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Kenichiro Fukui

Kenichiro Fukui General Interests: Tennis, Golf, Skiing, Photography, Fishing
Instruments Played: Piano, Guitar, Drum Kit
Place of Residence: Tokyo
Joined Square: 1995
Official Web Site: Profile at Square Enix American Web Site


This biography was written by Z-Freak and Chris exclusively for use at Square Enix Music Online. It may not be placed on any web site or otherwise distributed publicly without advance written permission, as this is a violation of copyright.

Though many years of Fukui's life are currently shrouded in mystery, it is known that he has an array of musical influences — rock, techno, and fusion music included — and is passionate about a wide range of interests. His career as a video game music composer and arranger started at the end of the 1980's, when he joined the Konami Kukeiha Club. His first responsibility was the arrangement of Motoaki Furukawa's music for the shooter Gradius II in 1988. He also composed the scores for Sunset Riders and Violent Storms, arranged the score for Xexex, composed by Motoaki Furukawa and Satoko Miyawaki, and worked with Junya Nakano, Mutsuhiko Izumi, Prophet Fukami, and Satoko Miyawaki on the score of Lethal Enforcers, where he composed the boss theme. Though quite prolific at Konami, little is known about the music he composed and arranged for these games, since none of the games were popular enough to have their Original Soundtracks released. Only the albums MIDI Power 5, which featured some arrangements by Fukui, and Hope, which featured the Konami Kukeiha Club, were commercially released.

Fortunately, Fukui's role on behalf of Square is much less vague. It was in 1997 that Fukui contributed his sole solo soundtrack for Square Enix: Einhänder. Composed from beginning to end in a techno fashion, this was the start of new ground being covered by Square at the time. Fukui then became silent until 2000 when he emerged with Tsuyoshi Sekito and Kumi Tanioka on All Star Pro-Wrestling. Though no score was released for the game, it is known that the score principally consisted of rock music. Three tracks from the score, composed by Fukui and Sekito, were also featured as bonus tracks on the All Star Pro-Wrestling II Original Soundtrack. While it is likely that Fukui and Sekito became friends at Konami, where they were both employed at the same time, this was their first official collaboration and set precedent to them working on much bigger scores together. Unfortunately, Fukui's and Sekito's score for All Star Pro-Wrestling III, which was released in 2003, was not one of these. Once again, its score was not released, presumably because of DigiCube's bankruptcy, leaving yet more of Fukui's works shrouded in mystery.

Though dreadfully underused at Square Enix in the past, Fukui's opportunities really opened up when he joined The Black Mages. Set up in February 2003, the band now has six members — Michio Okamiya (Guitar), Tsuyoshi Sekito (Guitar), Kenichiro Fukui (Keyboards), Keiji Kawamori (Bass Guitar), Arata Hanyuda (Drums), and Nobuo Uematsu (Organ). They have produced two albums to date, The Black Mages and The Black Mages II ~The Skies Above~, which featured Fukui's, Sekito's, and Okamiya's arrangements of various battle themes by Uematsu from the Final Fantasy series. They have also featured on the Dark Chronicle Premium Arrange and released a DVD of a live concert. It was these works that firmly established him as a leading rock artist at Square Enix and catapulted him towards more recnt projects. Indeed, as both an arranger and performer for the hugely popular band, Fukui's work was likely to achieve popular recognition.

Fukui has been involved in no less than three major projects during 2005. The first of these, the score for Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song-, involved him being the organist for three of Sekito's arrangements. He was also involved in the score for Hanjuku Hero 4 ~The 7 Heroes~, where he was made responsible for creating five arrangements in total and firmly left his mark. His most major role, both in terms of popularity and number contributions, is the score for the movie Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, however. Despite not composing, he was certainly a multifaceted influence, conducting in one track, featuring as a percussionist and pianist in others, and also arranging seven of Nobuo Uematsu's pieces. His high quality arrangements ranged in style from the enchanting chorale "The Promised Land" to tension-building themes like "Beyond the Wasteland" and "Sign" all the way to rock arrangements such as "Black Water" and "Battle in the Forgotten City" and the band interpretation of the partly-symphonic "Advent: One-Winged Angel."

His next role, composing for 2005's Front Mission 5 ~Scars of the War~, will be a new opportunity to collaborate with newcomers, as composer Hidenori Iwasaki and synthesizer operator Yasuhiro Yamanaka will be joining him. Presumably, like Sekito's role in Front Mission Online, his role will be principally adding a rock touch to the score, though one can hope he offers a variety of contributions, as he is easily capable of doing so. Certainly, many people still have yet to fully appreciate his versatility, associating him as little more than a rock artist, ignoring his electronic and more traditional influences. Further, he has constantly been hindered by the bane of the general listener not appreciating the fundamental role of an arranger. Most fail to see that it was Fukui that transformed many of Nobuo Uematsu's original pieces from something relatively simple to full-blown rock interpretations in The Black Mages' albums. As captivating as many of the original pieces were, it was often Fukui that made them convincing and creative arrangements. Nonetheless, with his involvement in these major projects in 2005, Fukui's role in The Black Mages seems to have definitely set the stage for many bigger roles in the future.

List of Game Projects

Note: This list only includes games that the composer has actively worked on, so those games that feature reprises of the composer's work from older titles are not included.

Key: C = Composer, A = Arranger, P = Performer, S = Sound Programmer, E = Sound Effects, M = Synthesizer Operator

Year Game Role
Nintendo Entertainment System
1988 Gradius II A
1991 Sunset Riders C+E
1991 Xexex C+E
1993 Violent Storm C
Sony PlayStation
1997 Einhänder C
Sony PlayStation 2
2000 All Star Pro-Wrestling C+A
2003 All Star Pro-Wrestling III C+A
2005 Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- P
2005 Hanjuku Hero 4 ~The 7 Heroes~ A
2005 Front Mission 5 ~Scars of the War~ C+A
2006 Final Fantasy XII A

List of Albums

Original Scores

Arranged Albums

Other Albums


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