What Did Taki Drink in Your Name?

by Hazel

Makoto Shinkai’s Your Name (Kimi no Na wa) is a mesmerizing animated film that has captivated audiences worldwide with its beautiful animation, compelling narrative, and intricate exploration of themes such as time, fate, and connection. One of the pivotal moments in the film involves the protagonist, Taki, drinking a mysterious liquid. This act is crucial to the story, serving as a bridge between two timelines and deepening the mystical bond between the characters. In this article, we will delve into the significance of what Taki drinks in Your Name, exploring its cultural, narrative, and symbolic implications.

The Context of the Drink

1. Overview of the Film’s Plot

Your Name follows the intertwined lives of two high school students, Taki Tachibana and Mitsuha Miyamizu, who inexplicably begin to switch bodies. This phenomenon allows them to experience each other’s lives and gradually develop a deep connection. As they seek to understand and control these switches, they uncover a tragic event that connects them across time and space.


2. The Journey to Mitsuha’s Hometown

Driven by a sense of urgency and an inexplicable connection, Taki embarks on a journey to Mitsuha’s rural hometown, Itomori. This journey is a turning point in the film, leading Taki to the Shinto shrine where he hopes to find answers. It is at this shrine that Taki drinks the mysterious liquid, setting in motion a series of events that are crucial to the narrative.


The Mysterious Liquid: Kuchikamizake

1. What is Kuchikamizake?

Kuchikamizake is a traditional Japanese sake made by chewing and fermenting rice. The process involves masticating the rice, spitting it into a container, and allowing it to ferment. The enzymes in human saliva break down the starches in the rice into sugars, which then ferment into alcohol. The practice has ancient roots and is closely associated with Shinto rituals and the veneration of deities.


2. Mitsuha’s Role in Making Kuchikamizake

In the film, Mitsuha and her sister Yotsuha perform the ritual of making kuchikamizake as part of their duties as shrine maidens. This ritual is deeply personal and spiritual, symbolizing a connection to their ancestors and the kami (spirits) of their land. Mitsuha’s act of creating the sake imbues it with her essence, making it a potent symbol of her life and spirit.


The Significance of Taki Drinking Kuchikamizake

1. Establishing a Deeper Connection

When Taki drinks the kuchikamizake, he establishes a profound connection with Mitsuha. This act transcends the physical boundaries of time and space, allowing Taki to access Mitsuha’s memories and emotions. The sake, infused with Mitsuha’s essence, serves as a medium through which Taki can bridge the temporal gap that separates them.

2. Accessing Mitsuha’s Memories

The immediate effect of drinking the kuchikamizake is Taki’s ability to access Mitsuha’s past. He experiences vivid visions of her life, her feelings, and the catastrophic event that befalls her town. These visions are crucial for Taki to understand the urgency of his mission and to take action to save Mitsuha and the inhabitants of Itomori.

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3. Spiritual and Symbolic Resonance

From a spiritual perspective, the act of drinking kuchikamizake is akin to a ritual of communion. It symbolizes the merging of two souls and the transcendence of individual boundaries. The sake becomes a conduit for Taki to connect with Mitsuha on a deeply spiritual level, reflecting the Shinto belief in the interconnectedness of all things and the presence of kami in the natural world.

Cultural and Mythological Context

1. Shinto Beliefs and Practices

Shinto, the indigenous spirituality of Japan, emphasizes the worship of kami, which are spirits associated with natural elements, ancestors, and sacred places. Rituals and offerings, such as the making of kuchikamizake, are central to maintaining a harmonious relationship with the kami. Taki’s act of drinking the sake at the shrine is steeped in these beliefs, underscoring the sacred nature of his quest.

2. The Power of Ritual and Tradition

The ritual of making and consuming kuchikamizake highlights the importance of tradition and the transmission of cultural practices. It reflects a continuity of beliefs and the reverence for ancestral customs. Through this ritual, the film emphasizes the enduring power of cultural heritage and its role in shaping individual and collective identities.

