Kajiura Yuki

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Kajiura Yuki
Japanese 梶浦 由記
Born 6 August 1965
Occupation Composer and Songwriter

Yuki Kajiura is a successful Japanese composer for various commercial mediums. Her musical experimentation of genre-blending and distinct style have won her many fans and a unique presence in the animation world. Most noted are her animation partnerships with Bee Train studios, participation in the female pop duo See-Saw, and collaborations with several artists under the name FictionJunction. She currently resides in Tokyo.

Contents

Biography

Due to her father's work, Kajiura resided in West Germany until 1972 when entering middle school. She was classically trained on the piano from an early age, pushed by her father, and came to compose her first song at the age of 7, a farewell song to her grandmother. [1] After graduating from college in Tokyo, she began a career as a Systems Engineering programmer. However, she eventually found that her time would only allow her job or her interest in music. Greatly encouraged by her father, a lover of operic and classical music, she focused on the latter. [2]

In 1992, Kajiura made her debut in the all-female-trio group See-Saw, then consisting of Ishikawa Chiaki (lead vocals), herself (back-up vocals, keyboards) and Nishioka Yukiko. Ishikawa had originally signed on without any former experience with encouragement by Kajiura. In 1994, the pop group broke up after two albums and six singles. Nishioka turned to writing while Kajiura pursued a solo-career composing music for other artists, commertials, television, films, animation, and games.

Her first animation soundtrack was Kimagure Orange Road in 1996. She was invited by the producer due to her work with See-Saw and was excited to compose for a genre she was largely unfamiliar with. However, arguably her career took off when she worked with director Mashimo Kōichi as composer for the animation Eat-Man in 1997.

In 2001, Chiaka Ishikawa and herself reformed See-Saw. About this same time, Kajiura got involved with Bee-Train's controversal and wildly successful production Noir. Despite conflicting reactions to the series amoung reviewers, all noted it's unique and atmospheric soundtrack that maintained a character all in itself throughout the series rather than submitting to mere background music. Influences for the soundtrack were a mix of french-flair, European styles, classical works, pop, and techno.

Mashimo's unique approach to animation gave Kajiura the artistic freedom she craved to create music she was interested in. Although sometimes confused, she would be asked to create music in terms of breadth and scale rather then quality based on character sketches and the "Mashimo Menu". Without specifying specific songs needed, Mashimo Kōichi pens titles such as "The Gatekeeper of Hell is All Alone" which turned into Madlax's theme, and "Picture Book, Blood, and Deep-Sea Fish," which later became Margaret's theme. Kajiura interprets this as a challenge on the part of the director and says it ignites a special creative spirit from herself.

In 2002, she was re-invited to join Bee-Train on the next Mashimo project, .hack//SIGN. See-Saw produced the OP and ED as well as several edits, while Kajiura focused on the soundtrack. During the production, Kajiura met singer Emily Bindiger and "fell in love" with her voice. [3] She collaborated with her in no less than ten songs. The soundtrack sold 300,000 over units.

In 2003, See-Saw sold 100,000 copies of their new album Dreamfield, heralding another success. Her solo album, Fiction was released in the same year. Other major hits include Anna ni Issho Datta no ni, and ending theme for Mobile Suit Gundam SEED that sold 200,000 hits as well as inserts and an OP for Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny that marked her wildest success to date. After her work on Madlax in 2004, she has been invited to several high profile series to compose soundtracks including Mai-HiME as well as the third OST for Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny.

Artist Collaborations

Yuki Kajiura - under the pen name FictionJunction - has collaborated with a number of artsts: Nanri Yuuka, Kato Asuka, and Oda Kaori. Perhaps the most successful of such collaborations was FictionJunction YUUKA with Yuuka Nanri in the album Destination (2005).

Discography

Animation soundtracks

Animation Title Year of Release
Kimagure Orange Road 1996
Eat-Man 1997
Noir (OST I, II, III) 2001
Aquarian Age 2002
.hack//SIGN 2002
.hack//Liminality 2002
Le Portrait De Petit Cossette 2004
Madlax (OST I, II, OP & ED Single) 2004
Mai-HiME 2004
Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny OST 3 (with Toshihiko Sahashi) 2004
Tsubasa Chronicle 2005
Elemental Gelade 2005
Mai-Otome 2005

Game soundtracks

Game Title Game Platform Year of Release Company
Double Cast PlayStation 1998 Sony Computer Entertainment
Meguri-aishite PlayStation 1999 SME
Blood: The Last Vampire PlayStation 2 2000 Sony Computer Entertainment
Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Böse (movie scenes) (Xenosaga II - Zenaku no Higan) PlayStation 2 2004 Namco
Xenosaga Episode III: Also sprach Zarathustra PlayStation 2 2006 Namco

Movie soundtracks

Movie Title Year of Release Director
Tokyo-Kyodai 1995 Ichikawa Jun
RUBY FRUIT 1995 Takumi Kimiduka
Rainbow 1999 Naoto Kumazawa
Boogiepop and others 2000 Ryu Kaneda
MOON 2000 Takumi Kimiduka

Musicals

Musical Title Year of Release
Sakura-Wars 1998
Fine 1998
FUNK-a-STEP 1998
FUNK-a-STEP II 1999
Christmas Juliette 1999-2000
High-School Revolution 2000
Christmas Juliette 2000
Shooting-Star Lullaby 2001
Love's Labour's Lost/SET 2002
Angel Gate 2006

