Joe Hisaishi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Joe Hisaishi
Joe Hisaishi 2011.jpg
Joe Hisaishi in Paris in 2011
Background information
Birth name Mamoru Fujisawa
Born (1950-12-06) December 6, 1950 (age 64)
Nakano, Nagano, Japan
Genres Film score, Neoclassical, classical, Romanticism
Occupation(s) Musical director, composer, conductor, arranger
Instruments Violin, piano, keyboard
Years active 1974–present

Mamoru Fujisawa (藤澤 守 Fujisawa Mamoru?, born December 6, 1950), known professionally as Joe Hisaishi (久石 譲 Hisaishi Jō?), is a composer and musical director known for over 100 film scores and solo albums dating back to 1981.[1]

While possessing a stylistically distinct sound, Hisaishi's music has been known to explore and incorporate different genres, including minimalist, experimental electronic, European classical, and Japanese classical. Lesser known are the other musical roles he plays; he is also a typesetter, author, arranger, and conductor.

He is best known for his work with animator Hayao Miyazaki, having composed scores for many of his films, including Nausicaä 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), 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 filmmaker '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.[2][citation needed]


Hisaishi was born in Nakano, Nagano, Japan as Mamoru Fujisawa (藤澤 守 Fujisawa Mamoru?). When he started to take violin lessons at the age of five, 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 first 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 Throttle).

In the 1970s, Japanese popular music, electronic music, and new-age music flourished; those genres, as well as the Yellow Magic Orchestra (a Japanese electronic band in 1978–1983), influenced Hisaishi's compositions. He developed his music from minimalist ideas and expanded toward orchestral work. Around 1975, Hisaishi presented his first public performance, spreading his name around his community. His first album, MKWAJU, was released in 1981, with Information being released a year later. His first major anime scores were Hajime Ningen Gyatoruz (1974) and Robokko Beeton (1976).

As his works were becoming well known, Hisaishi formulated an alias inspired by Quincy Jones, an African-American musician and producer. Retranscribed in Japanese, "Quincy Jones" became "Joe Hisaishi." ("Quincy," pronounced "Kuinshi" in Japanese, can be written using the same kanji in "Hisaishi"; "Joe" comes from "Jones.")[3]

In 1981 Hisaishi, with his new name, released his first album of art music, MKWAJU, and in 1982 the electropop-minimalist album Information. Then, in 1983, Hisaishi was recommended by Tokuma, who had published Information, to create an image album for Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. Hisaishi and the director of the animated film, 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 film 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 films 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 anime Tekuno porisu 21C (all 1982), Sasuraiger (1983), Futari Taka (1984), Honō no Alpen Rose (1985) and Oz no mahôtsukai (1986). He also scored the sci-fi adventure series Mospeada (1983), which was later reworked (without his music) into the third segment of Carl Macek's compilation, Robotech. Other films he scored included Mobile Suit Gundam Movie II: Soldiers of Sorrow (1981), Mobile Suit Gundam Movie III: Encounters in Space, (1982), Birth (Bâsu) (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 (2010). He also did theme song arrangements and composed other anime titles's opening, closing and insert theme songs such as Mahō Shōjo 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 (1988).

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.). A year later, the label released its first album, Pretender, in New York.

As a result of his work throughout the years, Hisaishi has won the Japanese Academy Award for Best Music seven times—in 1992,[4] 1993,[5] 1994,[6] 1999,[7] 2000,[8] 2009,[9] and 2011.[10] 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 influential figure in the Japanese film industry.

In 1998, he 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 films about the human body.

In 2001, Hisaishi produced music for Takeshi Kitano's film, Brother, and Hayao Miyazaki's masterpiece, 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 film director in Quartet, having also written both its music and script. The film received excellent reviews at the Montreal Film Festival. His first soundtrack for a foreign film, Le Petit Poucet, was released in the same year.

Joe Hisaishi in Kraków, 2011

Another Miyazaki film, Howl's Moving Castle, for which Hisaishi composed the score, was released on November 20, 2004, in Japan. From November 3 to 29, 2004, Hisaishi embarked on his "Joe Hisaishi Freedom – Piano Stories 2004" tour with Canadian musicians. In 2005, he composed the soundtrack for the Korean film, Welcome to Dongmakgol (웰컴 투 동막골). He also partook in Korea's historically landmarked big budget drama series production by composing the soundtrack for Korea's MBC drama series, The Legend (태왕사신기 "The Story of the First King's Four Gods"), which released in 2007. Hisaishi has a large fan base in Korea due to the popularity of Miyazaki films.

In 2006, Hisaishi released a studio album, Asian X.T.C., the compositions of which demonstrated a significantly 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 film, Sunny and the Elephant and the Miyazaki film, Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, both released in 2008, as well as the score for Jiang Wen's film, The Sun Also Rises (太阳照常升起).

