Yoko Kanno (菅野 よう子, Kanno Yōko) is a Japanese composer, arranger and musician best known for her work on the soundtracks of anime films, television series, live-action films, video games, and advertisements. She was born in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan. She has written scores for Cowboy Bebop, Darker than Black, Macross Plus, Turn A Gundam, The Vision of Escaflowne, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Wolf's Rain, Kids on the Slope and Terror in Resonance, and has worked with the directors Yoshiyuki Tomino, Shinichirō Watanabe and Shōji Kawamori. Kanno has also composed music for pop artists Maaya Sakamoto and Kyōko Koizumi. She is also a keyboardist, and is the frontwoman for the Seatbelts, who perform many of Kanno's compositions and soundtracks.
Kanno in 1999
|Birth name||菅野 洋子|
|Also known as||Gabriela Robin|
|Born||March 18, 1963|
|Genres||Jazz, classical, orchestral, electronic, new age, blues, folk, pop, art rock, ambient, post-rock, bossa nova|
|Occupation(s)||Composer, musician, conductor, producer|
|Instruments||Keyboard, piano, accordion|
|Labels||Victor Entertainment (flying DOG)|
|Associated acts||Maaya Sakamoto, Megumi Nakajima, May'n TETSU100%, Seatbelts, Samply Red, ORIGA|
Yoko Kanno was born March 18, 1963 in Sendai, Japan. Her earliest experiences with music came from attending church with her parents. She studied keyboard from a young age on both the piano in her home and the organ at her kindergarten. In elementary school, she began participating in composition contests, but in high school, Kanno began to take more of an interest in literature than in music.
Kanno attended Waseda University, where she majored in literature, but she transcribed music for various student groups at Waseda in her free time. During this time, Kanno—whose parents had only allowed her to listen to classical music—was introduced to rhythm by a friend who played drums in a school band. She spoke of this experience in an interview with Akihiro Tomita:
I thought my friend was a genius. I had heard drums on the radio before, but it was like I had never really noticed them. Then I see drums performed live, and was able to experience a beat for the first time. I started to take heavy interest in music that wasn’t classical and joined the band elective.
While with this band, she studied the composition and style of popular music.
Yoko Kanno's soundtrack themes include "Kiseki no Umi" (Lodoss War), "Voices" (Macross Plus), "Tank!" (Cowboy Bebop), "Yakusoku wa Iranai" (Escaflowne), "Gravity" (Wolf's Rain), "Inner Universe" (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex) and Stand Alone Complex O.S.T. In regards to making the Stand Alone Complex soundtrack she said:
I had this image of a formal and rigid 'manly' world for the original comic. So I tried to think of ways to destroy that world. The theme I had in mind was, 'be human.' It represented the sentiment of 'why don't we take it easy and be more like a human being?'—instead of being a workaholic salaried man working for his company. Or be it Tachikoma wishing to become human. I wanted to express these 'tangible fuzziness,' sort of. For the opening theme song called 'inner universe,' I had an image of digital bits and composed a score consisting of recurrent quick beats.
Having composed in various genres, including blues, classical, jazz, techno, and J-pop, she was once asked if she favored a particular genre:
Ah ... I hear everyone talk about how many genres [I work in] like classical, jazz and others, but personally, I don't divide music by genre when creating. I don't create by saying, 'I must create a classical piece here,' or 'I must create a jazz piece here.' When I create music, I don't consider at all which genre I like best, but what the scene or the anime calls for, like a love [theme] or a mood. There isn't one genre I like more than the others. I find all of them satisfying and all inspire me in different ways.
Since she works in the animation industry, she only receives instructions and storyboards from directors which helps her with composing. However, it is uncertain if all of her works are to be included in the finished project. She once said that this is a way she likes to work, for she does not have to deal with rules during composing. In reference to this, she once stated:
In my case, the creators talk to me and ask me to do a soundtrack a year or two before the animation is finished. At that time, I think of the plot in my brain, when the characters' names—everything about the characters—has not been decided yet. This is even when the title has not be decided yet.
She has composed for Koei games released during the late 1980s to early 1990s and for Napple Tale, a Dreamcast game. Due to her close involvement in the Cowboy Bebop anime, the game released by Bandai also features her work.
Apart from anime and games, Kanno also composes for live-action films and television commercials. Some popular brands she has composed for are Canon, DoCoMo, Fuji Xerox, Seven-Eleven, Microsoft, Nissan, Toyota, Shiseido, Avon, and MasterCard to name a few. Grand Funk Inc. is her recording studio of choice in producing for these two media. Contributions to films started in the 1990s but only since 2002 has there been a trend towards the medium. Most of the latter were shown in international film festivals.
