Joe Hisaishi – The Composer Behind Studio Ghibli Songs & Music


Joe Hisaishi – A Multi-Talented Japanese Composer

I was fortunate to attend a symphonic concert in Melbourne composed by Joe Hisaishi with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, where I listened to music from the Studio Ghibli films by Hayao Miyazaki. Needless to say it was an amazing experience. I started to cry from the moment I heard his music.

During the concert, Miyazaki left an important message for Hisaishi. He expressed that if he had not met Hisaishi Ghibli movies would not be the works they were today and that his music was the essential part of the Ghibli movies success.

Allow me to introduce more about Joe Hisaishi. He is a Japanese composer and musical director, known for over 100 films scores and solo albums since 1981. He is also known for his piano scores. Born in Nagano and named by his parents “Mamoru Fujisawa”, he decided to use “Joe Hisaishi” while he was a university student. He created Kanji for “Joe Hisaishi (久石 譲)” from ‘Quincy Delight Jones II’ who influenced him.

At the age of 4, he started playing violin and watched 300 movies a year with his father, influencing his music life in years to come. In junior high school, he realised the pleasure of writing musical scores opposed to playing them and decided to become a composer.

Joe Hisaishi Composed Many Studio Ghibli Including The Spirited Away Music

Associating himself with animator Hayao Miyazaki since 1984, he composed scores for all his films but one including ‘Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind(1984)’ and ‘Spirited Away(2001)’. And let’s not forget his work with video game series ‘Ni no Kuni’ which is a joint production between Studio Ghibli and Level-5.

Joe Hisaishi’s Other Works

Apart from Ghibil movies, he is also recognised for his works in musical soundtracks for a filmmaker ‘Beat’ Takeshi Kitano, including “A Scene at the Sea(1991)”, “Sonatine(1993)”, “Kids Return(1996)”, “Hana-bi 1997)”, “Kikujiro(1999)”, and “Dolls(2002)”.

The song “Summer” made for the movie “Kikujiro” is by far one of my favourite songs.
Reminding me of my school days, it starts with the sound of chime to announce the start of class. With the same token, it reminds me of the beautiful countryside scenery of my hometown spread out in my head. I feel all his music makes us picture beautiful scenery in our minds, and opens our hearts. He once said he wanted to create music that would be loved and played all over the world, cross-border and races. Now this became true as his music is loved and played all over the world. If you haven’t already decided to listen, please listen to Joe Hisaishi music, and you will understand how I feel.


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