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Kinuyo Yamashita

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Kinuyo Yamashita
BornAmagasaki, Hyōgo, Japan
GenresVideo game music
Occupation(s)Composer, musician
Instrument(s)Piano, saxophone
Years active1986–2010

Kinuyo Yamashita (山下 絹代, Yamashita Kinuyo) is a Japanese composer and musician known for her contributions in video games. Her best known soundtrack is Konami's Castlevania,[1] which was also her debut work. She was co-credited with Satoe Terashima 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 composer of the 1958 film Dracula.[2][3]


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.[4] After leaving Konami, Yamashita established a career as an independent composer. She moved to the United States in 2010, and currently resides in Montague, New Jersey.[5]


In 1986, Yamashita composed her first soundtrack to the video game Castlevania under strict hardware constraints.[6] 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.[7] She was part of the original Konami Kukeiha Club in-house band. In 1989, she left Konami to become a freelance composer.[4]

As an independent composer, Yamashita continued to score soundtracks for video games, including Mega Man X3, but she also worked on various Natsume Co., Ltd. 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.[4]

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 composed songs for Japanese artists under the independent label Rocketeers and R&B songs independently for American artists.[4]

In 2009, Yamashita completed the arrangement for "Stage 4" on the Dodonpachi Dai-Ō-Jō remix CD released in Japan.[8] 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.[7][9] 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 City and the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.


All works listed below were solely composed by Yamashita unless otherwise noted.

Year Title Notes
1986 Castlevania with Satoe Terashima[10][11]
King Kong 2: Ikari no Megaton Punch with several others
1987 Hi no Tori Hououhen: Gaou no Bouken with Iku Mizutani and Hidenori Maezawa
Esper Dream
Arumana no Kiseki
Maze of Galious with several others
Nemesis 2 with Motoaki Furukawa and Masahiro Ikariko
1988 King's Valley II with several others
Parodius MSX version
Snatcher MSX version; sound effects
1991 Power Blade
Hana Taaka Daka!?
1992 Power Blade 2
1993 Ghost Sweeper Mikami: Joreishi ha Nice Body
Zen-Nippon Pro Wrestling with Iku Mizutani and Hiroyuki Iwatsuki
1994 Pocky & Rocky 2 with Hiroyuki Iwatsuki
Zen-Nippon Pro Wrestling: Fight da Pon! with Iku Mizutani and Shinya Kurahashi
Natsume Championship Wrestling with Iku Mizutani and Hiroyuki Iwatsuki
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Super NES version; with Iku Mizutani
Mega Man: The Wily Wars original music and arrangements of the included first three Mega Man games
1995 Mark Davis' The Fishing Master with Iku Mizutani
Zen-Nippon Pro Wrestling 2 with several others
Heian Fuuunden with Iku Mizutani
Mega Man X3
1997 Casper Super Famicom version; with Iku Mizutani
1998 Digital Figure Iina with Iku Mizutani
Dragon Dance
Big Mountain 2000
1999 Medarot 2 with Iku Mizutani
Bass Masters Classic Game Boy Color version
2000 Medarot 3
Keitai Denjuu Telefang
Sylvania Melodies: Mori no Nakama to Odori Mashi!
2001 Croc 2 Game Boy Color version; with Iku Mizutani
Medarot 4
Medarot 5
Monsters, Inc. Game Boy Advance version; with Iku Mizutani and Tetsuari Watanabe
2002 Medarot G
2003 Medabots Game Boy Advance version
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Wrath of the Darkhul King with Iku Mizutani and Tetsuari Watanabe
Medabots Infinity
2009 Armored Hunter Gunhound[12]


  1. ^ Browning, John Edgar; Picart, Caroline Joan; Stoker, Dacre (2010). Dracula in Visual Media: Film, Television, Comic Book and Electronic Game. McFarland & Company. ISBN 978-0-7864-3365-0.
  2. ^ "Castlevania (1986) NES credits - MobyGames". MobyGames. mobygames.com. Archived from the original on June 5, 2011. Retrieved January 4, 2011.
  3. ^ Collins, Karen (2008). Game sound: an introduction to the history, theory, and practice. MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-03378-7.
  4. ^ a b c d Yamako. "Ciao". Archived from the original on October 8, 2011. Retrieved January 4, 2011.
  5. ^ "Episode 36: Kinuyo Yamashita". Archived from the original on 13 August 2018. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  6. ^ Anthony Broadman (16 April 2004). "Nintendo is music to the Minibosses". Arizona Daily Star. p. F.
  7. ^ a b Danny Russell (November 29, 2009). "Video Games Live Tokyo 2009". Ready-Up. Archived from the original on December 23, 2010. Retrieved January 4, 2011.
  8. ^ "Remix Albums 2009". Game Developer. 16 (9): 4. 1 October 2009.
  9. ^ Parish, Jeremy (September 28, 2009). "Tokyo Game Show's Retro Highlight: Video Games Live in Japan". 1UP.com. Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. Retrieved January 4, 2011.
  10. ^ "Akumajou Dracula". Message Board. Kinuyo Yamashita (via WebCite). 22 April 2008. Archived from the original on 27 June 2022. Retrieved 27 September 2010.
  11. ^ Konami Industry Co., Ltd. (30 October 1986). Vampire Killer. Konami Industry Co., Ltd. Scene: staff credits.
  12. ^ Inc, Aetas. "「機装猟兵ガンハウンド」の全素材とプログラム,ライブラリ「gxLib」が無償公開。ガルルソフトウェア研究所「夏休み,大人の自由研究に」". www.4gamer.net (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2 October 2018. Retrieved 21 April 2019. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)

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