|Also known as||Yamako
Minakuchi Engineering Staff
Amagasaki, Hyōgo, Japan
|Occupations||Composer, sound producer|
|Instruments||Electronic keyboard, piano, saxophone|
|Associated acts||Honey Honey|
Kinuyo Yamashita (山下 絹代 Yamashita Kinuyo , born 31 December) is a Japanese video game music composer and sound producer. Her best known soundtrack is Konami's Castlevania, which was also her debut work. She was credited under the pseudonym James Banana for her work on the Nintendo Entertainment System version of the game. This pseudonym was a pun of the name James Bernard, the film composer of 1958's film Dracula. Many other names from the credits showed at the end of the game were puns of personalities related to monster/horror media as well (see Castlevania video game main page).
Yamashita was born in Amagasaki, Hyōgo, Japan. She began playing the piano at the age of four and took piano lessons as a child. After studying electronic engineering at the two-year college Osaka Electro-Communication University, she graduated in 1986 and went to work for Konami. After leaving Konami, Yamashita established a career as an independent composer. She moved to the US in 2010 and resides in New Jersey.
In 1986, Yamashita composed her first soundtrack to the video game, Castlevania, under strict hardware constraints. After her success in composing the Castlevania soundtrack, Yamashita composed for other games with Konami, including Esper Dream, Arumana no Kiseki, Stinger, Maze of Galious, Knightmare III: Shalom and Parodius. She was part of the original Konami Kukeiha Club in-house band. In 1989, she left Konami to become a freelance composer.
As an independent composer, Yamashita continued to score soundtracks for video games, including Mega Man X3, but she also worked on various Natsume games, including Power Blade, the Medabot series, Zen-Nippon Pro Wrestling series, Bass Masters Classic (Game Boy Color), Power Rangers: Lightspeed Rescue (GBC), WWF Wrestlemania 2000 (GBC), among others. Yamashita continued to compose independently in the new millennium, working on titles such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Game Boy Advance), Croc 2 (GBC), Monsters, Inc. (GBA), WWF Road to WrestleMania (GBA), Power Rangers: Dino Thunder (GBA), Keitai Denjū Telefang (GBC) and other games in the Medabot series.
From 1991 to 1995, Yamashita formed a duo ensemble called "Honey Honey" which performed live covers of American Pop and Jazz music. She played the piano, alto saxophone and sang background vocals. Yamashita also composes J-Pop songs for Japanese artists under the independent label Rocketeers and R&B songs independently for American artists.
In 2009, Yamashita completed the arrangement for "Stage 4" on the Dodonpachi Dai-Ō-Jō remix CD released in Japan. She also composed a song for the Wii game Walk It Out. In September 2009, Yamashita was invited as a special guest to Video Games Live at their concert event in Tokyo, where she appeared on stage after a performance of Castlevania produced by Tommy Tallarico. In 2010 and 2011, she continued to make appearances with Video Games Live performing "Castlevania Rock" with orchestras at venues including NJPAC in New Jersey, the Tilles Center in New York and the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.
