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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