Chiba: Film immortalizes school fight song composer

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CHIBA — The life of a young man who composed a famous sports tune for his high school will be immortalized in a film, “Hatachi no Soul” (The soul of a 20-year-old), which is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2021.

Taigi Asano, who died in 2017 at the age of 20, composed “Ichifuna Soul,” a fight song for Funabashi High School, a school famous for its competitive sports program in Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture. Asano graduated from the high school, where he played the trombone in the school’s brass band.

Asano wrote “Ichifuna Soul” in 2014, when he was a university freshman. The song has a powerful melody set to ferocious drumming and is still played by the brass band at baseball games and other sports events.

A year after composing the tune, Asano was diagnosed with cancer. The cancer metastasized and he died in January 2017.

“Ichifuna Soul” was performed at his funeral by more than 160 former members of the brass band under the baton of Kenichi Takahashi, 60, a teacher at the high school and the brass band’s senior adviser.

The episode was chronicled in a book on Asano’s life, on which the film is based. Fuju Kamio will portray Asano in the film, while Koichi Sato will play the role of Takahashi.

According to Takahashi, Asano worked on the song for about a year. He brought the score many times to Takahashi, who would critique the work and point out faults.

“Now that his life has been made into a book and then a film, I think he has become immortal,” Takahashi said. “I’m sure it’s made him happy, too.”