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->''"I have a love of songs that get me out of the quotidian. I like operas. Operas are completely in their own world, arent they? Within the sanctuary of the opera house, they weave otherworldly spaces for four hours. I love such songs with vistas into other worlds―-songs that seem to distort the size of my rooms when I listen to them. When I make melodies in my own little way, the lyrics end up that way. Lyrics like I bought three radishes and found them cheap~♪ aren't relevant to my interests! It goes like A traveler searching for eternity~♪ instead."''
-->-- '''Yuki Kajiura'''

->''"[[GratuitousItalian Canta Per Me]]"''

A GenreBusting Japanese composer, music producer, impresario, and ethnomusicologist, born in UsefulNotes/{{Tokyo}} in 1965 but [[FishOutOfWater raised in]] UsefulNotes/{{Bonn}}, UsefulNotes/{{Germany}}. After returning to Japan as a teenager, she worked as an OfficeLady before [[RageQuit quitting]] in 1992. She first came to musical prominence as one half of the group See-Saw with Chiaki Ishikawa in the 1990s, and established herself as a solo composer around the turn of the millennium with the seminal soundtracks to ''Anime/{{Noir}}'' and ''Franchise/DotHack'' and a few musicals(as well as at least some of the [[LongRunners Japanese institution]] that is ''VideoGame/SakuraWars''), subsequently spending many years as the 'house composer' for Creator/BeeTrain.

Widely considered second only (or equal) to YokoKanno as an {{Anime}} soundtrack composer, her NeoClassicalPunkZydecoRockabilly sensibilities, ReclusiveArtist tendencies and generally unusual way of life, and [[SoCoolItsAwesome undeniable talent]] have invited comparisons to such figures as Music/EnnioMorricone and LudwigVanBeethoven--amazing compliments, considering her dilletante background and relatively late start in music for a modern artist, not devoting herself to it full-time until about the age of thirty and not reaching major success until thirty-five.

Her music ranges from [[OminousLatinChanting Ominous]] ConstructedLanguage [[OminousLatinChanting Chanting]] (''{{Madlax}}'') to PsychoStrings (''Literature/KaraNoKyoukai'') to sweet pop music (many a Franchise/{{Mai Hi ME}} ImageSong) to lushly instrumented suites (''Anime/{{Noir}}'') to [[NeoClassicalPunkZydecoRockabilly whatever her band Kalafina is supposed to be]]. ''ElCazadorDeLaBruja'' is notable for having [[ShownTheirWork shown Kajiura's work]] in ethnomusicology and the musical traditions of Latin America and the American West, evoking musicians from Daniel Alomia Robles to Music/JohnnyCash and Frankie 'Old Leather Lungs' Laine. She was for a time an impresario for the innovative pop group ALI PROJECT, and brought them into the ''Anime/{{Noir}}'' production. All of this is held together by her adherence to a distinctive blend of classical and folk-based music theory regardless of instruments and tempo and her Romantic-influenced emphasis on melody and circumspectly psychological and spiritual lyrics.

All-in-all, she's generally thought of as a unique, still relatively young musician of great talent, worthy of her widely-perceived status as TheRival to YokoKanno (although they don't seem to bear each other any ill-will at all).

Yuki Kajiura is the producer of {{Girl Group}}s [=FictionJunction=] and Music/{{Kalafina}}.

Her closest Western equivalent is Creator/HansZimmer, who also bears a penchant of crossing high-tech modernity with epic opera.

