A little something about the song “Hikoukigumo”

So as some of you might know, I went to Japan a week ago and got to watch the new Studio Ghibli movie, Kaze Tachinu. While it was a great movie, what really touched me was the theme song, “Hikoukigumo” sang by Yuming. My mother and I were lucky enough to watch an interview where one of the producers of Kaze Tachinu talked about how Yuming reacted to Miyazaki wanting to use her song in the movie. She was delighted- but probably not for the reason you think.  

In case you didn’t know, “Hikoukigumo” was not written for Kaze Tachinu, as most Ghibli movie theme songs are. Yuming wrote it when she was 16. When Miyazaki heard it he chose it, saying that it was perfect for the movie. 

Yuming wrote “Hikoukigumo” because of a very close friend she had since Elementary school. Her friend had a weak constitution and was constantly ill. At the early age of 14, Yuming started her singing career and traveled around, taking voice lessons and performing. When she returned to her home town and visited her friend’s house, she was greeted by a shrine and the news of her friend’s death. 

In her sadness, Yuming wrote “Hikoukigumo” and recorded it, however it was never a success compared to her other songs. So when Miyazaki contacted her and told her he wanted to use it in his film, she was overjoyed. 

I wanted to pass this on, because “Hikoukigumo” is already such a lovely song, but when you know the background behind it it becomes even more touching. Now my mother and I can’t listen to it without tearing up! This song is the most popular song in Japan right now, you hear it practically everywhere (something that I’m sure Yuming is happy about). If you have the time, I recommend you to listen to it with the lyrics at hand. 

(English Translation of the Lyrics below, since I couldn’t find one on the Internet. A warning though, that I’m not very fluent in Japanese) 

The white steep road reached the sky
Swaying side to side, the heat haze wrapped around that child 
Nobody noticing, all alone
That child climbs up 
Fearing nothing, she soars 

Admiring the Sky 
Dashing across the Sky 
That child’s life is a contrail 

Even before that child died, through the tall window
she was gazing up at the sky. I don’t know if she still does
Nobody else will know
They will only think that she was too young (to die) 
but she is happy 

Admiring the Sky 
Dashing across the Sky 
That child’s life is a contrail 

Admiring the Sky 
Dashing across the Sky 
That child’s life is a contrail