In 2008, Hisaishi composed soundtracks for Academy Award-winning film Departures as well as for I'd Rather Be a Shellfish (私は貝になりたい Watashi wa Kai ni Naritai?), a post-World War II war crimes trial drama which is based on the 1959 Tetsutaro Kato novel and film currently being remade and directed by Katsuo Fukuzawa, starring Masahiro Nakai and Yukie Nakama.

Hisaishi also released a new solo album in early 2009 featuring tracks from Shellfish and Departures.

In November 2009, he was awarded with a Medal of Honour with purple ribbon by the Government of Japan.[11]

On June 28, 2013 Hisaishi was among those invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. This honor is extended to those "who have distinguished themselves by their contributions to theatrical motion pictures."[12]

In 2013 his music scored Legends of the Deep: Giant squid,[13] a wildlife documentary featuring the first-ever filming of this reclusive creature (narrated by David Attenborough for BBC's Natural World special Giant Squid: Filming the Impossible).[14]


Hisaishi's full discography and list of projects may be accessed at his official website.


Studio albums[edit]

Album Release date Genre
MKWAJU (ムクワジュ) 1981.08.21
Information 1982.10.25
α-BET-CITY (アルファベットシティ) 1985.06.25
Curved Music 1986.09.25
Piano Stories I 1988.07.21
Illusion 1988.12.21
Pretender 1989.09.21
I Am 1991.02.22
My Lost City 1992.02.12
Earthly Paradise 1994.07.27
Melody Boulevard 1995.01.25
Piano Stories II 1996.10.25
Works I 1997.10.15
Piano Stories III 1998.10.14
Works II 1999.09.22
Shoot The Violinist ~Violist No Geki Te~ 2000.05.17
Encore 2002.03.06
Curved Music II 2003.01.29
Private 2004.01.21
Piano Stories IV 2005.01.26
Works III 2005.07.27
Rakuen / Maldives 2006.04.26
Asian X.T.C 2006.10.04
Another Piano Stories 2009.02.18
Minima Rhythm 2009.08.12

Compilation albums[edit]

Album Year
Symphonic Best Selection 1992.09.09
Joe Hisaishi Best Selection 1999.12.22
Joe Hisaishi Complete Best Selection 2001.12.12
Best Live 2003 2003.10.22
World Dreams 2004.06.16
American in Paris 2005.11.30
The Best Collection 2006.06.07
Hisaishi Meets Miyazaki Films 2008.04.08
Piano Stories Best '88-'08 2008.04.16
Melodyphony ~Best of Joe Hisaishi~ 2010.10.27
The Best of Cinema Music 2011.03.11

Soundtrack albums[edit]

Title Year Notes
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind 1984
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind 1984 Single-Kaze no Yousei
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind 1984.02.25 Symphonic Album
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind 1984 Image Album
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind 1984.03.25 Soundtrack Album
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind 1984.04.25 Drama Album
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind 1989.10.25 Hi-tech Series
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind 1992.03.15 Piano Solo
W's Tragedy (Wの悲劇 オリジナルサントラ) 1984.12.21 Soundtrack
Early Spring Tale (早春物語) 1985.09.01 Soundtrack
Arion 1985
Arion (Wind & Wilderness) 1986 Image Album
Arion (Wanderings of Youth) 1986 Soundtrack
Arion 1986.04.25 Symphonic Suite
Soil 未来の記憶 1986 Syoko Solo Album
Mezon Ikkoku (めぞん一刻) 1986.10.25 Soundtrack
Laputa Castle in the Sky 1986
Laputa Castle in the Sky 1986.05.25 Image Album
Laputa Castle in the Sky 1986.09.25/1986.08.25? Soundtrack
Laputa Castle in the Sky 1986 Piano Solo
Laputa Castle in the Sky 1986 Single
Laputa Castle in the Sky 1986 Tatsuya Ishii
Laputa Castle in the Sky 1986 USA Version Soundtrack
Laputa Castle in the Sky 1987.01.25 Symphonic Album
Carrying You 1988-03-25 Single
Laputa Castle in the Sky 1989.02.25 Drama Album
Laputa Castle in the Sky 1989.11.25 Hi-Tech
恋人たちの時刻 サントラ 1987.03.05 Soundtrack
Robot Carnival 1987.03.21 Soundtrack
Drifting Classroom

(漂流教室 オリジナルサントラ)

