Hirokazu Tanaka

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In this Japanese name, the family name is "Tanaka".
Hirokazu Tanaka
Native name 田中 宏和
Also known as Hip Tanaka
Born (1957-12-13) December 13, 1957 (age 56)
Kyoto, Japan
Genres Chiptune
Occupation(s) Composer, sound designer, president
Years active 1980–present
Website http://www.hirokazutanaka.com/

Hirokazu "Hip" Tanaka (田中 宏和 Tanaka Hirokazu?, born December 13, 1957)[1] is a Japanese composer and sound designer, best known for his scores in various video games produced by Nintendo. At Nintendo, Tanaka worked on well known games such as Metroid, Kid Icarus, Super Mario Land, Tetris, Mother, Dr. Mario, and EarthBound.[2]

Besides writing music, Tanaka is also known for his role in designing and coding the Famicom and Game Boy audio hardware, along with co-designing the NES Zapper, Game Boy Camera, and Game Boy Printer.[3][4]


Tanaka has held a longstanding obsession with reggae music. In his teens, he was in a reggae band.[5]

In 1980, after graduating from university with a degree in electronic engineering, Tanaka successfully applied for a job at Nintendo as a sound designer.[4] At the advice of EarthBound co-worker Tsunekazu Ishihara, Tanaka would join Creatures as a guest composer, where he would end up composing multiple songs for the first Japanese Pokémon anime.[3] Despite the fact that his themes were not used in the West, they inspired best-selling singles and albums in Japan due to their popularity there. Tanaka was eventually forbidden by Nintendo to continue to write more songs for the anime due to their policy of not allowing employees to work for other companies, so he resigned at Nintendo and joined Creatures full-time in 1999.[3] In 2001, Tanaka succeeded Ishihara to become the president of Creatures, where he still works as of today.[1]


Among musical influences, Tanaka has cited Brian Wilson, Randy Newman, Stackridge, Yabby U, the Flying Lizards, Prince, Lalo Rodriguez, My Bloody Valentine, Frank Zappa, Keiichi Suzuki, Hal Willner's various artists compilations,[6] Sly Dunbar, and Jah Wobble.[5]




  1. ^ a b Tanaka, Hirokazu. "Biography". HirokazuTanaka.com. Retrieved 5 September 2014. 
  2. ^ Tanaka, Hirokazu. "Works". HirokazuTanaka.com. Retrieved September 5, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c Brandon, Alexander; Tanaka, Hirokazu. "Shooting from the Hip: An Interview with Hip Tanaka". Gamasutra. Retrieved 5 September 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Greening, Chris. "Hirokazu Tanaka Profile". Game Music Online. Retrieved 5 September 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "Diggin' in the Carts". Red Bull Music Academy. Retrieved September 23, 2014. 
  6. ^ Itoi, Shigesato (June 16, 2003). "『MOTHER』の音楽は鬼だった。" [Music of "MOTHER" was a demon]. 1101.com. Translation. Archived from the original on July 5, 2014. Retrieved July 5, 2014. 

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