Studio Ghibli is moving into the music business. Famous for such anime classics as “Howl’s Moving Castle,” “Spirited Away” and “Princess Mononoke,” the studio is producing the single “Dore Dore no Uta” by singer-songwriter Haigou Meiko (27). Haigou has written several ditties for TV commercials, and a clip from her latest song was used in a Yomiuri Shimbun TV commercial in the spring. It became very popular among young kids, who liked its simple melody. Ghibli producer Suzuki Toshio (60) says he sees the decline in CD sales as foreshadowing what could happen in the anime world. The studio’s venture into a new business area is an effort to keep up with emerging trends. He’s hoping the single, which goes on sale July 6, will be a million-seller and has already hinted at plans for a follow up.
• A couple of stars from yesteryear are reviving memories of a time 18 years ago. Former idol singer Minamino Yoko (38) is celebrating her 20th year in show business and plans to release a new version of her 1987 hit “Haikara-san ga Tohru.” Widely known as Nanno, the popular singer recently released a compilation CD & DVD box set of her 80s hits. And the 50th anniversary of late actor-singer Ishihara Yujiro’s (photo) 1954 debut sees the release of a whole range of merchandise. Japan’s biggest superstar of the 1950s and 60s, a collection of all his No.1 singles is being compared to similar albums of Beatles and Elvis hits that have sold well in recent years. In a historic first, the album will be on sale at post offices across the country, along with a set of commemorative postage stamps featuring jacket covers of some of his biggest hits. On July 17, the anniversary of his death in 1987, the biopic drama that ran on TV Asahi for five nights last autumn is also to be released on DVD, together with a couple of his early film posters. Although the box set goes for a whopping ¥42,000, advance orders have already reached the 5,000 mark.