Japan Today

New Ghibli film brings 40-year-old tune to top of music charts

By Rachel Tackett

The theme song of Studio Ghibli’s latest work, "The Wind is Rising" (Kaze Tachinu), created under the supervision of Hayao Miyazaki, is "Hikoki Gumo." The name literally means “airplane cloud” and it was first released a full 40 years ago by the talented singer and songwriter Yuming.

Ghibli’s claim over the sweet, old tune has caused a surge of interest in the piece, bringing this 40-year-old forgotten classic to the top of Japan’s Recochoku Daily Ranking and earning it the title of iTunes top song for July 20. Studio Ghibli and Yuming are now collaborating in many ways to celebrate their successes over the past 40 years.

"Hikoki Gumo" was first released on Nov 20, 1973 on Yuming’s debut album of the same name. Back then, Yuming was just a high schooler, still going by the name Yumi Arai. "Hikoki Gumo" was her big break into the singing and songwriting industries and launched her into a very successful career. Just last year, Yuming came out with her 40-year commemorative CD, “With Love of Japan, and Yuming.” It was on this album that one of the producers at Studio Ghibli first heard the song "Hikoki Gumo." Needless to say, he was incredibly moved by it.

When the producer introduced the song to Miyazaki as a potential for use with the company’s upcoming film, his response was resolute. “This has to be the theme song. It’s perfect.” And so, the offer was made to Yuming at a live talk event for the release of "Kiki’s Delivery Service" on Blu-ray. She readily accepted, and right there on stage the theme to "The Wind is Rising" was decided.

"Hikoki Gumo" had its digital re-release on July 3. In conjunction with Studio Ghibli, this special release of the song came with album art straight out of the movie, a scene where the two main characters share a tender kiss. This scene is truly significant, for it is the first time that Studio Ghibli has depicted an orthodox kiss between two adult characters. Thanks to viral marketing on social networking sites and simple word-of-mouth, the 40-year-old song gained brilliant support and climbed its way to the top of the charts.

Now, in honor of Yuming’s cooperation with Studio Ghibli, a new music video has been produced for "Hikoki Gumo" under the direction of Mami Sunada. Filmed within the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, the clip captures 40 years of animated movie magic as Yuming herself explores rooms filled with memorabilia from Ghibli’s many years of anime production. It’s like revisiting the remnants of a fantastical dream, watching as Yuming flips through pages of old production sketches and smiles down at a copy of her old vinyl record, as well.

As an extra special treat for the supporters of Yuming and Studio Ghibli, the team also plans to produce a very special 40 year commemorative art book to accompany "Hikoki Gumo’s" new physical album release. It can be purchased as a set with the single’s CD and DVD starting on July 31 in Japan. Or, classic collectors can wait until Aug 14 for a set which also includes a vinyl record of the song. But be ready. These art books are in very limited supply, so fans must act quickly to obtain one.

If any of you are curious but need to experience a taste of it before you decide to shell out your support, here’s a short segment from "Hikoki Gumo's" new music video, straight from Yuming’s YouTube channel.

Source: Narinari

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Impressions from Ghibli’s ‘The Wind Rises’ Preview Screening -- Ghibli Fest… not in Japan, but at The Cinematheque in Vancouver -- Classic Ghibli anime impresses with its story

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Not having seen the movie yet, I'm not sure how this song about a youthful suicide is appropriate to a Ghibli animated film... but I remember the original album as one of the first that I heard as a college student in Japan, so the song always reminds me of those days...

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I actually like this song. I have never heard the original, but through miwa's all night nippon covers. Awesome.

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The song fits the melancholy tone of the movie. Unfortunately the score to the movie doesn't work as well, really clashing with that tone at various points.

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I got confused about the movie name and the song for a moment. Matsuda Seiko sang a song named 'Kaze Tachinu" in the early eighties. (I'm embarrassed to know that.) I'm glad it's Yuming singing this time.

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I like this version also, but this song can not be avoided if you watch Japanese Television. They air the CM for this movie about every 15 minutes, and I can't get this tune out of my head.

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It's really amazing how a song written and recorded so many years ago can fit a movie so perfectly, when neither the song nor the film was made with any intention of being affiliated with the other. This song playing over the end credits is one of the reasons this movie leaves such a lasting impression.

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I eagerly await the movie.

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Borax, Well said. Well said.

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Uh this is not the first film from Ghibli with two adults kissing that title would go to Howl's Moving Castle as there were a couple of kisses shared between Howl and Sophie.

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Thought this was interesting..... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvGa73pNBQY

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