The little-known inspiration for Princess Mononoke: A manga about a tribe in Papua New Guinea

It’s no secret that Hayao Miyazaki and his team of animators find inspiration for Studio Ghibli’s movies all over the place. Ponyo’s setting was inspired by a harbor town in Japan, Spirited Away’s world was based on a location in Taiwan, and Princess Mononoke’s forest came from Japan’s Yakushima Island.

But it was recently brought to light that a lot of inspiration for Ghibli’s movies came from a more innocuous place: a manga. The title is Mudmen, named after the Asaro Mudmen of Papua New Guinea, where the manga takes place.

Who are these “mudmen” and where do their inspirations crop up in Ghibli films? Read on to find out!

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We visit Tomonoura, the scenic harbor town that inspired Studio Ghibli’s “Ponyo”【Photos】

If you’ve seen Ponyo, Studio Ghibli’s adorable movie about a fish girl who wants to be human, then the above location may seem pretty familiar. That’s because it was taken in the port town of Tomonoura, where Hayao Miyazaki and his team spent months getting the inspiration and imagery to create their next animated film.

As massive Ghibli fans, we had to take a look at the town for ourselves and see what real-life Ponyo looks like. Read on to check out the beautiful scenery for yourself, and see the effect that Ponyo has had on the town, as well as the effect the town had on Miyazaki.

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【Photos】 Taiwan’s Jiufen — the Real-World Inspiration for Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away

Studio Ghibli’s visually stunning animated movie Spirited Away has long been this writer’s personal favourite. Its Alice in Wonderland-style adventure, the enchanting characters, the enormous, bustling bathhouse and of course the piles of mouth-watering food have had me going back to the movie time and time again since its release in 2001.

Little did I know, however, that the mountain region of Jiufen, situated just 30 kilometres from Taiwan’s capital city, is where creator Hayao Miyazaki drew much of his inspiration for the film.

Come with us now as we pair the many sights and scenes from the enchanting animated movie with their real-life counterparts.

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