Thursday, February 09, 2006

"Godzilla" theme composer Ifukube Akira passes away

Ifukube Akira, the renowned film composer who created themes for "Godzilla," The Burmese Harp" (Biruma no Tategoto) and numerous other works, died of multiple organ failure on February 8th in Tokyo at the age of 91.

Born in Kushiro, Hokkaido in 1914, Ifukube began composing music while studying forestry at university, and later became a lecturer at the Tokyo College of Music (Tokyo Ongaku Gakko) in 1946. During his tenure there he taught composition to many future songsmiths, including prolific film composers Akutagawa Yasushi (Shiro Toyoda's "Portrait of Hell" (Jigokuhen) and Mayuzumi Toshiro (Ozu Yasujiro's "Good Morning" (Ohayo)).

Ifukube's first composition for film was for Taniguchi Senkichi's "Snow Trail" (Ginrei no Hate) in 1947, and he subsequently created memorable music for the "Godzilla," "Daimajin" and "Zatoichi" series, as well as scores of other films.

In his childhood in Hokkaido, Ifukube was influenced by the music of the Ainu, one of Japan's indigenous peoples, and he went on to produce many orchestral compositions including "Japanese Rhapsody" (Nihon Kyoshikyoku), widely regarded as his masterpiece.

Ifukube later served as president of Tokyo College of Music between 1976 and 1987, and was designated as a Person of Cultural Merit (bunka korosha) by the Japanese government in 2003. (source: Sanspo)

MDN has the story covered here.

For more information on Ifukube Akira, see Toho Kingdom, Wikipedia, The International Shakuhachi Society, Naxos, and Godzilla & Other Monster Music.

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