Princess Mononoke (song)

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From the press kit on the Ghibli Home Page

Mh song mera.jpg

It began by accident. The singing voice from the FM radio which Mr. Miyazaki happened to be listening to in the car on the way to Ghibli shook his soul and gave him an inspiration. "Is this a male voice? If we could have him sing a song in 'Mononoke Hime'..."

It was a countertenor, Mr. Yoshikazu Mera. Right now, only classical music fans know his name. However, by the end of this year, his singing voice may be heard all over Japan.

A countertenor is a male singer who sings in a higher key than a tenor, using falsetto. It's a wondrous voice, which is hard to tell if it's a male or female. It's literally ever-changing. We could call him a magician of voice.

Mr. Mera was born in Miyazaki Prefecture, in 1971. He graduated from Senzouku Gakuen University first on the list. He received the top award at the 8th Kogaku competition in 1994, and 3rd place at the 6th Sougakudou Japan music competition in 1995. Currently, he is studying at Swelink Music Academy (sp?) in Amsterdam as a Dutch national scholar, and is busy traveling between Japan and the Netherlands as an entertainer who can sing from classics, Japanese songs, spirituals, to musical numbers.

As soon as Mr. Mera started his career as a singer, he became well known in the circle, but actually, he was first recognized overseas. In 1995, BIS Record, a Swedish company which is known to find hidden talents, took notice of "Bach Collegium Japan", an ensemble of which Mr. Mera is a member. BIS decided to publish CDs of the whole cantatas by Bach played by Bach Collegium Japan. It is a grand plan, which will take 60 CDs and finish in 2010.

Mr. Mera's singing in this series was highly acclaimed, and his CD, "Song of Mother/ Japanese Songs", which was published in September, 1996, not only gave an impact to the Japanese classical music scene, but also sold tremendously well as a classical CD.

Just when his talent had started receiving recognition, Mr. Mera and "Mononoke Hime" met each other. Could this be just an accident?

In singing "Mononoke Hime", Mr. Mera says as follows: "I was very glad to have this chance, since I've been wanting to sing "new" Japanese songs which suit my feeling of "now", not just "classics". Mr. Hisaishi's music is fantastic."

The song, "Mononoke Hime", which Mr. Mera will sing, was composed by Mr. Joe Hisaishi, who did music for other Miyazaki films. It is based on the notes in which Mr. Miyazaki wrote down his images about the movie when he was planning this movie.

Originally, Mr. Miyazaki had no intention to use a song in "Mononoke Hime". However, he was attracted to a kind of "sensuality" of "a female voice by a male", and he changed the plan. Mr. Suzuki, the producer, then talked with Mr. Hisaishi, and it was decided to use a song in the movie.

The song has been already recorded. Mr. Miyazaki attended to the recording. Mr. Mera, who is a big fan of Miyazaki anime, was excited very much.

"I was wondering from whose viewpoint should I sing this song, and Mr. Miyazaki said 'This is the song which Ashitaka is whispering to San in his mind.' Mr. Miyazaki is great. His words gave me a clear image of how I should sing the song."

In the movie, the song will be used in the scene in which Ashitaka sees San's sleeping face in the cave, and talks with Moro the mountain dog. Mr. Mera sings Ashitaka's heart with great feeling.

Mh song lyrics.jpg

Mononoke Hime

Lyrics by Hayao Miyazaki
Music by Joe Hisaishi


はりつめた弓の ふるえる弦よ
Haritsumeta yumi no Furueru tsuru yo
月の光にざわめく おまえの心
Tsuki no hikari ni zawameku Omae no Kokoro
とぎすまされた 刃の美しい
Togisumasareta Yaiba no utsukushi
そのきっさきによく似た そなたの横顔
Sono kissaki ni yoku nita Sonata no Yokogao
悲しみと怒りにひそむ まことの心を
Kanashimi to ikari ni hisomu Makoto no Kokoro wo
知るは 森の精
Shiru wa Mori no sei
Mononoke tachi dake
Mononoke tachi dake

English Translation (by Deborah Goldsmith and Ryoko Toyama)

The trembling string of a taut bow
Your Heart is unsettled by the Moonlight

The beauty of a sharp blade
Thy profile, very much like its edge

Thy true heart hides behind the sorrow and anger
The spirits of the forest know it
Only the Mononoke
Only the Mononoke