Solo albums

Album Title Year of Release
Fiction
  • 01. Key of the Twilight
  • 02. Cynical World
  • 03. Fake Wings
  • 04. Fiction
  • 05. Vanity
  • 06. Red Rose (only on Japanese album)
  • 07. Canta Per Me
  • 08. Zodiacal Sign
  • 09. Awakening
  • 10. Open Your Heart
  • 11. Winter
  • 12. Salva Nos
  • 13. Lullaby (only on Japanese album)
  • 14. Echo (only on Japanese album)
2003
FictionJunction YUUKA - Destination
  • 01. I'm Here
  • 02. Destination
  • 03. Nowhere
  • 04. Akatsuki no Kuruma
  • 05. Daremo inai Basho
  • 06. Seiya
  • 07. Shizukana Kotoba
  • 08. Futari
  • 09. Hitomi no Kakera
  • 10. Nostalgia
  • 11. Inside Your Heart
2005

Produced albums

(vocalist: Chiba Saeko)

Album Title Year of Release
Melody 2003
Everything 2004

See-Saw albums

(vocalist: Ishikawa Chiaki)

Album Title Year of Release
I Have a Dream 1993
See-Saw 1994
Dream Field 2003
Early Best 2003

Inserts and Singles

This section is unfinished

Genre Project Involvement Title Year
Anime .hack//SIGN Opening Theme (See-Saw) Obsession 2002
Anime .hack//SIGN Ending Theme (See-Saw) Yasashii Yoake 2002
Anime Chrono Crusade Ending Theme (with Saeko Chiba) "Sayonara Solitia" 2003
Game .hack//QUARANTINE Insert Yasashii Yoake 2003
Anime Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Ending Theme (See-Saw) Anna ni Issho Datta no ni 2003
Anime Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Insert (FictionJunction Yuuka) Akatsuki no Kuruma 2003
Anime Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny Second Ending Theme (See-Saw) Kimi wa Boku ni Niteiru 2004
Anime Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny Insert (FictionJunction YUUKA) Honoo No Tobira 2004
Anime .hack//Legend of the Twilight Ending Theme 2004
Anime Loveless Opening Theme 2005
Anime Shōnen Onmyōji Opening Theme Egao no Wake (The Meaning of Your Smile) 2006

Hired vocalists

  • Arisaka Mika (Jap. 有坂美香)
  • Emily Bindiger
  • Tulivu-Donna Cumberbatch
  • Emily Curtis
  • Margaret Dorn
  • Fion
  • Hikita Kaori (Jap. 引田香織)
  • Hisakawa Aya (Jap. 久川 綾)
  • Inoue Marina (Jap. 井上麻里奈)
  • Ishikawa Chiaki (Jap. 石川千亜紀 / 石川智晶) / See-Saw
  • Ito Eri (Jap. 伊東恵里)
  • Kaida Yuriko (Jap. 貝田由里子)
  • Kasahara Yuri (Jap. 笠原由里)
  • Kato Asuka (Jap. 加藤あすか) / FictionJunction ASUKA
  • Kikuchi Mika (Jap. 菊地美香)
  • Koshimizu Ami (Jap. 小清水亜美)
  • Kuwashima Hōko (Jap. 桑島法子)
  • Deb Lyons
  • Makino Yui (Jap. 牧野由依)
  • Miyamura Yuuko (Jap. 宮村優子)
  • Nanri Yuuka (Jap. 南里侑香) / FictionJunction YUUKA
  • Nishikawa Kaori
  • Nishina Kaori (Jap. 仁科かおり / 仁科薫理)
  • Oda Kaori (Jap. 織田かおり) / FictionJunction KAORI
  • Ogawa Noriko (Jap. 小川範子)
  • Okina Reika (Jap. 翁鈴佳)
  • Omi Minami (Jap. 南央美)
  • Saeko Chiba (Jap. 千葉紗子)
  • Tanaka Rie (Jap. 田中理恵)
  • TARAKO
  • Tomaru Hanae (Jap. 戸丸華江)
  • Tomokazu Seki (Jap. 関智一)
  • Yukana (Jap. ゆかな)

Trivia

  • To motivate herself to write music, all she has to do is to "keep the love of music alive".
  • She has to keep studying music because she got into music later than her peers. However she believes her strength lies in her selfishness. Being selfish allows her to make music that she is most interested in.
  • Director Mashimo describes Kajiura as "Terrifying and extremely clever".
  • The volume of the soundtrack in Bee-Train's series are often turned up in comparison to other shows where music isn't so dominant. The reason is because Director Mashimo believes it is "a perfect fit".
  • Kajiura's advice to those interested in pursuing a similar career is that it is largely the result of luck. Just "make your own music to be proud of".
  • Mashimo takes Kajiura's music and places it wherever he wants to. She knows a song is liked the more it is played.
  • Yuki Kajiura likes to experiment with the sounds of languages in her songs, creating complex choruses of "nonsense" languages that she feels express the emotion of the song. The most prominent examples are "Yanmaani" in "nowhere" from Madlax OST I and "Mezame" from the first Mai-HiME original soundtrack. These artificial languages are sometimes collectively referred as "Kajiuran". [4]
  • One of Kajiura's favorite anime characters is Chloe from Noir.

References

  1. RocketBaby's interview with Yuki Kajiura, retrieved on 25 July 2006
  2. Yuki Kajiura's biography at the Internet Movie Database, retrieved on 25 July 2006
  3. Report of Yuki Kajiura's concert at Anime Expo 2003, retrieved on 25 July 2006
  4. Labyrinthos.org's description of the Xenosaga II Movie Scene Soundtrack, retrieved on 25 July 2006

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