Stream Hundreds of Hours of Studio Ghibli Movie Music That Will Help You Study, Work, or Simply Relax: My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away & More

The Boy and the Heron, the lat­est fea­ture from mas­ter ani­ma­tor Hayao Miyaza­ki, opened in Japan this past sum­mer. In that it marks his lat­est emer­gence from his sup­posed “retire­ment,” we could label it not just as late Miyaza­ki, but per­haps even “post-late” Miyaza­ki. But the film nev­er­the­less shares sig­nif­i­cant qual­i­ties with his ear­li­er work, not least a score com­posed by Joe Hisaishi. Since Nau­si­caä of the Val­ley of the Wind — which opened in 1984, even before the foun­da­tion of Stu­dio Ghi­b­li — Hisaishi’s music has done near­ly as much to estab­lish the sen­si­bil­i­ty of Miyaza­k­i’s films as their lav­ish, imag­i­na­tive ani­ma­tion, and you can stream hun­dreds of hours of it with this Youtube playlist.

Each of the playlist’s 121 two-hour videos offers musi­cal selec­tions from a mix of Ghi­b­li movies, includ­ing Miyaza­ki favorites like My Neigh­bor Totoro, Por­co Rosso, and Spir­it­ed Away, and also the works of oth­er direc­tors: Yoshi­fu­mi Kondō’s Whis­per of the Heart, Hiro­masa Yonebayashi’s Arri­et­ty,  Gorō Miyaza­k­i’s From Up on Pop­py Hill.

If you’ve seen those pic­tures, these qui­et, often min­i­mal ren­di­tions of their music will sure­ly bring their ani­mat­ed fan­tasies right back to mind. Even if you haven’t, they can still ful­fill the func­tion promised by the videos’ titles of set­ting a mood con­ducive to study, work, or sim­ple relax­ation.

So beloved are Hisaishi’s scores, for Miyaza­ki and oth­ers (most notably come­di­an-auteur Takeshi Kitano), that it’s pos­si­ble to know the music long before you’ve seen the movies. And even in per­for­mances con­sid­er­ably dif­fer­ent from the ver­sions heard on the actu­al sound­tracks, they always sound imme­di­ate­ly rec­og­niz­able as Hisaishi’s work. Shaped by an eclec­tic set of influ­ences (born Mamoru Fuji­sawa, he took on his pro­fes­sion­al name as an homage to Quin­cy Jones), he devel­oped a com­po­si­tion­al style nei­ther strict­ly East­ern nor West­ern. The same can be said about Ghi­b­li movies them­selves, which often pos­sess both fairy-tale Euro­pean set­tings and Japan­ese philo­soph­i­cal under­pin­nings. Wher­ev­er you place your­self on the cul­tur­al map, you’d do well to make their music the sound­track of your own life.

Relat­ed con­tent:

Calm Down & Study with Relax­ing Piano, Jazz & Harp Cov­ers of Music from Hayao Miyaza­ki Films

De-Stress with 30 Min­utes of Relax­ing Visu­als from Direc­tor Hayao Miyaza­ki

The Films of Hayao Miyaza­ki Cel­e­brat­ed in a Glo­ri­ous Con­cert Arranged by Film Com­pos­er Joe Hisaishi

Hayao Miyaza­ki, The Mind of a Mas­ter: A Thought­ful Video Essay Reveals the Dri­ving Forces Behind the Animator’s Incred­i­ble Body of Work

Stu­dio Ghi­b­li Makes 1,178 Images Free to Down­load from My Neigh­bor Totoro, Spir­it­ed Away & Oth­er Beloved Ani­mat­ed Films

Based in Seoul, Col­in Marshall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.


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