Welcome to Square Enix Music Online

Kenji Ito

Kenji Ito Date of Birth: July 5, 1968 (Tokyo)
Musical Influences: Richard Clayderman, Simon & Garfunkel, Air Supply
General Interests: Listening to Music, Playing Instruments, Food and Drink
Instruments Played: Piano, Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
Place of Residence: Tokyo
Joined Square: 1990 (left in 2001)
Official Web Site: Kenji Ito's Official English Site at CocoeBiz


This biography was written by 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.

Kenji Ito was born on July 5, 1968, in Tokyo, Japan. He started playing the piano at the age of four after hearing and enjoying its sound from a classroom. He also started learning the alto saxophone and clarinet while at school. He moved on to composing at the age of ten and became interested in the synthesizer. After continuing his musical education, he was recruited by Square in March 1990. His dream of being a composer and songwriter had become true and one of Square Enix's most prolific composers was about to become productive for the first time.

He initially collaborated with Nobuo Uematsu to produce the score for Final Fantasy Legend II (known as SaGa 2: Hihou Densetsu in Japan) for the Game Boy in 1990. This was released in the form of the album All Sounds of SaGa in 1991, together with Nobuo Uematsu's score Final Fantasy Legend (Makai Toushi SaGa) and Ryuji Sasai's and Chihiro Fujioka's score Final Fantasy Legend III (SaGa 3: Jikuu no Hasha). The game's successful score provided Ito with his initial popularity and established his calm composing style for his works to come. It also helped to set precedent for the great interest in his own and Hamauzu's later original scores for the popular SaGa series. Following this, he composed the score for Final Fantasy Adventure (known as Seiken Densetsu in Japan) for the Game Boy in 1991. This score was re-released in 1995 in an album known as the Seiken Densetsu Sound Collections, together with seven orchestral arrangements of Ito's work from Takayuki Hattori. Like his work on Final Fantasy Legend II, this work greatly increased his popularity and created enthusiasm for Kikuta's and Shimomura's later works for the popular Seiken Densetsu series. Very few composers can say that they helped create the musical foundations of two successful popular series. This makes it probably Ito's greatest achievement.

Continuing his involvement in the SaGa series, Ito was the primary figure that made the music for the second SaGa trilogy, the games of the Super Nintendo era, a success. Having practically single-handedly composed the scores for Romancing SaGa and Romancing SaGa 2 in 1992 and 1993 respectively, he moved on to compose the three-disc Romancing SaGa 3 Original Sound Version in 1995, widely considered the pinnacle of his musical achievement for the series. An arranged album was also released for each: Romancing SaGa La Romance, an album with a French theme that was released in 1992 and arranged by Masaaki Mizuguchi; Romancing SaGa 2 Eternal Romance, which was released in 1994 and arranged by Ryou Fukui; and Romancing SaGa 3 Windy Tale, which was released in 1996 and arranged by Taro Iwashiro. The Romancing SaGa series scores have a distinctly dark edge to them and are most known for their battle themes, which are often of outstanding quality.

Ito's works for Square during the PlayStation era mainly consisted of a number of much smaller works scattered over various games. The first of these was the score for Tobal No. 1 in 1996, where he composed two tracks, "Burst into Challenger" and "Cloud City." His role for the production of Chocobo no Fushigina Dungeon 2 the year after was also small — he only created the title and ending themes, plus one other. (Kumi Tanioka, Tsuyoshi Sekito, and Yasuhiro Kawakami composed the rest.) In addition, while the Chocobo Racing Original Soundtrack, released in 1999, included numerous highly innovative arrangements from Kenji Ito of Nobuo Uematsu's works in the Final Fantasy series, the Original Soundtrack featured only one original work, a vocal theme entitled "Treasure Chest of The Heart." Furthermore, his compositions for Square's baseball flop Gekikuukan Pro Baseball The End of the Century 1999 and the WonderSwan Color RPG Wild Card are said to be fairly average and their scores were never released. He only created one major work between the years of 1996 and 2001, which was the three-disc SaGa Frontier Original Soundtrack. Often described as his best single work, this score shares the darker elements of his previous works and provides a sharp contrast to his lighter works on behalf of the Chocobo spinoffs.

