My Neighbor Totoro is a long-standing international icon of Japanese pop culture that grew out of the partnership between the legendary animator Miyazaki Hayao and the world-renowned composer Joe Hisaishi. A crucial step in the two artists' collaboration was the creation of the album, My Neighbor Totoro: Image Song Collection, with lyrics penned by Miyazaki and Nakagawa Rieko, a famed children's book author, and music composed by Hisaishi. The album, released in 1987 prior to the opening of the film, served not only as a promotional product, but also provided Miyazaki with concrete ideas about the characters and the themes of the film. This book investigates the extent to which Hisaishi's music shaped Miyazaki's vision by examining the relationship between the images created by Miyazaki and the music composed by Hisaishi, with special emphasis on their approaches to nostalgia, one of the central themes of the film.
About the Author
Kunio Hara is Associate Professor of Music History at the University of South Carolina, USA. His research focuses on Puccini's operas, exoticism and orientalism in music, music in postwar Japan, and nostalgia.