro), referred throughout most of the film by Sen (千 lit. "one-thousand"), is the ten-year-old core protagonist of the Japanese animated film Spirited Away.


Chihiro is a ten-year-old girl with brown hair, brown eyes, and rosy cheeks. She is very petite and has a childish appearance and a pudgy face. Her attire includes a white medium-sleeved T-shirt with bright green stripes, bright red shorts, white socks, and sunshine yellow velcro sneakers. While working in the bathhouse, she is barefoot and wears a coral-colored kariginu robe with a white hitoe underneath, short sashinuki pants, and a tasuki cord for tying her sleeves up.


Chihiro's growth into a capable individual is a core factor in the movement of Spirited Away's plot. During her adventure in the Spirit World, she matures from an easily scared girl with a childlike personality to match her age to a hard-working, responsible, and brave young girl who has learned to put her fears aside for those she cares for. To protect her friends and rescue her parents from a spell that has turned them into livestock, Chihiro sheds her former personality and adapts to her environment to become a courageous, caring, quick-witted, and reliable girl.

As the story progresses, the strength of her bond with Haku eventually evolves into a heartfelt form of love that dispels Yubaba and Zeniba's respective curses on Haku.


Chihiro final scene

Chihiro ponders her experience after returning to the real world.

Director and creator Hayao Miyazaki mentioned that Chihiro has lost all her memories of the Spirit World after exiting the tunnel. However, according to Haku's promise, he and Chihiro will meet again someday. This may or may not refer to Chihiro's eventual death and transformation into a spirit. However, Zeniba's quote, "Memories are never forgotten; they are just difficult to recall," suggests that Chihiro could, eventually, remember her experiences at The Bathhouse and the Spirit Realm. Regardless, the fate of Chihiro and Haku's relationship remains unknown and is up to the audience's interpretation.


"I want you to know my real name. It's Chihiro."
—Chihiro to Zeniba
  • "The wind's pulling us in."
  • "I'm not going! It gives me the creeps!"
  • "But mom! Wait for me!"
  • "Wait a minute."
  • "Come on, guys! You can't!"
  • "What's up with him?"
  • "I'm dreaming! I'm dreaming!"
  • "I'm see-through!"
  • "It's just a really bad dream."
  • "They did turn into pigs. I wasn't dreaming."
  • "Kamajī?"
  • "Yubaba?"
  • "Please! I gotta get a job here!"
  • "Yes, ma'am."
  • "Just a minute, sir."
  • "He's a good person."
  • "I knew you were good!"
  • "We would like to go to Swamp Bottom, please."
  • "Wow, you're a big baby."
  • "Staying in this room will make you sick!"
  • "Germs! I got germs! See?"
  • "Haku!"
  • "Shut your mouth!"
  • "Lin, you know Haku?!"
  • "There aren't two him, aren't there?"
  • "I don't feel so good."
  • "Which ones are you?"
  • "Mommy!"
  • "Water?!"
  • "Bad dream."
  • "Don't you worry, I promise I'll get you out of here! So just don't get any fatter or they'll eat you!!!"
  • "No, you can't!"
  • "Haku, we're falling!"
  • "What are those weird buildings?"
  • "What are those stones?"
  • "My flowers are dying!"
  • "Kamajī lit the boiler already?"
  • "How long was I asleep?"
  • "I hope Dad hasn't gotten too fat."
  • "I'm going to go look for Haku!"
  • "Where is Haku?"
  • "Are birds chasing him?"
  • "Haku!"
  • "Fight 'em!"
  • "Come on!"
  • "Haku, you're bleeding."
  • "It's just paper."
  • "Thank you, Mr. Boiler Man."
  • "Please, I just want to work!"
  • "Please, can't you just give me a job?"
  • "Everyone, I need my shoes and my clothes, please."
  • "I think I can handle it."
  • "I guess my parents will have to wait."
  • (To Yubaba) "Thank you for everything, Granny."
  • (To Zeniba) "Granny, I can't remember anything at all. Haku could be dead already, and I'm just sitting around here. My mom and dad could've been eaten for dinner."


  • The name Chihiro means "a thousand questions", chi (千, "thousand") and hiro (尋, "search, seek").
    • Part of the name Chi (in Chihiro) and Sen both use the same Japanese kanji (千), which means 'one thousand', but are different readings of the same character.
  • Chihiro's surname Ogino means "reed plain", ogi (荻, "reed, rush") and no (野, "field, wilderness").
    • In some countries, Chihiro's surname Ogino was changed to Senko, so that viewers who do not have a deeper knowledge about the Japanese language wouldn't be confused when her name in the bathhouse was changed to Sen.


  • In an interview[2] regarding Chihiro's character design, Hayao Miyazaki informs the audience that "[He] created a heroine who is an ordinary girl, someone with whom the audience can sympathize. It's not a story in which the characters grow up, but a story in which they draw on something already inside them, brought out by the particular circumstances. [He] wants [his] young friends to live like that, and [he] thinks they, too, have such a wish."
  • Chihiro was based on a real-life girl: the then-ten-year-old daughter of a friend of Miyazaki's. This girl also made Miyazaki continue working after promising retirement from filmmaking after Princess Mononoke (1997).
  • Chihiro was also inspired of the character, Gerda from Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen: In Spirited Away, it is commented-upon multiple times how many people who come into contact with Chihiro will always end-up liking her and even helping her; in The Snow Queen, the Finnish wisewoman discloses:
    I can give her no greater power than she has already," said the woman; "don't you see how strong that is? How men and animals are obliged to serve her, and how well she has got through the world, barefooted as she is. She cannot receive any power from me greater than she now has, which consists in her own purity and innocence of heart. If she cannot herself obtain access to the Snow Queen, and remove the glass fragments from little Kai, we can do nothing to help her...
—The Finn Woman from The Snow Queen


  1. The Art of Spirited Away, page 54
  2. "Miyazaki on Spirited Away", Nausicaa