Author: Richard Pusateri
Akira Ifukube has joined Tomoyuki Tanaka, Ishiro Honda and Eiji Tsuburaya in the next world. On February 8, 2006, Mr. Ifukube died at age 91, in Tokyo.
Born May 31, 1914 in Kushiro, Hokkaido, Mr. Ifukube grew up in a small village with a large population of Ainu, the native people of Japan. This early exposure to the pristine nature of Northern Japan and the culture of indigenous people greatly influenced his music. The “ostinato” style Mr. Ifukube later used in his film scores recapitulated the percussive, repetitive nature of Ainu folk music and dancing.
Mr. Ifukube’s early occupation was forestry but he was always interested in music. He pursued an informal musical education while played the violin. His brother, Isao, and the music of Igor Stravinsky, especially “The Rite of Spring,” inspired Mr. Ifukube to pursue the composition of classical music.
At age 21, he wrote “Japanese Rhapsody,” and it won the Tcherepnine Prize in 1935. After this break, his musical career accelerated as he received personal instruction from Alexander Tcherepnine.
SHOGO TOMIYAMA: REMEMBERING AKIRA IFUKUBE
A SciFi JAPAN EXCLUSIVE
Since 1989, Shogo Tomiyama has been directly involved with the making of each Godzilla film. Chosen as associate producer on GODZILLA VS BIOLLANTE by Godzilla co-creator Tomoyuki Tanaka, Tomiyama eventually became executive producer of the series. In 2004, he was promoted to President of Toho Pictures.
As the associate producer of GODZILLA VS KING GHIDORAH (1991), Tomiyama was thrilled to have Akira Ifukube return to score the film after 16 years away from the series. The two became good friends and would work together on three more Godzilla movies that included Ifukube’s final film soundtrack, GODZILLA VS DESTOROYAH (1995). Most of Tomiyama’s later Godzilla films would include at least one of Ifukube’s themes as a tribute to the maestro’s undeniable impact on the character and the franchise.
Mr. Tomiyama has graciously accepted SciFi Japan’s request for his thoughts on the passing of Mr Ifukube. The following is a direct translation of his words…