Dragon Quest composer Koichi Sugiyama dies

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Composer Koichi Sugiyama, known for his contributions to the music of Dragon Quest, has died aged 90, publisher Square Enix confirmed on the series’ Japanese site. Sugiyama died on September 30, Square Enix said, of septic shock.

Sugiyama contributed the music, including the main theme, for every Dragon Quest main role-playing game, dating back to the 1986 original. His first musical score for Enix, then developer of Dragon Quest, was the 1985 game. World golf for personal computers. He was composing the music for the next game in the series, Dragon Quest 12: Flames of Destiny, before his death, Square Enix said.

The composer had been recognized by the Japanese government for his artistic and cultural achievements. Sugiyama was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun in 2018 and was named a Person of Cultural Merit in 2020. Sugiyama’s theme Dragon Quest was the opening music for the opening ceremonies of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Sugiyama also promoted far-right nationalist views and publicly denied Japanese war crimes. He refuted the historical record regarding Japan’s role in the 1937 Nanjing Massacre, in which Japanese troops killed hundreds of thousands of Chinese and raped over 80,000 Chinese women, and opposed the Japanese government’s apology for its use of so-called comfort women, a softened term for women and girls who were forced into slavery sex by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II.

Additionally, Dragon Quest fans have criticized Sugiyama for what they perceive to be blatant copyright use in his music. Fans blamed him for the differences in the Western versions of the soundtracks – which used sampled instruments, instead of orchestral recordings, in the past – compared to their Japanese counterparts.

Yosuke Matsuda, President and CEO of Square Enix stated in a company statement, “I would like to take this opportunity to offer my deepest condolences to the friends and relatives of Koichi Sugiyama. Words cannot express the magnitude of the contribution that Koichi Sugiyama has made from the birth of the Dragon Quest series until now. . I remember seeing him conduct the orchestra in a Dragon Quest concert as if it were yesterday. I thank and honor him for his long years of service and the many wonderful pieces of music he has written for our games, and offer my sincere prayers for the rest of his soul.


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