“Kurenai-emaki”, an original CD by Yuzuru Jinma, that stunned the Japanese anime and game industry
Yuzuru Jinma is one of the most notable Japanese sound creators in the anime and game music industry in Japan today. As a composer, he orchestrates Japanese traditional musical instruments to create epic fantasy music. We interviewed him about his work and about anime, game, and film production in Japan!
Most of the works related to anime, game, and film in Japan are centralized in Tokyo. In other words, if you really want to work in the industry, you have to be in Tokyo. Yuzuru Jinma was born and raised in a small city called Kitami in Hokkaido, far away from the capital. He had been working in Hokkaido, waiting for an opportunity to introduce his music to the industry for a long time. Recently he set his mind on success, left for Tokyo to realize his dream, and he managed to became a professional composer. You can check his website (in Japanese) to find out more about his past. Here, you are going to hear about his present and future!
Profile of Yuzuru Jinma
Composer (music composing, arrangement, producing, and orchestration)
Born in Kitami city, Hokkaido
Official website: http://jinmajinma.net/
What genre of work did you do at first after being a professional?
‘In the beginning, I started producing background music for Pachinko and slot machines. And then gradually I received music-related work for films, stage dramas, television programs, games, and songs, and some arrangements for orchestrated concerts. I basically accept any kind of work that sounds interesting, so I’m quite light-footed.’
What was the most memorable piece of work you have done for anime or games?
the recording of the second chapter from Moon Sage: Secret of Yoshitsune Series (http://moonsaga.jp/)
I joined the music production team for this one, but I regard these two as the foundation of my own music production style. Especially Moon Saga is more than just music for stage drama but managed to become a general entertainment piece that reached the world of anime, game, and film. I would like a lot of people all over the world to listen to this particular work.
a ceremonial photo with string musicians after the recording for ‘Moon Saga’
Tell me about your policy for anime and game music production.
‘I always prioritize what I want the end-users to feel. I need to realize what the director wants to express, but I have to convey that feeling first to the end users, and I also question myself as to what I should do to materialize the feeling that conveys that? That is very important.
Other than that, when I look back at the content of the work I was asked to do, it often felt like the directors had quite exaggerated tastes, for example, “more flamboyant for flamboyant stuff” and “sadder for sad stuff.” So I tried to create an element of, what should I call it, a certain edge in music. That, I think, has become the nature of my music.
When I realized that I happen to have a lot of musical works with a Japanese flavor, I got to know a lot of colleagues who play Japanese traditional instruments. This sound became part of my repertoire. I have always been pretty good at orchestration, and adding Japanese traditional instruments has become one of my music styles, a Japanese and Western fusion of orchestration as I see it.
I used to find it cheap and nonsensical to have Japanese traditional instruments just because we’re Japanese. I thought it was too cliche or stereotypical, like ‘All Indians eat curry in Japanese TV dramas’ type of thing, and didn’t like it. But after having actually experienced using those traditional instruments in an arrangement, I changed and started to think that I should rather integrate the sound of our own heart and soul because I’m Japanese. I found the sound of those Japanese instruments so cool. The ancient traditional music formed in the Heian to Muromachi Periods has this concept called ‘Ma’ (interval / space) that cannot be expressed in Western music scores. Fusing such elements with my orchestration always gives me a new potential to my music.’
Tell me about your activity plans in 2017
‘Currently, I’m visiting Germany for the first time in my life for ‘The 17th Japan-Filmfest Hamburg’ in May, as one of the films I worked on is being screened. I’m also composing soundtracks for a game and a film, and producing several J-Pop CDs.
What about your future activities in music production?
Flier of a live event produced by Jinma in Taiwan in 2016
‘I’ve produced a lot of events and live concerts as a breather throughout 2016. I produced a live concert with Keiichi Sugiyama, a music composer/arranger, as a friendly exchange project with both Japanese and Taiwanese artists.’
a ceremonial photo with musicians after the live concert in Taiwan
‘I’m planning to concentrate on the creating side of my activities in 2017 and 2018. I really want to concentrate on creating for a while. Right now, I’m thinking of working not just domestically but globally, maybe by having an overseas base. Traveling between Asia, America, Europe, I would like to create some music for creative works all around the planet.’
Yuzuru Jinma and the Love for Music
Please check out Yuzuru Jinma and his work! The anime, game, and film industry in Japan is full of new and amazing talents just like him.
I have many different kinds of achievements from the comic, anime and game industry under my belt, such as writing novelisations for games including 'Onimusha 2', 'Persona' and 'Persona 2' as well as writing and directing the drama CD 'The Rose of Versailles' under the supervision of manga author Riyoko Ikeda.
In 2005, I started up the troupe 'Voice Magic', (http://nanbara1102.wixsite.com/voicemagic) which holds live performances to help up-and-coming voice actors improve their skills. I currently have strong connections to the anime and voice acting industry, and am currently offering free advice to foreign companies that are looking to make anime in Japan.