The Music Makes It: Studio Ghibli’s Dream Duo – Hayao Miyazaki and Joe Hisaishi

“The Music Makes It” is a series of articles that focuses on the use of music to elevate different forms of media. This article will highlight ten Studio Ghibli films which feature the partnership between writer/director Hayao Miyazaki and composer Joe Hisaishi. 

Studio Ghibli is a world-renowned Japanese animation studio founded by Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takahata, and Toshio Suzuki. The film studio is famous for featuring storylines which pull on the heartstrings and are conveyed through beautiful hand drawn animation. Ten Studio Ghibli films are written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki and scored by legendary composer Joe Hisaishi. Together, the duo seamlessly blends visual and auditory storytelling, creating some of the most beloved film moments of all time.  

Check out one great track from each of the dream duo’s films below:

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

Score highlight: “Nausicaä Requiem”

Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986)

Score highlight: “Castle in the Sky”

My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

Score highlight: “Moonlight Flight”

Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

Score highlight: “Departure”

Porco Rosso (1992)

Score highlight: “Lost Spirit”

Princess Mononoke (1997)

Score highlight: “Ashitaka and San”

Spirited Away (2001)

Score highlight: “The Sixth Station”

Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

Score highlight: “The Flower Garden”

Ponyo (2008)

Score highlight: “A Night of Shooting Stars”

The Wind Rises (2013)

Score highlight: “A Journey (A Kingdom of Dreams)”

Hayao Miyazaki is set to return as the writer/director of How Do You Live?, an adaptation of Yoshino Genzaburo’s 1937 novel of the same name. The official release date for How Do You Live? has yet to be confirmed. In the meantime, you can catch up on Hayao Miyazaki’s filmography through the Studio Ghibli hub on HBO Max.

Playlist below:

About Emily Guske

Emily (she/her) is a first-year graduate student researching energy governance with a specific focus on the politics of the Dakota Access Pipeline in Illinois and Iowa. You can catch her browsing the record store, plugging away at her never ending to-be-read list, or dreaming about running through the streets of New York to David Bowie’s “Modern Love”.

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