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

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 head of an orchestra.

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), My Neighbor Totoro (1988), Kiki's Delivery Service (1989), Porco Rosso (1992), Princess Mononoke (1997), Spirited Away (2001), Howl's Moving Castle (2004) and Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea (2008). He is also recognized for the soundtracks he has provided for filmmaker 'Beat' Takeshi Kitano, including Dolls (2002), Kikujiro (1999), Hana-bi (1997), Kids Return (1996) and Sonatine (1993).


Joe Hisaishi was born in Nakano, Nagano, Japan as Mamoru Fujisawa (藤澤 守 Fujisawa Mamoru). When he started to take violin lessons at age 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.

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 "Kuishi" in Japanese, can be written using the same kanji in "Hisaishi"; "Joe" comes from "Jones.")

In 1983, with his new name, Hisaishi was recommended by a record company to create an 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, Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away, 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 hits as Sasuga no Sarutobi, Two Down Full Base (both 1982), Sasrygar (1983), Futari Taka (1984) and Honō no Alpen Rose (1985). He also scored the sci-fi adventure Mospeada (1983), which was later reworked (without his music) into the third segment of Carl Macek's compilation, Robotech. Other films he scored included Arion, Totoro (1988), Venus Wars, Kiki's Delivery Service (1989), and Porco Rosso (1992).

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 six times—in 1992,[1] 1993,[2] 1994,[3] 1999,[4] 2000[5] and 2009.[6] 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.

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 November 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.

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.[7]


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



Album Release date Notes
MKWAJU (ムクワジュ) 1981-08-21
Information 1982-10-25
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind 1983-11-25 Image Album
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind 1984-02-25 Symphonic Album
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind 1984-03-25 Soundtrack
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind 1984-04-25 Drama Album
W's Tragedy (Wの悲劇 オリジナルサントラ) 1984-12-21
α-BET-CITY (アルファベットシティ) 1985-06-25
Early Spring Tale (早春物語) 1985-09-01
Arion 1985-10-25 Image Album
Soil 未来の記憶 1986 Syoko Solo Album
Arion 1986-03-25
Arion 1986-04-25 Symphonic Album
Castle in the Sky 1986-05-25 Image Album
Castle In the Sky 1986-09-25/1986-08-25? Soundtrack
Curved Music 1986-09-25
Mezon Ikkoku (めぞん一刻) 1986-10-25
Nausicaä Best Collection 1986-11-25 Soundtrack/Symphonic
Castle in the Sky 1987-01-25 Symphonic Album
恋人たちの時刻 サントラ 1987-03-05
Robot Carnival 1987-03-21
Drifting Classroom

(漂流教室 オリジナルサントラ)

My Neighbor Totoro 1987-11-25 Image Album
Carrying You 1988-03-25 from Castle in the Sky
My Neighbor Totoro 1988-05-01
Piano Stories 1988-07-21
Night City (シングル) 1988-08-21
My Neighbor Totoro 1988-09-25 Soundbook Album
Illusion 1988-12-21
冬の旅人 1988-12-21 (1989-01-10?)
Venus Wars 1988-12-21 Image Album
Castle In the Sky 1989-02-25 Drama Album
My Neighbor Totoro 1989-02-25 Drama Album
Kiki's Delivery Service 1989-04-10 Image Album
Venus Wars 1989-04-10
The Inners (はるかなる時間の 彼方へ) 1989-04-21
Kiki's Delivery Service 1989-08-25 Soundtrack
Pretender 1989-09-21
Kiki's Delivery Service 1989-09-25 Drama Album
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind 1989-10-25 Hi-Tech
Castle In the Sky 1989-11-25 Hi-Tech
Kiki's Delivery Service Hi-Tech 1989-12-21 Hi-Tech


Album Release date Notes
My Neighbor Totoro 1990-01-25 Hi-Tech
I Am 1991-02-22
Futari 1991-04-21
Kojika Monogatari 1991-04-21
Universe Within: Special Issue


