Inuyasha’s anime has an amazing score—and it seems that Kagome’s theme song may actually be based on Simon & Garfunkel’s “Scarborough Fair.”
Inuyasha is an anime classic that has endured the test of time, which is appropriate considering the story centers around Kagome Higurashi’s trips back in time to Sengoku-Era Japan. Almost every aspect of the series evokes the magic and mystery of the distant past, often showing how it influences the present.
Kagome is caught between her life as a schoolgirl in modern Tokyo and the adventures she go on with the half-demon Inuyasha in the turmoil of Japan’s feudal past. One of the many ways the series captivates audiences is with its incredible musical score, which intensifies every action scene, heart-wrenching tragedy and romantic development. Each of the main characters has their own theme song and some fans have noticed is that Kagome’s theme seems to have been inspired by the 1960s American folk-rock duo Simon and Garfunkel, and specifically their hit song “Scarborough Fair.”
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The idea of Simon and Garfunkel’s influence makes much more sense when you consider who it was they influenced and how in terms of music. Inuyasha‘s musical score was composed by Kaoru Wada, who had previously worked on such projects as Gegege no Kitaro and the revolutionary film Ninja Scroll.
Wada taught himself music at a young age and eventually attended Tokyo College of Music. After graduating, he traveled through Europe, studying music in different countries and joining an orchestra that toured through the US, Japan and multiple European countries, including England. Years later, when he composed Inuyasha‘s score, he opened Kagome’s theme song with the same musical motif as “Scarborough Fair” — something that is certainly no accident given his extensive musical education.
While Simon and Garfunkel popularized “Scarborough Fair,” the song can actually be traced back to the Scottish folk ballad “The Elfin Knight,” which was printed in the 1600s. Considering that Kagome is a modern girl who travels back to the Sengoku Era (which ended in 1600) and is a reincarnation of the Sengoku priestess Kikyo, it is quite significant that Kagome’s theme is based on a song from the 1600s that was remade in modern times. Paul Simon learned the song in the 1960s while traveling in England and Art Garfunkel adapted the arrangement with another work of Simon’s. Similarly, Wada, who traveled in England while studying music, appears to have adapted the song to fit into Inuyasha‘s score, bridging the past with the present.
As the Redditer lawncorazon said in a thread on the topic, the song “Scarborough Fair” is a great fit for Kagome’s theme, as it “connotes doing impossible things for the one you love, and we all know Kagome did everything she could to make Inuyasha trust her and love again.” Indeed, it is hard to think of a more thematically appropriate piece of music to capture the essence of Kagome’s journey.
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