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Motoi Sakuraba

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Motoi Sakuraba
桜庭 統
Born (1965-08-05) August 5, 1965 (age 58)
Alma materMeiji University
  • Composer
  • keyboardist
Years active1984–present
Musical career
LabelsTEAM Entertainment

Motoi Sakuraba (桜庭 統, Sakuraba Motoi, born August 5, 1965) is a Japanese composer and keyboardist. He is known for his numerous contributions in video games, including the Tales, Star Ocean, Mario Golf, Mario Tennis, Golden Sun, and Dark Souls series, as well as several other anime series, television dramas, and progressive rock albums.[1][2]


Sakuraba was born on August 5, 1965, in Akita Prefecture, Japan.[3] While attending Meiji University, Sakuraba began to take music composition seriously and formed the progressive rock band "Clashed Ice" in 1984, consisting of him on keyboards and Genta Kudo on drums and vocals.[4] After the duo had graduated the following year, they were noticed by music producer Shingo Ueno, and ending up signing with Made in Japan Records. The band had then added bassist Tetsuya Nagatsuma, and was renamed as "Deja Vu".[4][5] In 1988, the band would release their only studio album, Baroque in the Future, composed entirely by Sakuraba.[4] Although the band disbanded in 1989, Sakuraba would later go on to release a similar-sounding solo album, Gikyokuonsou, in 1991.

In late 1989, Sakuraba began working as a composer for Wolf Team, joining Masaaki Uno and Yasunori Shiono. The professional friendships formed here in Sakuraba's early years have resulted in a great demand for his composing and arranging abilities. In 1994, former Wolf Team director and composer Masaaki Uno started working at Camelot Software Planning as a coordinator and sound director, developing games for Sony, Sega and Nintendo. Sakuraba has been called upon as a composer for many Camelot games, including all of the games in the Mario Golf, Mario Tennis, and Golden Sun series.

In 1995, Wolf Team developed the breakthrough game Tales of Phantasia for Namco. This and other early games in the Tales series primarily featured Sakuraba and fellow Wolf Team co-worker Shinji Tamura as composers. Also in 1995, former Wolf Team director and producer Jun Asanuma, as well as Tales of Phantasia writer and programmer Yoshiharu Gotanda, founded tri-Ace with financial backing from Enix. The Star Ocean and Valkyrie Profile games have been their main franchises. Sakuraba has been the composer for nearly all of their games.

In 1999, long time Sakuraba sound designer and programmer Hiroya Hatsushiba, a former member of Wolf Team and tri-Ace, founded tri-Crescendo. While initially continuing to contribute sound work to tri-Ace games, tri-Crescendo began game development in 2001. Together with Monolith Soft, tri-Crescendo started working on Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean; Namco provided the financial backing. Hatsushiba, as director and main programmer of the project, again called upon Sakuraba's composing services. This has extended to the sequel, Baten Kaitos Origins, and Eternal Sonata. The remnants of Wolf Team later morphed into the Namco Telenet joint subsidiary Namco Tales Studio in 2003.

In 2007, Sakuraba was selected to join a long list of video game composers to arrange music for Super Smash Bros. Brawl. He chose to arrange the famous "Menu Theme" from the game's predecessor, Super Smash Bros. Melee. He also arranged "Gourmet Race" from Kirby Super Star, "Jungle Level Ver.2" from Donkey Kong Country, "Mario Tennis / Mario Golf" from Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour and Mario Power Tennis, "Victory Road" from Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, the "Airship Theme" from Super Mario Bros. 3, the "Battlefield Theme", "Final Destination", and "Battle Scene / Final Boss (Golden Sun)" from Golden Sun: The Lost Age.

Sakuraba then continued to write music for games in franchises he has worked with before, including Star Ocean: The Last Hope,[6] Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, Mario Tennis Open, Mario Golf: World Tour, and many Tales series games, including Hearts, Graces, Xillia, Xillia 2, Zestiria, and Berseria.[6] He has also contributed to other well known games such as the Dark Souls series, Kid Icarus: Uprising, and Phantasy Star Nova.[6][7] In 2014, he was selected to provide musical arrangements for Brawl's successor, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U.[8] For this title, Sakuraba arranged "Theme from Area 6 / Missile Slipstream" from Star Fox 64 and Star Fox Command, "Battle! (Team Flare)" from Pokémon X and Y, and "The valedictory elegy" from Baten Kaitos Origins.

