Music: 52 Women VGM Composers You Should Know About – Yoko Kanno

Yoko Kannokanno

Kanno is world renowned now for her contributions to anime soundtracks, including Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Macross Plus, Wolf’s Rain, Escaflowne, CardCaptor Sakura, Space Dandy and many others, as well as several movies, TV shows and commercials in Japan. However, she got her start working on video game soundtracks for Koei, creating several of the iconic themes in their long-running series Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Nobunaga’s Ambition, along with Uncharted Waters and its sequel and Inindo: Way of the Ninja in the 1980s/early 1990s. Since leaving Koei she has done a few other soundtracks for games in her career, including the Dreamcast title Napple Tale, Ragnarok Online 2 and its revamped re-release Legend of the Second, and two games based on Cowboy Bebop.

Notable Samples:

For her selections I wanted to use the original PC-88 or MSX versions of these games, which made finding individual songs difficult. So I’ve chosen to pick videos that feature entire soundtracks or extended gameplay footage.

“Main Theme” from Romance of Three Kingdoms, 1985, Koei (0:11)

Soundtrack from Nobunaga’s Ambition, 1986, Koei

Soundtrack from Uncharted Waters, 1990, Koei


Koei Wikia page for Kanno –

Koei Wikia page for Romance of the Three Kingdoms

Red Bull Music Academy interview with Kanno –

Wikipedia page for Nobunaga’s Ambition

Wikipedia page for Kanno –

“Say Hello” by Kanno (image) – Youtube link