She's associated with the following tropes:
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* AntiLoveSong: A few of them, usually accusing somebody or other of not living up to some ideal. The ideal of love itself is pretty absolute and unimpeachable.
* BittersweetEnding[=/=]AndTheAdventureContinues: The [[{{Determinator}} characters]] in her songs [[EarnYourHappyEnding never pass their tribulations unscathed]]. And they know that their future won't be a peaceful one either, [[InherentInTheSystem due to the nature of the world]]. Case in point: [[http://canta-per-me.net/lyrics/snow-falling/ snow falling]].
* [[UsefulNotes/{{Buddhism}} Buddhism]]: A pretty clear and major influence, more so than in a lot of other contemporary Japanese music, with a lot of imagery expropriated from other religions and secular cultural traditions mixed in. Ends up interestingly syncretistic when she works on things like the tacitly Catholic-seeming BeeTrain GirlsWithGuns shows.
* TheCoverChangesTheMeaning: [[http://canta-per-me.net/lyrics/velvet-no-inori/ Velvet no Inori]] (sung by Noriko Ogawa) versus [[http://canta-per-me.net/lyrics/hoshikuzu/ Hoshikuzu]] (sung by Fiction Junction). The former is about being able to feel secure in love for the first time, the latter is about optimistically trying to move on from a relationship that have ended. [[AuthorAppeal Remember kids, if it ain't bittersweet, it ain't Yuki Kajiura!]]
** It's worth nothing that "Velvet no Inori" was written as the theme song for a dramatic reading of ''The Velveteen Rabbit'', and so the lyrics are likely from the rabbit's point of view and aimed at the little boy who owned it.
* DeconstructorFleet: She started to make it big around the same time she took two of the most wildly different types of music imaginable, J-pop as it existed around the TurnOfTheMillennium and Romantic music as it existed [[ImperialGermany before]] [[TheEdwardianEra the Turn of the Century]], and ''erased'' the '''''dozens''''' of cultural and historical barriers between them.
* {{Determinator}}: Virtually all characters in her song. Sometimes it goes too far, as in [[http://canta-per-me.net/lyrics/signal/ signal]].
* EternalRecurrence: A major theme that permeates her works. Well okay, the focus is not on the recurrence itself, but [[TheAntiNihilist the Nietzschean or Kierkegaardian strength]] to keep fighting even when the fight seems to be without end, simply because you have a moral reason to fight or a love to live. The theme is reflected best in Consolation, which is also a sort-of image album for ''FateZero'' and ''PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'', in which the respective main characters fight to break a ViciousCycle.
* {{Fictionary}}: 'Kajiuran', an apparently full-fledged ConstructedLanguage that is [[PostModernism phonotactically and morphologically sophisticated, but semantically meaningless]].
** To elaborate, her singers have said that it isn't meant to be meaningful intellectually but it's set up to guide their vocalisations emotionally and is written out and broken up into 'words' in a way that makes it resemble a Romance or Japonic language.
** According to one of her most common singers, rewriting the lyrics is sometimes allowed as well, and it's all written out in ''katakana'' to be easily readable.
* [[GodIsLoveSong Enlightenment Is Love Song]]: Many of her songs written on her own recognizance (as opposed to for soundtracks), as well as some of her soundtrack works, come across this way, [[ReligiousHorror making certain allowances for explicit expressions of horror at the secular world]]. She uses a set of lyrical conventions explicitly interested in themes of repeating rebirth as a painful experience, dreams as fundamentally indistinguishable from reality and each as distractions from the fleetingness of the other, humans as basically defined as individuals by trauma (although also by love, which can inflict trauma but is also a temporary way out of it), and lost love or perceived betrayal from loved ones as disillusioning sometimes to the point of LossOfIdentity. This sort of song can be anywhere from optimistic and upbeat about recovering from the 'miserable state of the world' ('aikoi') to dark and foreboding about 'oceans of tears' and the 'last sky' ('Red Moon'; the moon is also a symbol for enlightenment in Japanese Buddhism).
* IntercourseWithYou: Mostly she avoids this, and in interviews she and her singers have alluded to lack of romantic experience and/or celibacy on her part. The few more or less straight examples in her work use very florid, ethereal imagery (frequently focusing on hands, eyes, and kisses that would otherwise be implicitly chaste, which further complicates things since she likes this imagery in the rest of her mostly-asexual body of work too) that deemphasizes the actual act.
** "In Your Eyes", by Kalafina, is an especially good example. The 'pure-hearted' narrator of the song, by nature of being pure-hearted, is unable to understand physical intimacy as anything other than 'a kiss that [[ThisAndThat does not just end at a kiss]]', and this is presented as a good thing, as though making qualitative distinctions about such things implies suspect priorities.
*** The lyrics for "Love Come Down", which go so far as to say "if we love each other this way, our bodies will melt into one"...
** She also wrote a weird short story once called "The Echo of Instruments" about a boy whose violinist girlfriend leads him through an array of music-related sexual fetish but eventually leaves him, implicitly because she's realised that her greater attraction is to music itself.
*** However, the story can also be interpreted as being about a girl and her violin, especially given the final paragraph, in which the "boy" wonders whether he'll be "only an instrument" for the rest of his existence.
* LoudnessWar: An interesting example, she makes particular (not universal) use of dynamic range compression as a deliberate artistic choice and accounts for it in the rest of the production. Sometimes she brickwalls whole albums but with different songs adjusted to different volumes. Sometimes she only brickwalls a few songs, or the choruses within a song. Sometimes she doesn't do it at all.
* LyricalDissonance: Every now and then, there is a song who seems rather optimistic of the future. Then you learn that it's about inevitable hurts, tears, disillusionment, and [[UpToEleven some more hurts]]. Case in point: [[http://canta-per-me.net/lyrics/alleluia/ Alleluia]].
* {{Mythpunk}}: Her default lyrical sensibility is a little like this, particularly in her early-2000s See-Saw and late-2000s/early-2010s Kalafina work.
* NeoClassicalPunkZydecoRockabilly: In addition to 'classicising' pop music, she also does some fine work in reproducing the sounds of cultures that interest her or are relevant to the projects on which she works.
* PerspectiveFlip: Recently her more narration-like lyrics will occasionally play with expectations as to who is referring to or addressing whom, especially when she has multiple singers to work with.
* ReligiousHorror: Some of her recent lyrics have this vibe. Buddhist version, with implications of living in the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mapp%C5%8D Age of the Degenerate Dharma]], with no Future Buddha yet in sight.
* SexIsEvil: Sort of. 'Love Is Good' is the more prominent message; her lyrics excel at depicting every facet of romantic love from the best to the worst, and her body of work presents a world defined almost solely ''by'' romantic love; but the actual sex act, when the music addresses or alludes to it, tends to come across as something almost [[CosmicHorrorStory Lovecraftian.]]
** "Love Come Down" subverts this. The lyrics seem to be about a young couple who are pursuing a relationship despite others' disapproval, and they pretty much state the boundaries of the couple's relationship as well.
* SillyLoveSongs: Averted. She's only really done work with ''conventional'' romantic material in Kalafina's ''After Eden'' album and a few miscellaneous songs elsewhere and the relevant lyrics approach it obliquely and/or highly psychologically (the latter is her usual stock in trade for romance).
* SpiritualSuccessor: "Ongaku", to a Matthew Arnold poem called "Dover Beach". [[TeasingCreator Maybe.]]
** Each Kalafina album in general is a spiritual successor to the last, although with major changes such as ''Red Moon'' being [[UpToEleven darker]] and less tied to a specific set of soundtracks than ''Seventh Heaven'' (''KaraNoKyoukai'' in ''Seventh Heaven'''s case) and ''After Eden'' including some of the most normally (or least abnormally) psychological work Kajiura has done so far in between songs like 'Magia' and 'Destination Unknown' that could have fit in on ''Red Moon''. ''Consolation'' is more ethereal than ''After Eden'' but somewhat less dark than ''Seventh Heaven'' and ''Red Moon''. Kalafina itself is one to Fiction Junction, although the latter still exists conceptually.
* TheHecateSisters: Kalafina [[PlayingWithATrope plays with this]], giving us three ''young'' women who present as [[http://jpopcdcovers.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/fairytale-cd.jpg (L-R) Mother (Wakana), Maiden (Hikaru), and Crone (Keiko)]]. Perhaps unusually, the fan favourite in this case is the Crone, meaning that Keiko is also a pseudo-example of GrandmaWhatMassiveHotnessYouHave ''at the age of twenty-four.''
** Also self-consciously a little [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norns Norn]]-ish stylistically.
* UndyingLoyalty: One of the themes she's attracted to, and something she seems to inspire in many of her singers, who discuss viewing her as anything from a mother or sister figure to an [[TheParagon unattainable paragon]].
** One of her singers referred to her as the air, water, and soil necessary for a flower's blossoming.
* WorldBuilding: Of sorts. A Kajiura piece for a soundtrack is almost always an exercise in the intersection of Kajiura's 'otherworldly spaces' and worldview with the independent assumptions of the text that it's composed for. Often (''Anime/{{Noir}}'', ''{{Madlax}}'', ''ElCazadorDeLaBruja'', ''KaraNoKyoukai'', ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica''), this works very well. Sometimes (parts of ''Anime/{{Mai-Otome}}'', ''Manga/FistOfTheNorthStar'') it's a little jarring, and often either the series or the soundtrack ends up a lot more valued and appreciated than the other. Among other things, she likes to musically or lyrically evoke perceptions of the lead characters' gender, age, social status, and so on, which leads to some of the interesting gender ambiguity in her body of work; [[TsubasaReservoirChronicle some series]] make this a lot easier than [[KaraNoKyoukai others]].


