One of the most respected of serious composers in Japan since the 1950s, Akira Ifukbe has also led something of a double life as one of the most popular and prolific film composers in Japan since the late ’40s. He was born in Kushiro on the island of Hokkaido in 1914, which was one of the homes of the aboriginal Ainu. As a boy, Ifukube listened to their music, which greatly influenced his own musical creativity. Ifukube was a self-taught violinist and earned prizes for his early compositional efforts. He majored in music and forestry, and the latter provided him with his living until just after World War II, when he began teaching music as a professor at Tokyo Art University, and started writing film scores, principally at Toho Studios. His movie scores quickly distinguished themselves for their inventiveness and richness, incorporating Eastern and Western elements.
In 1954, Ifukube was assigned to score the Toho film Gojira, directed by Ishiro Honda, which provided him with… read more