In addition, Sakuraba has continued to write for non-gaming and anime projects, including solo albums such as "Forest of Glass", "What's Up?", and "Passage", as well as performing on several arrange albums.[6] In the 2020s, he composed for games such as One Piece Odyssey and Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes.

Live performances[edit]

During July 2003, Sakuraba held a live concert in Tokyo, Japan. He performed progressive rock interpretations of his music from games Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, Star Ocean: The Second Story, Star Ocean: Blue Sphere and Valkyrie Profile. His bandmates for this concert were bassist Atsushi Hasegawa (a member of the band Gerard) and drummer Toshihiko Nakamura.[9] As noted, this concert was released on DVD and CD. At the same time as they were rehearsing for the concert, Hasegawa and Nakamura assisted in recording new material for the Director's Cut of Star Ocean: Till the End of Time.

The following year, the trio performed another concert. The venue was smaller, but included music from Baten Kaitos and a couple of new, non-game-related pieces. This concert was not officially recorded and released, however. However, in 2006, a new concert was given in celebration of tri-Ace's Valkyrie Profile: Silmeria.[10]

In September 2011, Sakuraba and his band joined up with the Earthbound Papas in Kawasaki, led by former Final Fantasy series composer Nobuo Uematsu, to perform at Fantasy Rock Fest 2011. The event featured game music performances, along with new progressive rock pieces from both bands. The first six tracks that Sakuraba and his band played were sold at the event as a preview CD for his then-upcoming solo album After all..., which was released by Strange Days Records on October 19, 2011.

In June 2015, Sakuraba performed at the Tales of Festival at the Yokohama Arena, being the first time he performed tracks from the Tales series at a live event.[11] A selection of Sakuraba's music from the Dark Souls and Tales series was performed live at the Salle Pleyel concert hall in Paris in February 2017.[12] The event, known as "Orchestral Memories", featured a guest appearance by Sakuraba.[12] The 2020 Tales of Festival featured an original song by him called "Endless Journey", dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the series.[13]

Notable works[edit]

