Home Author News Shunsuke Kikuchi, the composer of the music for “Dragon Ball Z” and “Goldorak”, has died

Shunsuke Kikuchi, the composer of the music for “Dragon Ball Z” and “Goldorak”, has died

The Japan Music Copyright Association announced that the Japanese composer died on April 24, at the age of 89.

His name may not mean anything to you, but his music has rocked the childhood of a whole generation of Japanese cartoon fans. Shunsuke Kikuchi, the composer of the music of some of the most famous anime, died on April 24, announced this Wednesday the Japan Music Copyright Association. The 89-year-old composer had retired from composing in 2017 due to his health condition.

In Japan, the composer was a legend of animation music, known mainly for the licenses Kamen Raider and Doraemon. In France, the artist is best known for his work on Goldorak, Albator 84, Dragon Ball and its sequel, Dragon Ball Z. His very recognizable minimalist melodies give pride of place to brass and percussion and have now become a musical standard associated with shonen anime, a genre of manga aimed at a young male audience.

Fifty years of career

Shunsuke Kikuchi was born in 1931 in Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture. After graduating from the Nihon University College of Art, Kikuchi studied with the renowned film composer Chuji Kinoshita, with the aim of following in his footsteps. From the 1960s onwards, he worked closely with Toei Television Studios on numerous works.

In 1964, he worked on his first animated series, Uchu Patrol Hopper, then on the series Tiger Mask and Getter Robo. He also composed the famous theme song Doraemon no Uta, from the series Doraemon, used from 1979 to 2005. From the 1960s until the mid-2010s, he began a long series of works for Japanese television and animation.

We can mention, for example, the television series Kamen Rider and Iron King. And a large number of animated series, such as Polymer, Misha, Dr. Slump, Goldorak (1975), Albator 84 (1982) and the two mythical series adapted from the manga of Akira Toriyama, Dragon Ball (1986) and Dragon Ball Z (1989).

Shunsuke Kikuchi’s pieces have had such an influence on Japanese cinema that two of them, Champion of Death, the theme of the 1975 film of the same name, and Urami Bushi, a composition he wrote for the 1972 film The Scorpion Woman, were used in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill films.

Throughout his career, the composer has won numerous awards, including nine from the Japan Society for Authors’ Rights International Award: four for his work on Dragon Ball Z and two for his work on Doraemon. He also received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 57th Japan Record Awards and a Merit Award at the 2013 Tokyo Anime Awards.