In the animated film Spirited Away, there is a line (00:00:54) saying: 「お花しおれてっちゃった」, a contracted form of 「お花がしおれていってしまった」.

According to this page by 東京外国語大学, the difference between 「Vていった」 and 「Vてきた」 mainly rests on the positioning of the reference point on the time axis:

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I guess the concern of the heroine, who uttered that line, was on the flowers in her hands at that moment. Then why didn't she choose NOW as the reference point and say 「お花しおれてきちゃった」 instead?


3 Answers 3


I agree that the normal wording for this situation is, as you suggested, お花しおれちゃった (if the flower had completely withered away when the girl saw it), or お花しおれてきちゃった (if the flower was still withering).

And you are not the only one who thought this sentence was strange. There's a question in Yahoo! 知恵袋 discussing this line:



I admit I'm also having trouble finding the definitive explanation why she said しおれてっちゃった.

But 「自分の気持ちから離れる」, suggested in one of the answers in the linked question, would be a possible explanation. She might have said しおれてっちゃった with her mind as the reference point, instead of some particular time point. She might be trying to describe that the flower was "(mentally) moving away from her", something like "(大事にしていたのに)お花がしおれて、どこか遠くに行っちゃった".

  • 2
    +1. This is close to how I would have answered. I was thinking of using the phrase "the psychological distance between the girl and the flowers" with the flowers representing her life before the relocation. If Miyazaki had to have her utter a sentence in unusual wording at the beginning of the film, it would have to carry a meaning of some significance.
    – user4032
    Jul 20, 2015 at 22:11


Would mean the flowers are already しおれている. E.g. if you say 霧が晴れてっちゃった, it's not foggy anymore.


Would mean they are beginning to しおれる but are still relatively fresh. E.g. if you say 霧が晴れてきちゃった, it's still foggy.

Presumably in the heroine's mind, the flowers were already しおれている enough. Note that the ちゃった expresses regret. E.g. 霧が晴れてきちゃった would mean you liked it being foggy, but unfortunately it's starting to clear up.


The present tense of 「お花しおれてっちゃった」 is 「お花しおれてっちゃう」.

Let me put 「ちゃった」 or 「ちゃう」 part aside for now, please. So I can give you a clearer explanation of why the heroine chose the word 「~ていく」(「~てっ」 form in this sentence) instead of 「~てきた」 here.

By the way, this「〜てっ」 means 「〜ていって」 as you translated. And I think that this 「〜ていって」 is 「〜ていく」+「て」. So, my explanation uses 「〜ていく」 below.



The heroine used 「~ていく」 because she was seeing the future at that time. She was feeling the worst future was coming or some of the worst future had already come and more of them were coming. What she wanted to express was that things were getting worse and worse. So, 「~ていく」 matches her feelings more than 「~てきた」 which mainly expresses what happened in the past.



Then a question comes up: why did she use 「ちゃった」 instead of 「ちゃう」? The answer is that she used the past tense in order to emphasize "It's too late". I think that the nuance of 「お花しおれてっちゃった」 in this case is "it's toooo late! There is no longer any way to save these lives."

In general, 「お花しおれてっちゃった」 sounds strange a little in this kind of situation. 「お花しおれてっちゃう」, 「お花しおれちゃった」, 「お花しおれてきちゃった」(as explained in other user's answers) etc. would be more appropriate as a common Japanese sentence. But she said 「お花しおれてっちゃった」. To find out why, let's talk about the real world (not textbook world).

Sometimes people, especially kids, just create a new word or a new way to combine words in order to express and emphasize their real feelings. Existing words or ways are not enough for them.

Kids often use this kind of technic to exaggerate what they really want to tell, because they want to impress people especially their parents by using limited vocabulary (poorer vocabulary than grown people). And mothers usually understand this kind of kids' efforts and see through the exaggeration.

After the heroine uttered the line, her mother said 「あなたずーっと握りしめてるんだもの。おうちについたら水切りすれば大丈夫よ」 in the movie. Her mother was obviously thinking that the heroine was exaggerating it too much. The nuance of her mother's line is like "No surprise. There is a cause then there is its effect. And actually, it's NOT too late."

I would say that the heroine's line and tone were kind of very childish. It's great because we, viewers, can see the difference between childish her at that time and grown her after having experienced the special things in the movie.


So, I think that the heroine's reference point was "now", but she used the past tense 「ちゃった」 in order to emphasize "it's too late." It's not a common way to say. It's the heroine's way to emphasize her real feelings as a child to her parents.

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