1987.07.21 Soundtrack
My Neighbor Totoro 1987
My Neighbor Totoro 1987.11.25 Image Album
My Neighbor Totoro 1988.09.25 Soundbook Album
My Neighbor Totoro 1989.02.25 Drama Album
My Neighbor Totoro 1990.01.25 Hi-Tech
My Neighbor Totoro 1992.03.15 Piano Solo
My Neighbor Totoro 1999.12.01 Song & Karaoke Album
Mei and the Catbus 2002.10.02 Single
My Neighbor Totoro 2002.10.23 Orchestral
Night City (シングル) 1988.08.21
Winter travelers (冬の旅人) 1988.12.21 (1989.01.10?)
Venus Wars 1988
Venus Wars 1988.12.21 Image Album
Venus Wars 1989.04.10 Soundtrack
Kiki's Delivery Service 1989
Kiki's Delivery Service 1989.04.10 Image Album
Kiki's Delivery Service 1989.08.25 Soundtrack
Kiki's Delivery Service 1989.09.25 Drama Album
Kiki's Delivery Service 1989.12.21 Hi-Tech
Kiki's Delivery Service 1992.11.25 Vocal
The Inners (はるかなる時間の 彼方へ) 1989.04.21 Soundtrack
Futari 1991.04.21 Soundtrack
Kojika Monogatari 1991.04.21 Soundtrack
天外魔境2 MARU 1992.02.01 Soundtrack
君だけをみていた 1992.03.04 Soundtrack
Porco Rosso 1992
Porco Rosso 1992.05.25 Image Album
Porco Rosso 1992.07.22 Soundtrack
Porco Rosso 1992.09.25 Drama Album
B+1 1992.10.21 Soundtrack
A Scene at the Sea 1992.11.25 Soundtrack
Seisyun Den-Deke-Deke-Deke 1992.11.25 Soundtrack
Haruka Nostalgy 1993.01.21 Soundtrack
Sonatine 1993.06.09 Soundtrack
The Water Traveller, Samurai Kids 1993.08.04 Soundtrack
BIRTH 1994.03.24
さすがの猿飛 1994.03.24
Joe's Project (ぴあの) 1994.06.01
Joe's Project 2 (ぴあの / 純名里沙) 1994.08.10
Kids Return 1996.06.26 Soundtrack
Princess Mononoke 1996
Princess Mononoke 1997 Single CD
Princess Mononoke 1997 USA Version Soundtrack
Princess Mononoke 1996.07.22 Image Album
Princess Mononoke 1997.07.02 Soundtrack
Princess Mononoke 1998.07.08 Symphonic Suite
Parasite Eve 1997.02.01 Movie Soundtrack
Hana-bi 1998.01.01 Soundtrack
Tree of Early Winter Rains (時雨の記) 1998.10.31 Soundtrack
Universe Within I: Human Body I & II 1999.04.28
Universe Within II: Brain & Mind I & II 1999.04.28
Universe Within III: Gene I & II 1999.04.28
Kikujiro 1999.05.26 Soundtrack
First Love (Hatsu-koi) 2000.03.28 Soundtrack
Alpenrose 2000
Alpenrose 2000 Soundtrack
Alpenrose 2000.04.26 Symphoni Album
As the River Flows 2000.04.29 Soundtrack
Brother 2001.01.17 Soundtrack
Spirited Away 2001
Spirited Away 2001.04.04 Image Album
Spirited Away 2001.07.18 Soundtrack
Spirited Away 2001.07.18 Single
Joe Hisaishi Meets Kitano Films 2001.06.21 Compilation
Quartet 2001.09.27 Soundtrack
Little Tom Thumb (Le Petit Poucet) 2001.10.15 Soundtrack
Howl's Moving Castle 2004
Howl's Moving Castle 2004.01.21 Image Album
Howl's Moving Castle 2004.10.02 CD Maxi-Single
Howl's Moving Castle 2004.11.19 Soundtrack
Dolls 2002.10.02 Soundtrack
Kaze no Bon (の風盆から) 2002.11.23 Soundtrack
When the Last Sword is Drawn 2002.12.26 Soundtrack
Le Mécano de la General 2004.09.06 Soundtrack
Welcome to Dongmakgol (웰컴 투 동막골) 2005.08.04 Soundtrack
Yamato 2005.12.14 Soundtrack
A Chinese Tall Story (情癫大圣) 2005.12.19 Soundtrack
The Sun Also Rises 2007.09.19 Soundtrack
Tae Wang Sa Shin Gi (태왕 사 신기) 2007.09.11 Soundtrack
A Tale of Mari and Three Puppies (マリと子犬の物語) 2007.12.08 Soundtrack
Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea 2008
Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea 2008.03.08 Image Album
Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea 2008.07.16 Soundtrack
Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea 2008 Single
Departures 2008.09.10 Soundtrack
I'd Rather Be A Shellfish (Watashi Wa Kai Ni Naritai) 2008.11.19 Soundtrack
Sunny Et L'Elephant 2008.12.04 Soundtrack
The Postmodern Life of My Aunt 2009.07.09 Soundtrack
NHK TV Series "A Cloud on the Slope (Saka no Ue no Kumo)" 2009.11.18 Soundtrack Vol 1
Oruru No Mori No Monogatari(A Tale of Ululu's Wonderful Forest) 2009.12.16 Soundtrack
The 19th Step 2010 Studio Album
Ocean Heaven Gui Lunmei 2010
Akunin (Villain) 2010.09.01 Soundtrack
NHK TV Series "A Cloud on the Slope (Saka no Ue no Kumo)" 2010.11.17 Soundtrack Vol 2
Pandane to Tamagohime (Mr. Dough and the Egg Princess) 2011.02.02 Soundtrack
Ni no Kuni: Dominion of the Dark Djinn 2011.02.09 Soundtrack
NHK TV Series "A Cloud on the Slope (Saka no Ue no Kumo)" 2011.11.09 Soundtrack Vol 3
NHK TV Series "A Cloud on the Slope (Saka no Ue no Kumo)" 2012.02.22 Soundtrack Compilation
The Samurai Astronomer 2012.09.12 Soundtrack
Tokyo Family 2013.01.16 Soundtrack
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch 2013.03.29 Soundtrack
Onna Nobunaga 2013.04.03 Soundtrack
NHK Shinkai Project~Giant Deep Sea Creatures 2013.06.26 Soundtrack
Kiseki No Ringo 2013.07.15 Soundtrack
The Wind Rises 2013.07.17 Soundtrack
Sweetheart Chocolate 2013.11.01 Soundtrack
The Tale of Princess Kaguya 2013.11.20 Soundtrack


