The animation drama “My neighbor Totoro” is most chosed as one’s favorite film. For the reasons, people pick how cute Totoro is, and the pureness of two kids, and lastly the happy ending. Ghibli-made films were famous and liked by people because they gave dreams and hope to children. 

Just a few minutes ago, I was writing about my childhood and some sentences prasing the film  “My neighbor Totoro”. I wrote about the cheerful background and storyline. However I erased everything right after knowing about the inconvenient truth about  “My neighbor Totoro”.

The main point is that  “My neighbor Totoro” had its motive from a real event, the the Sayama incident. Some people say that is is just a rumour, but I insist it is related.



Why is it a real story ?
• The rumour says that Totoro is the God of Death, so the persons that can see Totoro are actually close to death, or already dead. What that means for the story is that when Mei goes missing and a sandal is found in the pond, Mei actually drowned. When Satsuki is asked about the sandal she cannot face the truth and lies about it not being Mei’s sandal. So Satsuki goes on a desperate search for Totoro, calling for him and actually opens up the door the realm of the dead herself. With Totoro’s help she finds her dead sister and they together go to their mother’s hospital. There, the only one who actually noticed that the sisters were there, was the mother, who also soon is going to die.

And in the ending scene, Satsuki and Mei don’t have any shadows some says.

•  The storytakes place in 狭山丘陵 (Sayama hills) where also 八国山病院 (Hachikokuyama Hospital) or 新山手病院 is, which is believed to be the model of the hospital where the mother is, 七国山病院 (Shichikokuyama Hospital).

There is also a murder-case (the Sayama incident) which has many scary coincidents with Tonari no Totoro. Especially that it all happened in May and both of the sisters names actually are May – Satsuki (五月), the name of the older sister that means May in Japanese and Mei (メイ), the name of the younger sister, which is how Japanese people pronounce May.
Furthermore, the fact that the little sister went missing and that both sisters later turned up dead. According to some rumors, the big sister saw her little sister’s corpse and went crazy and later should have mumbled something alike “I saw a ghost/monster cat (猫のお化け/化& #12369;猫)” and “I met a big raccoon” = Totoro, before committing suicide.


The cute and warm story of two girls, which was actually thought as a happy ending to most people actually had its behind story. It seems very frightening to know it so late, after watching the film for five times and loving the character Totoro. People who knew about the fact were definetly shocked and I was too.

Sometimes, truth can be inconvenient and it is better off not knowing it. Formerly I didn’t know but I truly felt it and agree now.


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