Keiji Yamagishi

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Keiji Yamagishi
山岸 継司
GenresVideo game music
Occupation(s)Composer, arranger
Years active1987–present
LabelsBrave Wave Productions

Keiji Yamagishi (山岸 継司, Yamagishi Keiji) is a Japanese video game music composer. He is known for his work on Tecmo's late 1980s and early 1990s NES titles, such as Ninja Gaiden. Yamagishi has been considered a pioneer of chiptune music, producing the soundtracks of numerous titles in the 8 bit era.


Yamagishi's first musical experiences came from a band he joined in high school; when applying to Tecmo in 1987 he had no intention of becoming a professional composer. When his experience with music was raised during the job interview, he accepted the role. In addition to composition, he worked on sound programming and sound effects, spending six months learning the programming side after taking the job.[1]

Yamagishi's first title with Tecmo was Tsuppari Ozumo, and he would go on to work on critically acclaimed title Ninja Gaiden the following year.[2] He composed for numerous NES titles over his tenure with Tecmo, concluding in the early 90s with the release of the Super NES. Yamagishi has referred to Radia Senki: Reimeihen (1991) as his greatest NES composition.[1]

Yamagisihi stopped working on games as they began to move away from the chiptune style, stating that he felt his music was "no longer needed". His last title of the era was Onimusha Tactics on the Game Boy Advance in 2003. He instead began working on ringtones for phones.[3]

In 2013, Yamagishi joined the record label Brave Wave Productions, which specialises in the music of chiptune pioneers. Brave Wave would go on to support the release of his debut solo album Retro-Active Pt. 1, with many other artists from the label such as Stemage and Manami Matsumae collaborating on the project. In 2014 he returned to writing original video game soundtracks, working on several retro and indie titles such as Exile's End.[4]

Style and influences[edit]

Yamagishi has described his music as having a "comical, Japanese style", and has cited several influences such as Prince and The Beach Boys.[2]


Solo discography[edit]

  • In Flux (2014, with many others)[13]
  • Retro-Active Pt. 1 (2015)[14]
  • Retro-Active Pt. 2 (2016)[15]
  • The Retro-Active Experience (2019)[16]

Guest appearances[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Keiji Yamagishi on His Past and Future in Game Music". 19 January 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Interview: Keiji Yamagishi". 5 April 2016.
  3. ^ Aguilar, Mario (9 February 2015). "The Man Behind Iconic Video Game Music Finally Made a Chiptunes Record".
  4. ^ "First look: Exile's End - Life in Japan — An 18-part look inside Japan's game industry".
  5. ^ "Interview: Ninja Gaiden composer Keiji Yamagishi". 29 January 2016.
  6. ^ "A Conversation with Keiji Yamagishi - Koopa Soundworks". Archived from the original on 2018-01-11. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  7. ^ "Ninja Gaiden composer Keiji Yamagishi on the enduring appeal of chiptunes". 5 February 2016.
  8. ^ @MoreYamasan (1 October 2014). "Finally, I can announce. I worked on the ADVENTURE TIME game for @WayForward, with @strotchy, @chipzel, @Monomirror" (Tweet). Retrieved 9 October 2014 – via Twitter.
  9. ^ @MoreYamasan (5 September 2018). "to NES Ninja Gaiden FansThe MessengerNinja Gaiden spirit is alive. Bonus Tracks (by me)…" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  10. ^ Hussain, Tamoor (July 17, 2019). "Streets Of Rage 4's Soundtrack Has Four Legendary Artists Including Yuzo Koshiro". GameSpot. Retrieved July 17, 2019.
  11. ^ @vittoriogiorgi (30 June 2020). "ONLY 2 HOURS LEFT! This gorgeous Angela was made by @JoelJurion 💜❤️Oppaidius Desert Island! is an adult visual nov…" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  12. ^ "Streets Of Rage 4 Composer Drops New Track (And It's For An Indie Adult Game)". Archived from the original on 2021-05-20.
  13. ^ "In Flux, by Brave Wave Productions". Brave Wave Productions.
  14. ^ "Retro-Active Pt. 1, by Keiji Yamagishi". Brave Wave Productions.
  15. ^ "Retro-Active Pt. 2, by Keiji Yamagishi". Brave Wave Productions.
  16. ^ "The Retro-Active Experience, by Keiji Yamagishi".
  17. ^ Hamilton, Kirk (6 May 2013). "Proof That There's No Such Thing As Too Many Video Game Composers". Retrieved 2 January 2018.

External links[edit]