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.
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