She attended Otakon and Anime Expo in 1999, as well as Anime Expo New York in 2002. In 2010, she made a surprise appearance at Anime Expo. Yoko Kanno performed her solo PianoMe concert at Otakon 2013.
She composed a three-movement suite, entitled "Ray of Water," for the ascension of Emperor Naruhito. It was performed for him and Empress Masako at the enthronement celebration on November 9, 2019. Yoshikazu Okada wrote the lyrics for the vocal portion, which was performed at the celebration by the idol group, Arashi.
Connection to Gabriela RobinEdit
On many of Kanno's tracks, a woman named "Gabriela Robin" was credited as a lyricist and vocalist, but whenever these songs were performed in concert, either Maaya Sakamoto or Origa would perform them instead. In a 2009 written interview, Robin proclaimed that she would perform for the first time live at Kanno's 2009 Tanabata Sonic concert, but at the end of the concert, which featured Kanno directing the Warsaw Philharmonic, Kanno turned to the audience and sang "Moon", a song previously attributed to Robin from the Turn A Gundam soundtrack, revealing that "Gabriela Robin" was simply a pseudonym Kanno used to write songs mixing English and Japanese freely. In a later interview, Kanno said she had picked the name because the first orchestral recording she had heard was the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, and at the time Yitzhak Rabin served as Israel's Prime Minister.
In addition to Japanese, she speaks a little English and some French, but claims that her English is "poor" and she needs translation help to converse in French. In regards to spirituality and religion, she said:
I'm not religious at all. But Japanese don't believe in one God, but in gods everywhere in plants and animals. That's right. In Japan, Christianity has a wonderful image. People enjoy the image of Christ and Christianity in picture books, but not as a religion.
Besides music, Kanno also enjoys photography and writing. She has written a number of journals for Newtype magazine of which photos for illustrations are done by Kanno herself as well, and a selection of photos taken by Kanno of her protégé and former production partner Maaya Sakamoto were featured in the special event program for Sakamoto's 2010 thirtieth birthday concert at Nippon Budokan.
In 2011, Kanno expressed her support and wishes to the victims of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, composing a song titled "Kimi de Ite, Buji de Ite". Later, she composed NHK's official support song on the occasion of the first anniversary of the earthquake entitled "Hana wa Saku" ("Flowers Will Bloom") featuring lyrics by Sendai film director Shunji Iwai. The song features notable natives from the affected areas of Fukushima, Miyagi, and Iwate.
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Solo studio albumsEdit
|January 1, 1998||Song to Fly||All songs composed and conducted by Yoko Kanno; track 8 performed by Yoko Kanno.|
(Tracks 1–7, 9–11 performed by Cosmic Voices from Bulgaria, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra,
Warsaw Chorus, Tulivu-Donna Cumberbatch, Franco Sansalone, Krzysztof Ciupinsky,
Steve Conte, Jadwiga Rappé and Gabriela Robin.)
|May 22, 2002||23-Ji no Ongaku||All songs composed and conducted by Yoko Kanno. Vocals performed by Maaya Sakamoto. Album released by Victor Entertainment. |
The title translates as "11:00 pm music".
