Toho started in 1932, although they wouldn’t adopt the name Toho until 1943. Since their inception, the company has done numerous releases to mark their anniversary, sometimes with a single production but often times multiple. Ikiru (1952) marked Toho’s 20th anniversary. King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962) noted their 30th anniversary while King Kong Escapes (1967) carried their 35th anniversary banner. Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991), a “New Year’s film”, celebrated their 60th anniversary. Next year, 2022, marks Toho’s 90th anniversary. As part of this milestone, Toho is celebrating not just on the big screen… but on the stage with a live theatrical adaptation of Spirited Away.
Like many locations the world over, 2020 saw movies being re-released in Japanese theaters to fill the void created by the slow down of new releases during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of those that Toho distributed was Spirited Away (2001), reigniting a fascination with the movie and further swelling its box office returns as it remains one of the biggest box office hits in the country. Following up this success Toho is producing a theatrical stage version of Spirited Away. Directed by John Caird, of Les Misérables fame, the stage performance stars Kanna Hashimoto and Mone Kamishiraishi sharing the main role of Chihiro.
The theatrical production is set to debut in February of 2022 at the Imperial Theatre in Tokyo, Japan. It will then tour other locations in Japan that include Osaka (April), Fukuoka (May), Sapporo (June) and finally Nagoya (June and July).
Below is the original press release for this event as well as an English teaser poster that was released.
Toho Co., Ltd.
presents the world premiere stage production of
(original title: Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi)
Based on the Oscar-winning film by HAYAO MIYAZAKI
(My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke)
Adapted and Directed by JOHN CAIRD
(Les Misérables, Nicholas Nickleby, Daddy Long Legs)
Imperial Theatre (TOKYO, JAPAN)
FEBRUARY – MARCH, 2022
(Tokyo, Japan – February 26, 2021) – Toho Co., Ltd. is delighted to announce the world premiere of a new theatrical production based on Studio Ghibli’s Oscar-winning film SPIRITED AWAY (original title: Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi). This production will be the first ever stage adaptation of the 2001 animated masterpiece by Hayao Miyazaki which became a massive box office hit in Japan and earned worldwide acclaim including Academy Award for Best Animated Feature of 2002. The Tony and Olivier Award-winning director and Honorary Associate Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, John Caird (Les Misérables, Nicholas Nickleby, Daddy Long Legs), who has been an admirer of the film for years will write and direct the stage adaptation.
Chihiro, the heroine of the story, is a 10-year-old girl moving with her parents to their new home. They lose themselves in a mysterious world of fantastic spirits, ruled over by the sorceress Yubaba, who turns Chihiro’s parents into pigs. After a series of bizarre and dangerous challenges, including the loss of her identity, Chihiro must use all her wits to survive in this strange place and return to the human world. The story of her struggle and resilience is a timeless gift to all of us, but especially to those striving to live through these present difficult times.
“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.
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 Toshi0, their most generous and inventive lead producer.
The double casting in the part of Chihiro will give me the chance to work again with the brilliant and charming Kamishiraishi Mone, with whom I had such an exciting collaboration on Knights’ Tale, and now affords me the same opportunity with the greatly talented, vivacious and moving young actress Hashimoto Kanna.
I must have spent a thousand hours working on Sen to Chihiro and look forward to spending many thousands more.” said John Caird.
“We, Hayao and I, both liked John’s vision. He is a person we can trust. I am looking forward to seeing Chihiro grow on stage under his direction,” said Studio Ghibli’s Toshio Suzuki, the film producer of SPIRITED AWAY. “I could tell how much he adores this story from his delighted face when I gave him a No-Face (Kaonashi) piggy-bank.”
Chihiro will be double-cast by Kanna Hashimoto and Mone Kamishiraishi. Kanna, who has starred and appeared in many films, will be making her long-awaited stage debut. Mone, known internationally for voicing in the film ‘Your Name’, has been delighting Japanese audiences with her versatile acting and singing talents.
SPIRITED AWAY will be presented at Toho’s Imperial Theatre located at 3-1-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo from February through March, 2022. The production will then tour to Osaka (April), Fukuoka (May), Sapporo (June), Nagoya (June and July).
Toho Co., Ltd. is a leading production company of theatre and film in Japan, internationally recognized for the Godzilla series and for Akira Kurosawa’s masterpieces. Its theatrical department has presented numerous original and licensed musicals and plays in Japan, including Broadway and West End imports such as Les Misérables, Miss Saigon, My Fair Lady, Man of La Mancha, Fiddler on the Roof, La Cage Aux Folles, RENT, Jekyll & Hyde, Fun Home, Next to Normal, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, Jersey Boys, Beautiful The Carole King Musical, Waitress and The Producers among many others. Recently, Toho has co-produced the Broadway musical Tootsie. Toho has also produced the Japanese versions of musicals from Central Europe, including Elisabeth, Mozart!, and Rebecca the Musical. The company also collaborated to create the original musicals Marie Antoinette and Lady Bess with the creators of Elisabeth, Michael Kunze (book and lyrics) and Sylvester Levay (music). Marie Antoinette was licensed and presented in Germany, Korea and Hungary. In 2017, Toho presented a new production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It directed by Michael Mayer, music by Tom Kitt, choreography by Lorin Latarro. Previous productions with John Caird include Les Misérables, Beggar’s Opera, Candide, Private Lives, Daddy Long Legs, Twelfth Night and Knights’ Tale.
SPRITED AWAY is a part of the programs celebrating the 90th anniversary of Toho Co., Ltd. Please visit https://www.tohostage.com/spirited_away/ for more information.