Koichi Sugiyama, Japanese composer of Dragon Quest, dies at 90


Koichi Sugiyama, a Japanese composer and bandleader known for his music in the popular Dragon Quest video game franchise, died Sept. 30 of septic shock, his office said. He was 90 years old.

Sugiyama, who has composed the music for the hit video game franchise since its release in 1986, is considered to have played a key role in its rise and in establishing the game music genre with the release of associated CDs and orchestra concerts.

The music from the Dragon Quest series was released during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics last July.

Born in Tokyo, Sugiyama first worked for radio production company Nippon Cultural Broadcasting Inc. before joining Fuji Television Network Inc., where he led the music show “The Hit Parade.”

He left the television network in 1965 to become a freelance composer, creating many hit songs with his familiar and catchy melodies.

Her hit songs include “Koi no Fuga” (“Fugue of Love”) by twin sister duo The Peanuts, and “Gakuseigai no Kissaten” (“Student District Coffee Shop”) by folk rock band Garo.

He has also composed marching bands for places such as the Tokyo Hippodrome, the theme song for the superhero TV series “Return of Ultraman”, and many pieces for anime and commercials.

Sugiyama has been recognized by Guinness World Records as the oldest video game music composer.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno offered his condolences over his death, saying “many people must have been moved” when the music from Dragon Quest was played during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics .

Famed Dragon Ball comic series creator Akira Toriyama, who also worked on the character designs for Dragon Quest, posted his condolences on the game’s official website on Thursday, saying, “I’m truly honored to have worked with you for so long!”

“I thought of you as a wizard with eternal life. It’s no exaggeration to say that Dragon Quest’s image has been shaped by the wonderful and awe-inspiring songs of Mr. Sugiyama, who loved the game from the start,” he said.

In line with COVID-19 guidelines, the government is urging residents and visitors to exercise caution if they choose to visit bars, restaurants, music venues and other public spaces.

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