Increasingly being sidelined by Square in favor of other composers and having two failed projects trailing in his shadow, it is not surprising that he decided to leave the company in 2001. After leaving, he became a freelance composer. He composed, arranged, and sound designed the score for Media Factory's Dreamcast strategy game, the Culdcept Second, in 2001, which he believes to be his best work to date. Following this, he went on to arrange two tracks for the Dark Chronicle Premium Arrange and composed several tracks for the popular Shadow Hearts II Original Soundtrack alongside Yasunori Mitsuda, Yoshitaka Hirota, and Tomoko Kobayashi in 2003. Despite being a freelancer, however, Ito continued to collaborate with Square Enix and now composes more scores on behalf of them than he ever did in the past. He came back with a bang, arranging his compositions for Final Fantasy Adventure to produce the score for the game Sword of Mana (known as Shinyaku Seiken Densetsu in Japan), which was released on the Game Boy Advance in 2003. The Sword of Mana Premium Soundtrack that was released with the game contains over thirty minutes of piano arrangements in Disc Two, all of which were performed, arranged, and produced by Ito himself. As well as all this, he composed the scores for two of the extensions to Enix's MMORPG game Cross Gate in 2003 and 2004. These were entitled Cross Gate Power-Up Kit 2: Rakuen no Tamago and Cross Gate Power-Up Kit 3: Tenkai no Kishi to Hoshiei no Utahime.

Today, firmly established as a freelancer, he has joined up with The Black Mages as a special guest to play a solo piano piece called "Field of Memories" for The Black Mages ~The Skies Above~ 2005 concert. This is a track from his own and Tsuyoshi Sekito's newest score Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song, which was released during April 2005. The score for Hanjuku Hero 4 ~The 7 Heroes~ was also released in 2005, and Ito had a fairly small role here, composing two tracks and arranging two others. Still, this score saw Nobuo Uematsu and Ito collaborate together for the first time since 1990 amd it also reunited him with several of his Minstrel Song colleagues, including Sekito, Kenichiro Fukui, and Hirosato Noda. His most recent role involved him creating two arrangements of his own compositions from Shadow Hearts II for the August 2005 release Near Death Experience, Shadow Hearts Arrange Tracks. Now known to be working on the World of Mana project — the solo composition of Seiken Densetsu 4, and the score and sound effects for Square Enix's Seiken Densetsu DS: Children of Mana alongside Masaharu Iwata and Takayuki Aihara — Ito continues to remain close to his roots while continually improving the quality of his work. With this work, a minor contribution to Monster Kingdom: Jewel Summoner and Rogue Galaxy Premium Arrange the future remains exciting. Certainly, there is no doubt that Kenji Ito has both fulfilled the tasks of being a worthy music composer and a songwriter, along with being an excellent performer.

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 Game Boy
1990 Final Fantasy Legend II (aka SaGa 2 Hihou Densetsu) C
1991 Final Fantasy Adventure (aka Seiken Densetsu) C
Super Nintendo Entertainment System
1992 Romancing SaGa C+A
1992 Final Fantasy V E
1993 Romancing SaGa 2 C+A
1995 Romancing SaGa 3 C+A
1995 Love is Balance C+A
Sony PlayStation
1997 Tobal No. 1 C
1997 SaGa Frontier C+A
1997 Chocobo's Dungeon (aka Chocobo no Fushigina Dungeon 2) C+A
1999 Chocobo Racing C+A
Sony PlayStation 2
1999 Gekikuukan Pro Baseball: The End of the Century 1999 C+A
2004 Shadow Hearts II C+A
2005 Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- C+A+P
2005 Hanjuku Hero 4 ~The 7 Heroes~ C+A
2006 Seiken Densetsu 4 C
WonderSwan Color
2001 Wild Card C+A
Sega Dreamcast
2001 Culdcept II C+A+S
Nintendo Game Boy Advance
2003 Sword of Mana (aka Shinyaku Seiken Densetsu) C+A
2003 Cross Gate Power-Up Kit 2: Rakuen no Tamago C+A
2004 Cross Gate Power-Up Kit 3: Tenkai no Kishi to Hoshiei no Utahime C+A
Sony PSP
2006 Monster Kingdom: Jewel Summoner C
Nintendo DS
2006 Seiken Densetsu DS: Children of Mana C

List of Albums

Original Scores

Arranged Albums

Other Albums

Home Contact Us Top