Composer Koichi Sugiyama, known for his contributions to the music of Dragon Quest, died at the age of 90, publisher Square Enix confirmed on the series’ Japanese website. Square Enix reported that Sugiyama succumbed to septic shock on September 30th.
Sugiyama provided music for all mainline Dragon Quest role playing games, starting with the original 1986 game. Enix was then developing Dragon Quest. This was Sugiyama’s first musical score. World GolfFor home computers. His task was to compose music for the next installment of the series. Dragon Quest 12 The Flames of FateSquare Enix made these remarks before his passing.
Japanese officials had awarded the composer an Order of the Rising Sun in 2018 for his artistic, cultural achievements. Sugiyama received the Order of the Rising Sun (2018) and the Person of Cultural Merit (2020). Sugiyama’s Dragon Quest theme was the opening music at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics’ opening ceremonies.
Sugiyama promoted extreme-right nationalist views, and denied Japanese war crimes. He refuted the historical record involving Japan’s role in the 1937 Nanking Massacre, during which Japanese troops killed hundreds of thousands of Chinese people and raped upwards of 80,000 Chinese women, and opposed an apology from the Japanese government for its use of so-called comfort women, a softened term for women and girls who were forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II.
Sugiyama is also being criticized by Dragon Quest fan for what they consider to be a gross violation of copyright. Fans have blamed him for differences in the Western versions of soundtracks — which have used sampled instruments, instead of orchestral recordings, in the past — compared to their Japanese counterparts.
Square Enix president and CEO Yosuke Matsuda said in a corporate statement, “I would like to take this opportunity to offer my deepest sympathy to Koichi Sugiyama’s friends and loved ones. Koichi Sugyama’s contributions to Dragon Quest and beyond are too great for words. As if yesterday, I can still recall seeing him lead the Dragon Quest orchestra. I thank and honor him for his long years of service and the many wonderful pieces of music he has written for our games, and offer my heartfelt prayers for the repose of his soul.”
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