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role(s)
1989 Arcus II: Silent Symphony Music with Masaaki Uno and Yasunori Shiono
1990 Granada Music with Masaaki Uno
Zan: Yasha Enbukyoku Music
Final Zone Music with Masaaki Uno
Sol-Feace Music
1991 Arcus Odyssey Music
El Viento Music
Earnest Evans Music
1992 Sol-Deace Music
Earnest Evans Music; Sega Genesis version
1993 The Journey Home: Quest for the Throne Sound effects
Annet Futatabi Music
1994 Hiōden: Mamono-tachi tono Chikai Music with Hiroya Hatsushiba and Shinji Tamura
Tenshi no Uta: Shiroki Tsubasa no Inori Music with Shinji Tamura
1995 Beyond the Beyond Music
Tales of Phantasia Music with Shinji Tamura and Ryota Furuya
1996 Star Ocean Music
Shining the Holy Ark Music
1997 Everybody's Golf Music
Shining Force III Music
Tales of Destiny Music with Shinji Tamura
1998 Star Ocean: The Second Story Music
1999 Mario Golf Music
Mario Golf GB Music
Valkyrie Profile Music
2000 Mario Tennis Music
Mario Tennis GB Music
Tales of Eternia Music with Shinji Tamura
2001 Mobile Golf Music
Star Ocean: Blue Sphere Music
Golden Sun Music
2002 Golden Sun: The Lost Age Music
Tales of Destiny 2 Music with Shinji Tamura
2003 Star Ocean: Till the End of Time Music
Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour Music
Tales of Symphonia Music with Shinji Tamura and Takeshi Arai
Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean Music
2004 Mario Golf: Advance Tour Music
Mario Power Tennis Music
Tales of Rebirth Music with Shinji Tamura
2005 Mario Tennis: Power Tour Music
Tales of the Abyss Music with Shinji Tamura
2006 Baten Kaitos Origins Music
Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth Music
Tales of Eternia Online Music
Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria Music
Tales of the Tempest Music
Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology Music with Takuya Yasuda and Go Shiina
2007 Eternal Sonata Music
Drone Tactics Music
We Love Golf! Music
Star Ocean: First Departure Music
2008 Super Smash Bros. Brawl Arrangements[a]
The Idolmaster Live For You! "Contradiction"
Star Ocean: Second Evolution Music
Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World Music with Shinji Tamura
Tales of Vesperia Music with Shinji Tamura
Infinite Undiscovery Music
Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume Music
Otomedius G Arranged two tracks
Tales of Hearts Music with Shinji Tamura and Hiroshi Tamura
2009 Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology 2 Music with several others
Star Ocean: The Last Hope Music
Half-Minute Hero Music with several others
Tales of VS. Music with several others
Valhalla Knights: Eldar Saga Music
Tales of Graces Music with Shinji Tamura
2010 Resonance of Fate Music with Kohei Tanaka
Tales of Phantasia: Narikiri Dungeon X Music with Shinji Tamura
Golden Sun: Dark Dawn Music
Tales of Graces f Music with Shinji Tamura
2011 Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology 3 Music with several others
Otomedius Excellent Music with several others
Half-Minute Hero: The Second Coming Music with several others
Tales of Xillia Music
Dark Souls Music
2012 Beyond the Labyrinth Music
Tales of the Heroes: Twin Brave Music with Go Shiina
Kid Icarus: Uprising Music with several others[b]
Mario Tennis Open Music
Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor Main theme
Dark Souls: Artorias of the Abyss Music
Bravely Default Keyboards
Tales of Xillia 2 Music
2013 Tales of Hearts R Music with Kazuhiro Nakamura
Valhalla Knights 3 Music
Tales of Symphonia Chronicles Music with Shinji Tamura and Takeshi Arai
2014 Dark Souls II Music with Yuka Kitamura
Mario Golf: World Tour Music
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U Arrangements[c]
Phantasy Star Nova Music
2015 Tales of Zestiria Music with Go Shiina
Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin Music with Yuka Kitamura
Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash Music
Exist Archive Music
2016 Dark Souls III Music with Yuka Kitamura, Tsukasa Saitoh, and Nobuyoshi Suzuki
Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness Music
Valkyrie Anatomia Music
Tales of Berseria Music
Star Ocean: Anamnesis[14] Music
2017 Mario Sports Superstars Music
2018 Mario Tennis Aces Music
Dragon Star Varnir Main theme, battle music[15]
Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom Music with several others[d]
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Arrangements[16][e]
2019 Fantasy Earth Zero Eight tracks[17]
2020 Higurashi When They Cry Mei Battle music[18]
Another Eden Music with Shinji Tamura[19][f]
2021 Mario Golf: Super Rush Music
Tales of Arise[20] Music
2022 Valkyrie Elysium[21] Music
Star Ocean: The Divine Force[22] Music
2023 One Piece Odyssey[23] Music
Star Ocean: The Second Story R[24] Music
2024 Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes Music with Michiko Naruke[25]
SacriFire[26] Music with G4F Records

Anime / television / film[edit]

Year Title Role(s)
2000 Gensomaden Saiyuki Music
2001 Star Ocean EX Music
Saiyuki: Requiem Music
2002 Atashin'chi Music
Weiß Kreuz Glühen Music
2003 Pluster World Music
2008 Tales of the Abyss Music
2014 Tales of Zestiria: Dawn of the Shepherd Music with Go Shiina
2016 Tales of Zestiria the X Music with Go Shiina

Independent albums[edit]

Year Album
1991 Gikyokuonsou
2008 Forest of Glass
2011 After All...
2013 What's Up?


