Princess Mononoke is an anime film which was animated by Studio Ghibli and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It remains as among the most popular works of Hayao Miyazaki and is a story set in the Muromachi period which also involves elements of fantasy. Mononoke means spirit or monster and due to the popularity of Princess Mononoke, there have been discussions and various fan theories about the story. It turns out that one of the theories appear to be true after all, as recently confirmed by Hayao Miyazaki himself!
Princess Mononoke is a story about the last Emishi prince, Ashitaka, who killed a boar demon that attacked his village. The demon managed to bite his arm and left him with a curse that would take his life.
Thus, Ashitaka left the village to look for a cure and arrived at Irontown where social outcasts such as former prostitutes and people with illnesses live. He befriended a girl, San, from the Wolf Clan, and attempted to create peace and seek a solution for the curse.
There is a popular fan theory that the famous anime film, Princess Mononoke, is really about leprosy. The people at Irontown who are covered in bandages are suspected to be suffering from leprosy which is also known as Hansen’s disease. In the anime film, the people are referred to as suffering from incurable diseases and it is not stated what type of diseases they are.
Leprosy is a disfiguring disease which is caused by bacteria Mycobacterium leprae and Mycobacterium lepromatosis. Although it is not highly contagious, it was widely believed to be highly contagious in the past so people suffering from leprosy in the olden days were shunned upon and had to face great social stigma.
Before World Leprosy Day which falls on the 31st of January, Hayao Miyazaki confirmed that the characters in bandages are indeed suffering from leprosy. During the production of Princess Mononoke, Hayao Miyazaki had visited the sanatorium of leprosy in Tokyo and met with former patients who had been cured of the disease. Due to inquiries by former sufferers of leprosy, Hayao Miyazaki decided to speak publicly about his confirmation of the disease being leprosy in Princess Mononoke.
This confirmation brings relief to fans who may have been wondering about this theory since the release of the film in 1997. Perhaps there are many more fan theories which actually hit the mark but have not been confirmed yet. Do you have a fan theory that you believe in and wish was true?