Title Release date Notes
Quartet 2002-03-25
4Movement 2003-03-19
A Wish to the Moon – Joe Hisaishi & 9 Cellos 2003 Etude/Encore Tour 2003-06-25
W.D.O. (Joe Hisaishi and New Japan Philharmonic World Dream Orchestra) 2006-12-20
Joe Hisaishi in Budokan – 25 years with the Animations of Hayao Miyazaki 2009-07-03

Blu-Ray discs[edit]

Title Release date Notes
Joe Hisaishi in Budokan – 25 years with the Animations of Hayao Miyazaki 2009-07-03

Published scores[edit]

(released by Zen-On Music Company Ltd.)

Album Release date Notes
Orchestra Stories: Tonari no TOTORO (Original Edition)
ENCORE (Original Edition)
A String Quartet: "QUARTET"
Asian X.T.C. (Original Edition)
FREEDOM (Original Edition)
Piano Stories
Etudes ~A Wish to the Moon~


There are also numerous television and cinema soundtracks created by Joe Hisaishi which were never released for sale, such as.


  1. ^ Joe Hisaishi film score concerts – People's Daily Online. (July 23, 2013). Retrieved on 2014-05-12.
  2. ^ Music – Joe Hisaishi. BBC. Retrieved on 2014-05-12.
  3. ^ Joe Hisaishi// Who's Who //. (December 6, 1950). Retrieved on 2014-05-12.
  4. ^ 第15回日本アカデミー賞優秀作品 (in Japanese). Japan Academy Prize. Retrieved January 23, 2011. 
  5. ^ 第16回日本アカデミー賞優秀作品 (in Japanese). Japan Academy Prize. Retrieved January 23, 2011. 
  6. ^ 第17回日本アカデミー賞優秀作品 (in Japanese). Japan Academy Prize. Retrieved January 23, 2011. 
  7. ^ 第22回日本アカデミー賞優秀作品 (in Japanese). Japan Academy Prize. Retrieved January 23, 2011. 
  8. ^ 第23回日本アカデミー賞優秀作品 (in Japanese). Japan Academy Prize. Retrieved January 23, 2011. 
  9. ^ 第32回日本アカデミー賞優秀作品 (in Japanese). Japan Academy Prize. Retrieved January 23, 2011. 
  10. ^ 第34回日本アカデミー賞優秀作品 (in Japanese). Japan Academy Prize. Retrieved May 20, 2011. 
  11. ^ "678 individuals, 24 groups awarded Medals of Honor,"[dead link] Mainichi Shimbun. November 3, 2009; "Ghibli Composer Joe Hisaishi Awarded Medal of Honour," Anime News Network. November 3, 2009.
  12. ^ Academy Invites 276 to Membership. Retrieved on 2014-05-12.
  13. ^
  14. ^ BBC Two – Natural World, 2013–2014, Giant Squid: Filming the Impossible – Natural World Special. (March 23, 2014). Retrieved on 2014-05-12.
  15. ^ Team Ghiblink. "Discography of Joe Hisaishi". Retrieved 2008-01-19. 

External links[edit]