  1. ^ "Menu (Super Smash Bros. Melee)", "Airship Theme (Super Mario Bros. 3)", "Mario Tennis / Mario Golf", "Jungle Level Ver.2", "Gourmet Race", "Victory Road" and "Battle Scene / Final Boss (Golden Sun)"
  2. ^ Yuzo Koshiro, Masafumi Takada, Noriyuki Iwadare, Takahiro Nishi, and Yasunori Mitsuda
  3. ^ "Theme from Area 6/ Missile Slipstream", "Battle! (Team Flare)" and "The Valedictory Elegy"
  4. ^ Yuzo Koshiro, Michiru Yamane, Keiki Kobayashi, and Takeshi Yanagawa
  5. ^ "How to Play - Super Smash Bros. Melee", "Vs Parasite Queen", "Magicant", "Fourside", "Wood Man Stage", "The Arch-Illager" and "Main theme of FINAL FANTASY VII"
  6. ^ Composed "Battles in Another World" and Arranged "Take Up the Cross" and "Daring Sword"
  1. ^ Person, Chris (June 22, 2012). "From Dark Souls to Valkyrie Profile: The Motoi Sakuraba Mixtape". Kotaku. Retrieved July 15, 2017.
  2. ^ Urrea, Sebastian. "Composer Analysis: Motoi Sakuraba Composer Analysis: Motoi Sakuraba". Original Sound Version. Retrieved July 15, 2017.
  3. ^ "Motoi Sakuraba Web Site 〜motion〜". Retrieved November 19, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c Chris, Greening (January 20, 2013). "Motoi Sakuraba Profile". Video Game Music Online. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
  5. ^ "Motoi sakuraba Web Site". Archived from the original on January 25, 2013. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  6. ^ a b c d Kotowski, Don (December 15, 2011). "Motoi Sakuraba Interview: Diverse New Projects". Video Game Music Online. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  7. ^ Tong, Sophia. "Sound Byte: Meet the Composer of Dark Souls". GameSpot. Retrieved March 18, 2016.
  8. ^ "Musicians who worked on new arrangements for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U versions". SmashBros.com. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
  9. ^ "Motoi Sakuraba Live Concert Star Ocean & Valkyrie Profile (Video 2003) - IMDb". IMDb.
  10. ^ "Motoi Sakuraba Live 2006 -Valkyrie Profile-". August 2012.
  11. ^ "Tales of Festivle 2015 Cast". Retrieved March 27, 2015.
  12. ^ a b Osborn, Alex (December 20, 2016). "Dark Souls to Be Featured in Bandai Namco's Orchestral Concert in Europe". IGN. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  13. ^ Lada, Jenni (June 15, 2020). "Hear Leon, Lloyd, Zelos, Luke, Yuri, Sorey, and Mikleo Sing the New Tales of Festival Song". Siliconera. Retrieved July 16, 2020.
  14. ^ Romano, Sal (October 18, 2016). "Star Ocean: Anamnesis has four-player multiplayer battles". Gematsu. Retrieved October 23, 2016.
  15. ^ Romano, Sal (June 13, 2018). "Compile Heart announces Varnir of the Dragon Star for PS4". Gematsu. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  16. ^ Wong, Alistair (December 6, 2018). "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's Final Week Covers Yoshi, Bayonetta, And Roy". Siliconera. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  17. ^ 「ファンタジーアース ゼロ」,桜庭 統氏書き下ろしの新BGM(8曲)が2月20日に実装へ。一部の試聴バージョンが本日公開. 4Gamer.net (in Japanese). February 15, 2019. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  18. ^ Romano, Sal (August 31, 2020). "Higurashi When They Cry Mei launches September 3 in Japan". Gematsu. Retrieved September 1, 2020.
  19. ^ "Crossover Between Another Eden: The Cat Beyond Time and Space and the Tales of Series Starts Today". Anime News Network. December 18, 2020. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  20. ^ Bailey, Kat (April 22, 2021). "How Tales of Arise Reboots the Classic RPG Series". IGN. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
  21. ^ Romano, Sal (March 9, 2022). "Square Enix announces action RPG Valkyrie Elysium for PS5, PS4, and PC". Gematsu. Retrieved March 10, 2022.
  22. ^ Marshall, Cass (October 27, 2021). "Star Ocean: The Divine Force is coming in 2022". Polygon. Retrieved October 28, 2021.
  23. ^ Dinsdale, Ryan (March 28, 2022). "One Piece Odyssey JRPG Announced". IGN. Retrieved March 28, 2022.
  24. ^ Lada, Jenni. "Rearranged Star Ocean The Second Story R Soundtrack Includes New Songs". Siliconera. Retrieved November 11, 2023.
  25. ^ Webster, Andrew (July 24, 2020). "Suikoden's creators are crowdfunding a spiritual successor". The Verge. Retrieved July 25, 2020.
  26. ^ Torres, Josh. "SacriFire receives a dazzling new Gameplay Trailer along Music with a delay to 2023". RPG Site. Retrieved June 11, 2022.

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