天外魔境2 MARU 1992-02-01
My Lost City 1992-02-12
君だけをみていた 1992-03-04
My Neighbor Totoro 1992-03-15 Piano Solo
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind 1992-03-15 Piano Solo
Porco Rosso 1992-05-25 Image Album
Porco Rosso 1992-07-22 Soundtrack
Porco Rosso 1992-09-25 Drama Album
Symphonic Best Selection 1992-09-09
B+1 1992-10-21
Piano Stories 1992-11-21
Universe Within I: Human Body I 1992-11-21
A Scene at the Sea 1992-11-25 Soundtrack
Kiki's Delivery Service 1992-11-25 Vocal
Seisyun Den-Deke-Deke-Deke 1992-11-25
Haruka Nostalgy 1993-01-21
Sonatine 1993-06-09 Soundtrack
The Water Traveller, Samurai Kids 1993-08-04
Universe Within II: Brain & Mind II 1994-03-18
Universe Within I: Human Body II 1994-03-21
BIRTH 1994-03-24
さすがの猿飛 1994-03-24
Joe's Project (ぴあの) 1994-06-01
オリジナルサントラ ぴあの Vol.1 1994-06-25
Universe Within II: Brain & Mind Best 1994-07-21
Earthly Paradise (地上の楽園) 1994-07-27
Joe's Project 2 (ぴあの / 純名里沙) 1994-08-10
オリジナルサントラ ぴあの Vol.2 1994-08-25
MELODY Blvd. (メロディブルーバ ード) 1995-01-25
Kids Return 1996-06-26 Soundtrack
Nokto De La Galaksia Fervojo (銀河鉄道の夜) 1996-07-20
Princess Mononoke 1996-07-22 Image Album
Piano Stories II: The Wind of Life 1996-10-25
Parasite Eve 1997-02-01
Princess Mononoke 1997-07-02 Soundtrack
Asian Dream Song (旅立ちの時) 1997-09-10 From Piano Stories II
Works I 1997-10-15
Hana-bi 1998-01-01 Soundtrack
Hope: Nagano Paralympics 1998 Tribute 1998-02-25
Princess Mononoke 1998-07-08 Symphonic Suite
Nostalgia: Piano Stories III 1998-10-14
Tree of Early Winter Rains (時雨の記) 1998-10-31
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 1999-04-28
Kikujiro 1999-05-26 Soundtrack
Universe Within III: Gene II 1999-08-04
Works II 1999-09-22 Compilation
My Neighbor Totoro 1999-12-01 Song & Karaoke Album
Joe Hisaishi Best Selection 1999-12-22 Compilation


Album Release date Notes
First Love (Hatsu-koi) 2000-03-28
Alpenrose 2000-04-26
Alpenrose Sinfónica 2000-04-26 Album
Como los Flujos del río 2000-04-29
Shoot the violista (ヴィオリストを撃て) 2000-05-17
Brother 2001-01-17 Soundtrack
Spirited Away 2001-04-04 Image Album
Joe Hisaishi Meets Kitano Films 2001-06-21 Recopilación
Spirited Away 2001-07-18 Soundtrack
Spirited Away 2001-07-18 Single
Quartet 2001-09-27
Le Petit Poucet 2001-10-15
Encore 2002-03-06
Super Night Orchestra, 2001 2002-07-26
Castillo en el Cielo 2002-10-02 Soundtrack (versión americana)
Dolls 2002-10-02 Soundtrack
Mei and the Catbus 2002-10-02
My Neighbor Totoro 2002-10-23 Orchestral
(Kaze no Bonの風盆から) 2002-11-23
Mibugishiden 2002-12-26 Soundtrack
Curvada Music II 2003-01-29
Etude 2003-03-12
Privado (プライベート) 2004-01-21
Howl's Moving Castle 2004-01-21 Image Album
Le Mécano de la General 2004-09-06 Soundtrack
Howl's Moving Castle 2004-11-19 Soundtrack
Libertad Piano Stories 4 2005-01-26
Obras III' 2005-07-27 Compilation/ Studio Album
Welcome to Dongmakgol (웰컴 투 동막골) 2005-08-04 Soundtrack
Yamato 2005-12-17
A Chinese Tall Story (情癫大圣) 2005-12-22
Asia X.T.C.' 2006-10-04 Studio Album
Tae Wang Sa Shin Gi (태왕 사 신기) 2007-09-11 Soundtrack
Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea 2008-03-08 Image Album
Piano Stories Best '88-'08 2008-04-16 Recopilación
Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea 2008-07-16 Soundtrack
Departures 2008-09-10 Soundtrack
I'd Rather Be marisco de las Naciones Unidas 2008-11-19 Soundtrack
Otras historias Piano - El Fin del Mundo 2009-02-18 Studio Album
The 19th Step 2010 Studio Album
Ocean Heaven 2010


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

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

Published scores

(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.


External links

cs:Joe Hisaiši eo:Hisaishi Jō ko:히사이시 조 id:Joe Hisaishi it:Joe Hisaishi pl:Joe Hisaishi pt:Joe Hisaishi ru:Дзё Хисаиси fi:Joe Hisaishi sv:Joe Hisaishi vi:Hisaishi Joe zh:久石让