In Spirited Away, we experience a wondrous world with many peculiar occurrences. One particular item I found interesting was Yubaba’s ability to completely control her servants by taking their names. These transactions got me thinking—what’s in a name and how do our respective names relate to our individual identities?
Now, through watching the movie, I believe that in addition to taking the names of servants, Yubaba begins to take the memories associated with those names but the essence of identity remains. For instance, Haku has nearly no recollection of his previous life yet when he interacts with Chihiro, he has the faintest feeling that he knows her, though when and how no memory remains. I believe this speaks to identity’s will to endure. Although our memories of personal identity can fade or stolen in the case of Haku, our essence remains, only to be awaken by the sensory experiences that were not part of our “core” memory--that which is believed lost.