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Irontown (たたら, Tatara) is a small settlement in Studio Ghibli's film Princess Mononoke and one of the primary settings. Ruled by Lady Eboshi, it is protected by a lake on one side and high walls surrounding its entirety.

Plot

Lady Eboshi's militarism has resulted in an ideological clash with the rulers of the neighboring forest, resulting in San's repeated assassination attempts on her. Ashitaka arrives in town in the middle of this conflict and becomes fairly popular while working to help settle the dispute.

Eventually, Irontown is destroyed by the Nightwalker. However Ashitaka goes back to Irontown with the rest of the people and helps them rebuild it. He decides to live there too so that he is able to visit San.

Inhabitants

Ironworkers

Irontown interior

Iron

The mining.

The Irontown is a fortress, where drovers are essential for food supply. They also carry ore from the mining to the fortress, where women use pair of bellows to pour iron. The blacksmiths forge rifles and cannons out of iron. The Irontown has many enemies, because Lady Eboshi rip off the Cedar Forest for resources and she became powerful due to her gun power. To fight the enemies on day and night, Irontown Guardians patrol on the wall.

Many inhabitants was prostitutes or discards[1]. Lady Eboshi gave them a living and a workplace. She saves many lives from starvation and disgrace. So the people in the Irontown respect her for helping homeless people. They will risk their life to protect Lady Eboshi by any means[2]

When Ashitaka visits the fortress, the inhabitants are curious and they badly want to see him as not many strangers visited the town[3]. They are very friendly to Ashitaka, because he saves two men from their town. Normally they distrust strangers, especially Lord Asano, who attacks Irontown.

Arms

Mononoke-weaponary

Pole weapons.

Beside rifles and cannons the people of Irontown use naginata, a Japanese pole weapon. The naginata, in the right hands, is as lethal as the samurai sword katana. The weapon is widely used by women. Skillful women know how to take distance from their manly opponents, who are physically stronger than them.

Secret Garden

Mononoke - Garden

The Secret Garden.

The Secret Garden is an isolated place in Irontown. In this area blacksmiths forge weapons. The blacksmiths are banned from their society and forced to sleep and work in this isolated area because they are sick and to prevent the sickness from spreading to the other inhabitants of the town. They wear bandages all over their bodies. Eboshi took them in, otherwise they had no place to live.

References

  1. NAPIER, Susan J (2005): Anime from Akira to Howl's moving Castle. Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation. Updated Version. New York: Palgrave Macmillon, 232-234
  2. Princess Mononoke, Manga, Volume 1, page 115 cc.
  3. Princess Mononoke, Manga, Volume 1, page 103
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