YukiKajiura may be heard in:
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* ''Anime/{{Noir}}''
* ''Aquarian Age: Sign for Evolution''
* ''Franchise/DotHack''
** ''[[Anime/DotHackSign .hack//SIGN]]
** ''[[Anime/DotHackLiminality .hack//Liminality]]''
** ''[[VideoGame/DotHackGU .hack//Roots]]'' (theme song only)
** ''[[Franchise/DotHack .hack//Link]]'' (songs licensed)
* ''Manga/EatMan''
* ''SakuraTaisen'' (the musical)
* ''VideoGame/{{Xenosaga}}'' (Part of Episode II and all of Episode III)
* ''Anime/BoogiepopPhantom'' (TheMovie)
* ''LePortraitDePetitCossette''
* ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamSEED'' and ''[[Anime/MobileSuitGundamSEEDDestiny SEED Destiny]]''(Shared with ToshihikoSahashi.)
* ''Anime/{{Mai-Hime}}''
* ''ChronoCrusade'' (In part.)
* ''{{Madlax}}''
* ''Anime/{{Mai-Otome}}''
* ''TsubasaReservoirChronicle''
* ''Literature/KaraNoKyoukai''
* ''FistOfTheNorthStar: True Saviour Legend''
* ''Manga/BlackButler'' (In part.)
* ''ElCazadorDeLaBruja''
* ''PandoraHearts''
* ''SoRaNoWoTo'' (In part.)
* ''EveNoJikan'' (In part.)
* ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica''
* ''Literature/FateZero''
* ''VisualNovel/{{Yarudora}} series vol.1: VisualNovel/DoubleCast''
* ''LightNovel/SwordArtOnline''
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