Birthday: February 4, 1953
Birthplace: Toyohashi, Japan
aka: Masanori Takahashi
Kojiki: A Story in Concert
Heaven and Earth
1978 - Ten Kai/Astral Voyage/Astral Voyager/Astral Trip
1979 - Full Moon Story/Daichi
1980 - Silk Road (a.k.a. The Soghdian Merchants on VHS)
1980 - Silk Road II
1980 - In Person/In Person Digital (Live)
1980 - Silk Road Suite (conducted by Paul Buckmaster with The London Symphony Orchestra)
1981 - Silk Road III: Tunhuang/Tonko/Dunhuang
1981 - Best of Kitaro vol 1
1982 - World of Kitaro (conducted by John Lubbock with London Philharmonic Orchestra)
1981 - Radio House Ginga
1981 - Ki
1982 - Utopia
1982 - Millennia/Queen Millennia
1983 - Silk Road IV: Tenjiku/India
1983 - Portopia '81/Portpier Matsushita Kan (Single included in Noah's Ark)
1983 - Aura No Saiten
1984 - Silver Cloud/Cloud
1984 - Live in Asia/Asia Super Tour Live/Asia (Live)
1986 - Toward the West/Endless Journey/Saihou: Journey of Silk Road
1986 - Tenku
1987 - The Light of the Spirit
1988 - Ten Years/Best of Ten Years
1990 - Kojiki
1991 - Live in America
1992 - Dream/Lady of Dreams (with Jon Anderson)
1993 - Heaven and Earth
1994 - Mandala
1994 - Tokusen II (CD 1 Best Of, CD 2 Live in Osaka)
1995 - An Enchanted Evening (Live)
1996 - Peace On Earth
1996 - Kitaro World of Music (Yu-Xiao Guang plays Kitaro's music)
1997 - Cirque Ingenieux
1998 - Gaia-Onbashira 1998 - Six Musical Portraits (best of)
1998 - Romantic Ballads
1999 - Best of Kitaro vol 2
1999 - Thinking of You
2000 - The Soong Sisters 2000 - The Essential Collection (Japan only)
2000 - Nile (Single included in Ancient)
2001 - Ancient
2001 - Endless Journey (best of)
2001 - Healing Forest (best of)
2001 - Noah's Ark (best of)
2002 - An Ancient Journey
2002 - Daylight, Moonlight in Yakushiji/Yakushi-Ji (Live)
2002 - Mizu Ni Inorte
2002 - Asian Cafe/Ashu Chakan (best of)
2003 - Best of Silk Road
2003 - Sacred Journey of Ku-Kai
2004 - Shikoku 88 Places
2005 - Sacred Journey of Ku-Kai Volume 2
2006 - Spiritual Garden
2007 - Sacred Journey of Ku-Kai Volume 3
2008 - The Definitive Collection (best of)
2008 - Toyo's Camera (best of - soundtrack)
2009 - Impressions Of The West Lake
2010 - Sacred Journey of Ku-Kai Volume 4
All Roads Lead To Rome
Across The Karakum Desert
Across The Pamir
In Search Of Wisdom
Tamayura (2001 DVD)
Kitaro with Others
Far East Family Band - Far Out (1973)
Far East Family Band - The Cave Down To Earth (1974)
Far East Family Band - Nipponjin (1975)
Far East Family Band - Parallel World (1976)
Far East Family Band - Tenkujin (1977)
Gyuto Monks - Gyuto Monks
Gyuto Monks - Freedom Chants From The Roof Of The World (with Philip Glass & Mickey Hart)(1988)
Peter McEvilley & Rachel Leslie - Ninja Scroll (Soundtrack)(2003)
Nawang Khechog - Karuna (Kitaro's World Of Music), produced by Kitaro (1995)
Journey To The Heart I (2002) collection of New Age music
Journey To The Heart II (2002)
Journey To The Heart III (2002)
Journey To The Heart IV (2002)
Music For The Spirit Vol. 1 (1998) collection of New Age music
Music For The Spirit Vol. 2 (1999)
Music For The Spirit Vol. 3 (2001)
Music For The Spirit Vol. 4
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"For me, music is art and a way of life, but so much more. It's a mission. To learn more about how I understand life and life around me." - Kitaro
Legends in music are born from a burning desire to chart their own path. For Grammy and Golden Globe Award winning Kitaro, his path would lead him into the heart of the New Age music, yet go far beyond any such label. A true genius of composition, Kitaro's works have expanded into many genres, but at their core is a wondrous spiritual understanding for expressing the depth of human emotions.
His credits are vast, from his scores for the film "Heaven and Earth", his "Silk Road" series to more recent "Sacred Journey of Ku-Kai" series and his score to the upcoming film "442 - Live With Honor, Die With Dignity." There seems no end to his ability to fill our world with music that moves the heart.On July 22, 2010 Kitaro was kind enough to give an interview to Andrew from J-Pop World. All photos courtesy of Kitaro and Domo Music.
