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Hirokazu Tanaka

Overview Biography Discography Game Projects Interviews

Hirokazu Tanaka Date of Birth: December 12, 1967 (Tokyo)
Education: Electronic Engineering Major
Musical Influences: The Monkees, The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel
Instruments: Piano, Keyboard, Drums, Guitar
Game Works: Mother, Metroid, Tetris, Donkey Kong, Pokémon

Employment History

Company Tenure Role
Nintendo 1980 - 1999 Sound Designer
Nintendo 1984 - 1994 Composer
Creatures 2000 - President
Harmonics International 2005 - 2007 Studio Musician

Brief Profile

Despite majoring in electronic engineering, Hirokazu Tanaka desired to perform with bands to make his fortune. After graduating, he made the difficult decision to join Nintendo as a sound engineer and initially worked on the sound effects for the Arcade's Space Firebird, Mario Bros. and the Donkey Kong series in technically demanding roles. Making the transition to the composer with Donkey Kong 3, he individualised subsequent scores like Duck Hunt, Wrecking Crew, and Balloon Fight with a custom sound driver and distinctive jingles. In more substantial efforts, he produced a dark ambient score to Metroid and a youthful melodic accompaniment to Kid Icarus.

Tanaka was responsible for creating the sound source of the Game Boy and scoring its debut titles, including Super Mario Land. In landmark roles, he was responsible for sound management on the console's Tetris, a rock-flavoured score to Famicom Wars, and the co-composition of the endearing Mother. After introducing Yuka Tsujiyoko, Ryoji Yoshitomi, Kazumi Totaka, and Minako Hamano, he created his final scores to Fire Emblem, Dr. Mario, Knight Move, Mario Paint, X, Earthbound, and Snoopy Concert. In 1998, he was responsible for conceiving and designing the Game Boy Camera and Game Boy Printer accessories.

Due to his Mother work, Tanaka was requested to compose the Japanese theme songs of the Pokémon TV series in 1998. After working on the project for fun, he became flabbergasted by the Pokémon phenonemon and was forced to quit Nintendo to create more songs for the series. In 2000, he became president of Creatures, a company responsible for designing Pokémon portable games and playing cards that owns a third of the series' copyright. At the company, he also developed the unique portable titles Chee-Chai Alien and Nonono Puzzle Chailien. He recently paid tribute to his early music at Extra: Hyper Game Music Event and on Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

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