Kinuyo Yamashita was born on 1965 December 31st, in Amagasaki, Hyogo, Japan. After she graduated college, Yamashita began her career as a video game music composer by being hired into Konami. Her first, and most notable, soundtrack is for the game Castlevania (NES). She wanted to compose music for Castlevania II, but her superior moved her onto other games. After composing several soundtracks for the company, she eventually left Konami at the end of the 1980s to produce music independently--citing the long hours Konami expected out of her as her reason for leaving. After Konami she started working freelance. She briefly considered a job with Taito, who she had already composed music for, but didn't want to move to Tokyo to work for them, so she stayed a freelance composer.
Yamashita's prefers the piano, alto saxophone, and the ukulele to play her favorite genres of music jazz, blues, bossa nova, soul, and R&B. Yamashita is also a vocalist, and used to sing and play piano in the American pop cover band, Honey Honey. She loves Chopin, and her favorite piece is Nocturne. She also loves intense Beethoven.
For the 8 bit games, Yamashita would compose her music on actual instruments, and then convert the notes into hex for the NES chip. She said that her inspiration for the game usually was given to her in the form of a brief story of the game and a couple screenshots. From that, she wrote her music. With modern games using digital audio, she has much more freedom, but finds that she sometimes needs help with arrangements because there is so much to choose from.
Yamashita says that she has played video games in the past, and was sometimes expected to do bug testing on the games she was composing music for, including Medabots (GB) which she beat several times to watch the ending.
Outside of music, Yamashita enjoys tennis, Japanese drama, movies, cooking, creating graphic icons, and learning English. Her favorite foods include bitter chocolate, chili sauce, as well as Thai and Italian food. She appreciates people who are honest and reliable, and dislikes people who are violent or smoke.
On August 15th, 1998 Yamashita suffered a sub-arachnoid hemorrhage while playing tennis, and then a second one while recovering. She spent a week in a coma and finally awoke with no memory and slight paralysis on the right side of her body. She gradually recovered and continues to work as a music composer and producer.
Yamashita currently lives in New Jersey, USA with her husband.
Yamashita composed the music in 6502 assembly machine code in Konami's NES sound driver.
- facebook.com/pages/Kinuyo-Yamashita/217860849636 - Facebook.
- myspace.com/kinuyoyamashita - MySpace.
- twitter.com/KinuyoYamashita - Twitter.
- ia600602.us.archive.org/15/items/TheLegacyMusicHour-Episode36KinuyoYamashita/LegacyMusicHour36KinuyoYamashita.mp3 - Audio Interview.