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Joe Hisaishi

Mamoru Fujisawa ( Fujisawa Mamoru, born

December 6, 1950), known professionally as Joe Hisaishi ( Hisaishi J), is a composer and musical
director known for over 100 lm scores and solo albums
dating back to 1981.* [1]

in 19781983), inuenced Hisaishi's compositions. He

developed his music from minimalist ideas and expanded
toward orchestral work. Around 1975, Hisaishi presented
his rst public performance, spreading his name around
his community. His rst album, MKWAJU, was released
While possessing a stylistically distinct sound, Hisaishi's in 1981, with Information being released a year later. His
rst major anime scores were Hajime Ningen Gyatoruz
music has been known to explore and incorporate dierent genres, including minimalist, experimental electronic, (1974) and Robokko Beeton (1976).
European classical, and Japanese classical. Lesser known As his works were becoming well known, Hisaishi forare the other musical roles he plays; he is also a typesetter, mulated an alias inspired by Quincy Jones, an Africanauthor, arranger, and conductor.
American musician and producer. Retranscribed in
He is best known for his work with animator Hayao Japanese, Quincy Jonesbecame Joe Hisaishi.(
Miyazaki, having composed scores for many of his lms, Quincy,pronounced Kuinshiin Japanese, can be
kanji inHisaishi";Joecomes
including Nausica of the Valley of the Wind (1984), written using the same
Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986), My Neighbor Totoro (1988), Kiki's Delivery Service (1989), Porco Rosso
(1992), Princess Mononoke (1997), Spirited Away (2001),
Howl's Moving Castle (2004), Ponyo (2008), and The
Wind Rises (2013). He is also recognized for the soundtracks he has provided for lmmaker 'Beat' Takeshi Kitano, including A Scene at the Sea (1991), Sonatine
(1993), Kids Return (1996), Hana-bi (1997), Kikujiro
(1999), and Dolls (2002), as well for the video game Ni
no Kuni. He was a student of legendary anime composer
Takeo Watanabe.


1.2 198198: Anime lm industry

In 1981 Hisaishi, with his new name, released his rst album of art music, MKWAJU, and in 1982 the electropopminimalist album Information. Then, in 1983, Hisaishi
was recommended by Tokuma, who had published Information, to create an image album for Nausica of the Valley of the Wind. Hisaishi and the director of the animated
lm, Hayao Miyazaki, became great friends and would
work together on many future projects. This big break
led to Hisaishi's overwhelming success as a composer
of lm scores. In 1986, Laputa: Castle in the Sky, and
later, in the 1990s, Porco Rosso and Princess Mononoke
were released. As Hisaishi strengthened his reputation as
one of the budding anime industry's top musical contributors, his compositions (including eight theatrical lms
and one OAV) would proceed to become some of the
very hallmarks of early anime in the 1980s and 1990s.
Hisaishi also composed for such TV and movie hits as
Sasuga no Sarutobi, Two Down Full Base, Tonde Mon
Pe and the anime Tekuno porisu 21C (all 1982), Sasuraiger (1983), Futari Taka (1984), Hon no Alpen Rose
(1985) and Oz no mahtsukai (1986). He also scored
the sci- adventure series Mospeada (1983), which was
later reworked (without his music) into the third segment of Carl Macek's compilation, Robotech. Other lms
he scored included Mobile Suit Gundam Movie II: Soldiers of Sorrow (1981), Mobile Suit Gundam Movie III:
Encounters in Space, (1982), Birth (Bsu) (1984), Arion
(1986), Robot Carnival (1987), Totoro (1988), Crest of
the Royal Family and Maison Ikkoku Apartment Fantasy (both 1988), Venus Wars (1989), Kiki's Delivery
Service (1989), Porco Rosso (1992) and Ocean Heaven

Early life

Hisaishi was born in Nakano, Nagano, Japan as Mamoru

Fujisawa ( Fujisawa Mamoru). When he started
to take violin lessons at the age of ve, Hisaishi discovered his passion for music. Realizing his love, he attended the Kunitachi College of Music in 1969 to major in music composition. Hisaishi collaborated with
minimalist artists as a typesetter, furthering his experience in the musical world.
He enjoyed his rst success of the business in 1974 when
he composed music for a small animation called Gyatoruzu. This and other early works were created under his
given name. During this period, he composed for Sasuga
no Sarutobi (Academy of Ninja) and Futari Taka (A Full
In the 1970s, Japanese popular music, electronic music,
and new-age music ourished; those genres, as well as
the Yellow Magic Orchestra (a Japanese electronic band


(2010). He also did theme song arrangements and composed other anime opening, closing, and insert title theme
songs such as Mah Shjo Lalabel (1980), Hello! Sandybell (1981), Meiken Jolie (1981), Voltron (1981), Ai Shite
Knight (1983), Creamy Mami, the Magic Angel: Curtain Call (1986), and Kimagure Orange Road: The Movie
As more exposure was given to Hisaishi and the anime
industry, his career grew. He initiated a solo career, began to produce music, and created his own label (Wonder Land Inc.) in 1988. A year later, Hisaishi released
his solo album Pretender as the rst album under the new


19982004: Worldwide success

In 1998, Hisaishi provided the soundtrack to the 1998

Winter Paralympics. The following year, he composed
the music for the third installment in a series of popular
computer-animated educational lms about the human
In 2001, Hisaishi produced music for Takeshi Kitano's
lm, Brother, and Hayao Miyazaki's animated lm,
Spirited Away. He also served as executive producer of
the Night Fantasia 4 Movement at the Japan Expo in
Fukushima 2001. On October 6, Hisaishi made his debut as a lm director in Quartet, having also written both
its music and script. The lm received excellent reviews
at the Montreal Film Festival. His rst soundtrack for
a foreign lm, Le Petit Poucet, was released in the same

Joe Hisaishi in Krakw, 2011

leased in 2008, as well as the score for Jiang Wen's lm,

The Sun Also Rises ().