Video games 
|King Kong 2: Ikari no Megaton Punch||Composition||Shinya Sakamoto, Satoe Terashima, and Kiyohiro Sada|
|1987||Esper Dream||Composition/sound effects/sound programming|
|Arumana no Kiseki||Composition/sound effects/sound programming|
|Nemesis 2||Composition/arrangement||Motoaki Furukawa and Masahiro Ikariko|
|Maze of Galious||Composition||Hidenori Maezawa, Shinya Sakamoto, Atsushi Fujio and Kiyohiro Sada|
|Hi no Tori Hououhen: Gaou no Bouken||Composition||Iku Mizutani and Hidenori Maezawa|
|1988||King's Valley II||Composition/arrangement||Kazuhiko Uehara, Masahiro Ikariko, Michiru Yamane, and Motoaki Furukawa|
|Konami no Uranai Sensation||Composition|
|Hana Taaka Daka!?||Composition|
|1992||Power Blade 2||Composition|
|1993||Ghost Sweeper Mikami: Joreishi ha Nice Body||Composition|
|Zen-Nippon Pro Wrestling series||Composition||Iku Mizutani and Hiroyuki Iwatsuki|
|Natsume Championship Wrestling||Composition||Iku Mizutani and Hiroyuki Iwatsuki|
|1994||Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (SNES)||Composition||Iku Mizutani|
|Mega Man: The Wily Wars||Composition/arrangement|
|1995||Mark Davis' The Fishing Master||Composition||Iku Mizutani|
|Mega Man X3||Composition|
|Casper (SFC Japanese version)||Composition||Iku Mizutani|
|1997||Medarot Kabuto Version||Composition|
|1998||Kindaichi Shōnen no Jikenbō: Jigoku Yūuuen Satsujin Jiken||Composition|
|Digital Figure Iina||Composition|
|Dragon Dance||Composition||Iku Mizutani|
|Big Mountain 2000||Composition|
|1999||Medarot 2||Composition||Iku Mizutani|
|Bass Masters Classic (GBC)||Composition|
|Keitai Denjū Telefang||Composition|
|Sylvania Melodies: Mori no Nakama to Odori Mashi!||Composition|
|2001||Croc 2 (GBC)||Composition||Iku Mizutani|
|Disney/Pixar Monsters, Inc.||Composition||Iku Mizutani and Tetsuari Watanabe|
|2003||Medarot Nii Core||Composition|
|Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Wrath of the Darkhul King||Composition||Iku Mizutani and Tetsuari Watanabe|
|2004||Cinnamon: Yume no Daibouken||Composition|
|2007||Hello Kitty no Gotōchi Collection: Koi no DokiDoki Trouble||Composition|
|Cinnamon Ball: Kurukuru Sweets Paradise||Composition|
|Kikansha Thomas: Kokugo Sansū Eigo||Composition|
|Osumitsuki Series: Shokusai Roman Katei de Dekiru! Chōmeijin
- Yūmei Ryōrinin no Original Recipe
|Katei no Igaku: DS de Kitaeru Shokuzai Kenkō Training||Composition|
|2008||Akagawa Jirō Mystery: Yasōkyoku||Composition|
|Shugo Chara! Mittsu no Tamagoto Koisuru Joker||Composition|
|Yokojiku de Manabu Sekai no Rekishi: Yoko-Gaku DS||Composition|
|Kikansha Thomas DS 2: Asonde Manabu DS Yōchien||Composition|
|2009||Kisō Ryōhei Gunhound||Composition|
|2010||Walk It Out||Composition|
|Mr. Balloon's Wonderful Trip||Sound effects/voice acting|
Other works 
|2009||DoDonPachi Dai-Ō-Jō Premium Arrange Album||Arrangement||many others|
- Browning, John Edgar; Picart, Caroline Joan; Stoker, Dacre (2010). Dracula in Visual Media: Film, Television, Comic Book and Electronic Game. McFarland & Company. ISBN 0-7864-3365-5.
- "Castlevania (1986) NES credits - MobyGames". MobyGames. mobygames.com. Retrieved January 4, 2011.
- Collins, Karen (2008). Game sound: an introduction to the history, theory, and practice. MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-03378-X.
- Yamako. "Ciao". Retrieved January 4, 2011.
- Anthony Broadman (April 16, 2004). "Nintendo is music to the Minibosses". Arizona Daily Star. p. F.
- Danny Russell (November 29, 2009). "Video Games Live Tokyo 2009". Ready-Up. Retrieved January 4, 2011.
- "Remix Albums 2009". Game Developer 16 (9): 4. October 1, 2009. Unknown parameter
- Parish, Jeremy (September 28, 2009). "Tokyo Game Show's Retro Highlight: Video Games Live in Japan". 1UP.com. Retrieved January 4, 2011.
- "Akumajou Dracula". Message Board. Kinuyo Yamashita (via WebCite). 22 April 2008. Retrieved 27 September 2010.
- Konami Industry Co., Ltd.. Vampire Killer. (Konami Industry Co., Ltd.). Scene: staff credits. (30 October 1986)
- Official website
- Interview from Chapel of Resonance
- Kinuyo Yamashita at SNESmusic.org
- Yamashita performs Castlevania at NJPAC 12/30/10}