Classic soundtracks from legendary Japanese composer Joe Hisaishi. Selections by Tsugu Itagaki.
Mamoru Fujisawa, better known as Joe Hisaishi, is a Japanese film composer born in 1950 who has over 100 film scores and solo albums to his name. Dubbed “the John Williams of Japan” by Pitchfork in 2017, he has won the Japanese Academy Award for Best Music seven times. He is best known as the main musical associate of the Studio Ghibli film studio, having scored all but one of Hayao Miyazaki’s animated films. Fujisawa adopted the name “Joe Hisaishi” (based on the kanji translation of “Quincy Jones”) shortly before the release of his first production in 1981. The album ‘MKWAJU’, which was written for percussion ensemble and featured famed composer Midori Takada, was heavily influenced by Japanese electronic music pioneers Yellow Magic Orchestra and American minimalist artists like Steve Reich. It explores the Japanese theme of “ma”, or “emptiness”, by emphasising the space between notes to create musical tension. Hisaishi would continue to release experimental, synthesized pop records in the ‘80s and onwards.