In 2008, Hisaishi composed soundtracks for Academy

Award-winning lm Departures as well as for I'd Rather
Be a Shellsh ( Watashi wa Kai
ni Naritai), a post-World War II war crimes trial drama
Another Miyazaki lm, Howl's Moving Castle, for which which is based on the 1959 Tetsutaro Kato novel and
Hisaishi composed the score, was released on November lm currently being remade and directed by Katsuo
20, 2004, in Japan. From November 3 to 29, 2004, Hi- Fukuzawa, starring Masahiro Nakai and Yukie Nakama.
saishi embarked on his Joe Hisaishi Freedom Piano
Hisaishi also released a new solo album in early 2009 feaStories 2004tour with Canadian musicians. In 2005, he
turing tracks from Shellsh and Departures.
composed the soundtrack for the Korean lm, Welcome
to Dongmakgol (
). He also partook in Ko- On June 28, 2013 Hisaishi was among those invited to
rea's historically landmarked big budget drama series pro- join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
duction by composing the soundtrack for Korea's MBC This honor is extended to thosewho have distinguished
drama series, The Legend (
The Story of themselves by their contributions to theatrical motion pic*
the First King's Four Gods), which released in 2007. tures. [3]
Hisaishi has a large fan base in Korea due to the popular- In 2013 his music scored Legends of the Deep: Giant
ity of Miyazaki lms.
squid,* [4] a wildlife documentary featuring the rst-ever



In 2006, Hisaishi released a studio album, Asian X.T.C.,

the compositions of which demonstrated a signicantly
eclectic and contemporary Eastern style. The erhu player
of the Chinese band 12 Girls Band Zhan Li Jun played in
a live concert featuring music from that album. The following year, he composed and recorded the soundtrack
for Frederic Lepage's lm, Sunny and the Elephant and
the Miyazaki lm, Ponyo on the Cli by the Sea, both re-

lming of this reclusive creature (narrated by David Attenborough for BBC's Natural World special Giant Squid:
Filming the Impossible).* [5]

2 Awards and recognition

As a result of his work throughout the years, Hisaishi
has won the Japanese Academy Award for Best Music
seven timesin 1992,* [6] 1993,* [7] 1994,* [8] 1999,* [9]
2000,* [10] 2009,* [11] and 2011.* [12] He also received

the 48th Newcomer Award in 1997 from the Ministry of
Education (Public Entertainment Section) among numerous other awards, being recognized as an inuential gure
in the Japanese lm industry.
In November 2009, he was awarded with a Medal of Honour with purple ribbon by the Government of Japan.* [13]


Main article: Joe Hisaishi discography

Notable compositions
Nausica of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986)
My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
Kiki's Delivery Service (1989)
Porco Rosso (1992)
Sonatine (1993)
Kids Return (1996)
Princess Mononoke (1997)
Hana-bi (1997)
Spirited Away (2001)
Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
Ponyo (2008)
Departures (2008)
The Wind Rises (2013)


[1] Joe Hisaishi lm score concerts People's Daily Online. (July 23, 2013). Retrieved on
[2] Joe Hisaishi// Who's Who //. Retrieved on
[3] Academy Invites 276 to Membership. Retrieved on 2014-05-12.
[4] The Giant Squid, Captured on Camera in its Natural
Habitat for the First Time Ever!" (PDF). NHK. January 9,
2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 24,
2013. Retrieved July 11, 2015.
[5] BBC Two Natural World, 20132014, Giant Squid:
Filming the Impossible Natural World Special. (March 23, 2014). Retrieved on 2014-05-12.

[6] 15 (in Japanese).

Japan Academy Prize. Retrieved January 23, 2011.
[7] 16 (in Japanese).
Japan Academy Prize. Retrieved January 23, 2011.
[8] 17 (in Japanese).
Japan Academy Prize. Retrieved January 23, 2011.
[9] 22 (in Japanese).
Japan Academy Prize. Retrieved January 23, 2011.
[10] 23 (in Japanese).
Japan Academy Prize. Retrieved January 23, 2011.
[11] 32 (in Japanese).
Japan Academy Prize. Retrieved January 23, 2011.
[12] 34 (in Japanese).
Japan Academy Prize. Retrieved May 20, 2011.
[13] 678 individuals, 24 groups awarded Medals of Honor,
Mainichi Shimbun. November 3, 2009; Ghibli Composer Joe Hisaishi Awarded Medal of Honour, Anime
News Network. November 3, 2009.

5 External links
Ocial Website
Joe Hisaishi at the Internet Movie Database
Joe Hisaishi at Anime News Network's encyclopedia


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