You recently wrote the soundtrack for the upcoming film "442 - Live With Honor, Die With Dignity." Can you tell us about the movie and how you became involved with it?
"442" is the second installment of the Japanese American trilogy directed by Mr. Junichi Suzuki. It is about 442nd Infantry Regiment consisted of mainly Japanese American soldiers who fought not only against the enemy, but fought against prejudice. I got the offer from Mr. Suzuki for the film "Toyo's Camera - Japanese American History during WWII". I was inspired by his concept, so I was willing to accept that offer and welcome him to use my music, and so as the 442. If I had much time, I wanted to create original songs. But the music matched the images perfectly and I was very glad.
Who else worked on the music with you, and can you give us an insight of what the writing and recording sessions were like?
In 1993, I worked with the film director Oliver Stone for the film "Heaven & Earth". He has so much energy and when he directs movies, he creates very unique atmosphere around him. So I let myself lean on it and as a result I won the Golden Grove Award for its soundtrack album.
How do you feel seeing the final product with your music included?
I think the music matches the film perfectly. I hope my music gives powerful and dramatic elements to the film.
Your latest soundtrack for "Impressions of the West Lake" was, to no one's surprise, nominated for a Grammy. Can you tell us about this latest project?
This is the collaboration with Chinese director, Zhang Yimou. He created a modern day opera about the story of the city of Hangzhou. The performers dance atop the surface of the lake, and the combination of the music, dance and image is very spectacular.
What type of instructions from Zhang Yimou did you receive for crafting each separate piece of music?
When he saw my DVD where I performed on the pond at Japanese style park ("Tamayura"), he asked me if I can make songs for his show which is about the legend of ancient China. Even though I studied Chinese music, it was a big challenge for me and to create music for Chinese traditional story. Actually I was worried if the Japanese musicians really can do. After I got the offer, I visited Hangzhou once and talked to Zhang so many times by emails. China has a long history with varieties of cultures, and I wanted to express that as much as I can.
"Sacred Journey of Ku-Kai Volume 4" is scheduled to be released in August. Can you tell us more about this project?
I first started this project in 2001 inspired by the events of September 11. On that day, I was on the plane going to Los Angeles from Japan, but the plane was diverted to Honolulu for 5 days. During that time, I have wondered what I could do for world peace as a musician, then I came up with the idea of recording ancient Japanese temple bells (The bells make people calm and peaceful in Japan) and creating songs using that samples. There are 88 temples in the island called "Shikoku". For the Ku-Kai vol.4, I used the samples from the temple # 32~39, and created 8 songs.
On August 24 you plan to perform on Mt. Fuji with the description of "This event starts Sunset till next morning." What can those lucky fans expect to experience?
This event is something I do every year to celebrate mother Earth. I play Taiko after the sunset and keep playing until the sunrise. Anybody can join me and play Taiko with me. The sunrise from the Mt. Fuji is very beautiful.
Looking back now at the beginning of your career, what did you realistically expect to achieve in a career in music at the time?
During the 60's and 70's, I listened to a lot of music when I was a teenager in Japan. I was influenced by American progressive rock and R&B. This music and movement opened my mind to many things. I started to play guitar first, then drums, bass and keyboards. That was when I graduated high school when I decided to dedicate myself to music in my entire life. But I have never gone to music school nor studied music theories. All I wanted to do was create and perform songs that come from my soul. I believed that I could do that. But I didn't think about what I would achieve in my music career at that time.
What do you consider to be the basis of what people call New Age music today?
The music industry calls my music "New Age" and that's fine with me. But to me, my music is "Kitaro's music". I don't pay attention to what people label my music. I spend my time thinking about life and people through my music. I believe New Age music is still alive today even thought there is not as much being composed as it was like in the 1980's.
What advice would you give young musicians wondering how they can make a career out of their love of music?
When I graduated high school, my parents told me to find the steady job and I had to. But I was feeling that this is not what I wanted and I couldn't stop thinking about music. So, the first day of the work, I was supposed to attend the ceremony and the training for new employees, but I skipped and I've never gone. My mother was so angry later, but I told her that I wanted to work for something I really love, and finally I convinced her. And I've never regretted my decision.
So, I think you should believe in yourself and do what you really love from the bottom of your heart.
Let's end with the big question: what does music mean to you?
For me, music is art and a way of life, but so much more. It's a mission. To learn more about how I understand life and life around me.
Do you have a final message to all your fans?I really appreciate people who support me all the time. I will keep creating and performing my music and I hope we can spread the world peace together.
For more info checkout Kitaro's official site, Facebook and MySpace page. Leave your comments about this interview and read what others had to say at the following link: Interview Comments