3. Folklore and the Supernatural

Your Name weaves elements of Japanese folklore and the supernatural into its narrative. The body-swapping phenomenon, the comet, and the mystical properties of the sake all draw from traditional tales and beliefs. These elements create a rich tapestry that enhances the film’s thematic depth and cultural resonance.

Thematic Exploration

1. Fate and Destiny

The act of drinking kuchikamizake is central to the film’s exploration of fate and destiny. Taki’s journey to Mitsuha’s hometown and his consumption of the sake are guided by an invisible thread of fate that binds them together. This theme is encapsulated in the red thread of fate, a motif that recurs throughout the film, symbolizing the destined connection between the two protagonists.

2. Love and Sacrifice

Taki’s willingness to drink the kuchikamizake and immerse himself in Mitsuha’s memories reflects his deep love and commitment to her. This act of sacrifice underscores the film’s portrayal of love as a powerful force that transcends time and space. Taki’s determination to save Mitsuha, despite the obstacles and the risks, highlights the selflessness and enduring nature of true love.

3. Memory and Identity

The kuchikamizake serves as a vessel for memories, allowing Taki to experience Mitsuha’s past and emotions. This connection between memory and identity is a recurring theme in the film. Through the exchange of memories, Taki and Mitsuha come to understand themselves and each other more deeply, forging a bond that defines their identities and their destinies.

Narrative Implications

1. Plot Advancement

Taki’s drinking of the kuchikamizake is a pivotal plot point that drives the narrative forward. It provides Taki with the knowledge and motivation he needs to prevent the impending disaster. This moment of revelation propels the story towards its climax, as Taki races against time to alter the course of events and save Mitsuha and her town.

2. Character Development

The act of drinking the sake marks a significant moment in Taki’s character development. It signifies his transition from a passive participant in the body-swapping phenomenon to an active agent determined to change the future. This moment of transformation is crucial for his growth and the fulfillment of his role as Mitsuha’s savior.

3. Emotional Impact

The scene in which Taki drinks the kuchikamizake is one of the film’s most emotionally charged moments. It encapsulates the depth of his feelings for Mitsuha and the gravity of the task ahead. The emotional resonance of this scene is heightened by the subsequent visions and the realization of the tragic events that have transpired.

Symbolic Interpretation

1. The Red Thread of Fate

The red thread of fate is a symbolic motif that runs throughout Your Name. It represents the invisible bonds that connect people across time and space. The act of drinking the kuchikamizake is another manifestation of this theme, as it strengthens the connection between Taki and Mitsuha and sets the stage for their eventual reunion.

2. Water as a Symbol of Life and Connection

Water, in various forms, appears throughout the film as a symbol of life and connection. The kuchikamizake, made from fermented rice and water, embodies this symbolism. It represents the flow of life and the continuity of existence, connecting past, present, and future. The act of drinking the sake is a ritualistic affirmation of this connection, bridging the temporal divide between Taki and Mitsuha.

3. Transformation and Renewal

The kuchikamizake also symbolizes transformation and renewal. Just as the rice undergoes a process of fermentation to become sake, Taki undergoes a transformation after drinking it. This act renews his determination and sense of purpose, enabling him to alter the course of destiny and bring about a new beginning for Mitsuha and her town.


The act of Taki drinking the kuchikamizake in Your Name is a moment rich with cultural, narrative, and symbolic significance. It serves as a bridge between two timelines, deepens the connection between the protagonists, and propels the story towards its emotional climax. Rooted in ancient Shinto rituals and imbued with themes of fate, love, and memory, this act encapsulates the film’s exploration of the profound and mystical bonds that connect individuals across time and space. Through its intricate storytelling and powerful symbolism, Your Name continues to resonate with audiences, offering a timeless reflection on the nature of human connection and the enduring power of love.


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