Joe Hisaishi (? ??) was born on December 6, 1950, in Nagano. He started his career as a composer of modern music when he was still a student at the Kunitachi College of Music. At that time, he was into minimalist music. He released his first album, "Information" in 1982.
In 1983, he was recommended by a record company to create the Image Album for Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind, which was being made into a movie. Miyazaki was so impressed with the Image Album that he often played it during the movie production. Although the soundtrack of Nausicaa was to be composed by a certain "famous" composer, Isao Takahata (the producer of Nausicaa) and Miyazaki strongly recommended that Hisaishi should do the soundtrack as well. The rest is history.
Hisaishi also composed the beautiful and unforgettable music for other Miyazaki anime films; Laputa, Kiki, Porco Rosso, Mononoke Hime, Spirited Away, and Howl's Moving Castle, among other soundtracks for other directors' films. His music played a very important role in these movies. He has also released many other albums, and he worked as the executive producer at and wrote the theme song for the 1998 Nagano Paralympics.
He has composed over 40 film soundtracks. He has won many awards, including five Japanese Academy Awards for Best Music, the 48th Newcomer Award from the Ministry of Education (Public Entertainment Section), and others. Today he is regarded as one of the most influential composers in the Japanese film industry.
His name, "Hisaishi Joe" (family name first) came from "Quincy Jones". The kanji for "Hisaishi" could be read as "Kuishi", which is close to the Japanese pronunciation of "Quincy", and "Joe" of course came from "Jones". Hisaishi himself chose this name, when he needed a stage name.