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The original title of the Japanese anime "Spirited Away" is "千と千尋の神隠し". I know that 千尋 is the name "Chihiro" and 神隠 means "spirited away", so the phrase "千尋の神隠" makes sense to me. But what is the purpose of the first "千" ("thousand")? What does the whole title mean?

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The Wikipedia page has what you want:

"Sen and Chihiro's Spiriting Away"

Here, the 千 refers to "Sen". As кяαzєя notes, this is the name Yubaba uses to refer to Chihiro.

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    To clarify, Sen was Chihiro's name given by Yubaba. She stole her real name (dropping the last character of her given name) and her surname. It's not really a nickname... More of an alias akin to a stage name actors have. – кяαzєя Mar 21 '18 at 3:00

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