Mamoru Fujisawa or more commonly known by his stage name as Joe Hisaishi is a Japanese composer whose extensive career dates back to 1981.
To us in the west he is most known for his work in Hayao Miyazaki's films; most notably Spirited Away (2001), My Neighbor Totoro (1988) and Laputa (1986) to name a few. Hisaishi’s compositions for Miyazaki’s films link to the naïve wonder of youth, or child-like emotions. Not only did he compose for animated films but also for normal films. Joe Hisaishi is also recognized for the soundtracks he has provided for filmmaker 'Beat' Takeshi Kitano, including A Scene at the Sea (1991), Dolls (2002), Kikujiro (1999) and many others.
What's so special about him?
Joe Hisaishi's music generates a highly stylistic and more mellow sound as compared to his contemporaries. A lot of his music is a mix of Japanese Classical, European Classical, experimental electronic and minimalist. The latter being felt almost in every piece that he composes.
Take for example Spirited Away’s score. He does not often put music to characters; sometimes he does, but for the most part the music expresses a certain emotion. It often happens that characters have reoccurring emotions. The universal themes that resonate throughout the film allow Joe Hisaishi to paint a palette of vibrant motifs in the score, covering emotions like love, loneliness, youth and acceptance.
All in all?
His music is really something to behold as you never really feel what you would normally feel when you listen to his compositions. Connections will be made and they will long linger in a state of near euphoria, don't believe me? Try for yourself.