|May 2, 2008||CM Yoko||Compilation album of music for commercials done by Yoko Kanno over the years. All songs composed by Yoko Kanno.|
|April 22, 2009||CM Yoko 2||Compilation album of music for commercials done by Yoko Kanno over the years. All songs composed and/or arranged by Yoko Kanno.|
|May 27, 2009||Space Bio Charge||Compilation album of Yoko Kanno with the Seatbelts.|
|June 8, 2011||Yoko Kanno produce Cyber Bicci||Compilation album of previous works with Ilaria Graziano, along with new materials.|
|Anime Title||Year||Kanno's Role(s)|
|Porco Rosso||1992||Arranger for the ending theme:|
"Once in a While, Talk of the Old Days"
|Please Save My Earth||1994||Composer|
(other tracks by Hajime Mizoguchi)
|Memories: Magnetic Rose||1995||Composer|
|The Vision of Escaflowne||1996||Composer|
(other tracks by Hajime Mizoguchi)
|X Clamp Characters File Vol. 1–4||1996||Composer|
(one track for each album)
|Clamp School Detectives||1997||Second ending theme|
|Noiseman Sound Insect||1997||Composer|
|Record of Lodoss War: Chronicles of the Heroic Knight||1998||Composer for Opening theme|
|Macross Dynamite 7||1998||Composer for "Angel Voice"|
See also: Music of Cowboy Bebop
|Cardcaptor Sakura||1998||Composer for Opening 3 "Purachina"|
|Turn A Gundam||1999||Composer|
(other tracks by Hajime Mizoguchi)
|Earth Maiden Arjuna||2001||Composer|
|Cowboy Bebop: Knockin' on Heaven's Door||2001||Composer|
Pianist for the Seatbelts
|RahXephon||2002||Composer for Opening theme for TV & OVA|
|Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex||2002||Composer|
|Wolf's Rain||2003||Composer for TV & OVA|
|Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG||2004||Composer|
|Genesis of Aquarion||2005||Composer|
(other tracks by/in collaboration with Hogari Hisaaki)
|Ōban Star-Racers||2006||Composer for Opening and Ending theme songs|
|Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - Solid State Society||2006||Composer|
|Darker than Black: Kuro no Keiyakusha||2007||Composer|
|Genius Party||2007||Composer for "Baby Blue"|
|Genesis of Aquarion||2007||Composer|
|Ring of Gundam||2009||Composer|
|Code Geass: Akito the Exiled||2012||Theme song composer|
|Kids on the Slope||2012||Composer|
(ending theme and 4 tracks)
|Terror in Resonance||2014||Composer|
|Game Title||First Released||Original System(s)||Kanno's Role(s)|
|Romance of the Three Kingdoms||1985||PC-8801, Sharp X1, FM-7||Composer|
|Nobunaga's Ambition Zenkokuban||1986||PC-8801, PC-9801, etc.||Composer|
|Genghis Khan||1987||PC-8801, PC-9801||Composer|
|Nobunaga's Ambition Sengoku Gunyūden||1988||PC-8801, PC-9801||Composer|
|Ishin No Arashi||1989||PC-9801||Composer|
|Uncharted Waters||1990||PC-8801, PC-9801||Composer|
|Nobunaga's Ambition Bushō Fuunroku||1990||PC-9801||Composer|
|Nobunaga's Ambition Haōden||1992||PC-9801||Composer|
|Uncharted Waters 2: New Horizons||1993||PC-9801||Composer|
|Nobunaga's Ambition Tenshōki||1994||PC-9801||Composer|
|Napple Tale: Arsia in Daydream||2000||Dreamcast||Composer|
|Cowboy Bebop: Tsuitou no Yakyoku||2005||PlayStation 2||Composer|
|Ragnarok Online 2||2007||MS Windows||Composer|
|Continent of the Ninth||2011||MS Windows||Theme song Composer|
|Ragnarok Online 2: Legend of the Second||2012||MS Windows||Composer|
|Starwing Paradox||2018||Arcade||Theme song Composer|
|Film Title||Year||Kanno's Role(s)|
|Boku wa benkyo ga dekinai (I Can't Study)||1996||Composer|
|Natsu jikan no otonatachi||1997||Composer|
|Mizu no onna||2002||Composer|
|Shimotsuma monogatari (Kamikaze Girls)||2004||Composer|
|Ashurajo No Hitomi (Blood Gets in Your Eyes)||2005||Composer|
|Honey and Clover||2006||Composer|
|Elegant World (The Show Must Go On)||2007||Composer|
|Our Little Sister||2015||Composer|
|TV Show||Year||Kanno's Role(s)|
|Yo ni mo Kimyou na Monogatari – Mama Shinhatsubai||2001||Composer|
|Mayonaka Betsu no Kao (The Other Side of Midnight)||2002||Composer|
|X'smap~Tora to Raion to Gojin no Otoko~||2004||Composer|
|Chichi ni Kanaderu Merodi||2006||Composer|
|Kaze ni Mai Agaru Vinyl Sheet||2009||Composer|
|Naotora: The Lady Warlord||2017||Composer|
Works for associated actsEdit
|Tetsu 100%||Tokyo Taco Blues||1986||Composer for one track|
|Tetsu 100%||1987||Composer for four tracks|
|Ato3cm||1987||Composer for five tracks|
|Jack in the Box||1988||Composer for three tracks|
|Manatsu no Santa Claus||1988||Composer for one track|
|Sunao||1989||Composition credited to band|
|Samply Red||Perfect Rouge||1996||Composition credited to band|
|Ah-ra ii Kimochi||1996||Composition credited to band|
|(with Riyu Konaka) Kiseki to Taitsuku||1996||Composition credited to band|
|Happy Go Lucky OST||1997||Composer for 8 tracks|
|Kemeko no Uta (Happy Go Lucky)||1997||Arrangement credited to band|
|It's for my Ego||1997||Composition credited to band|
|Perfect Rouge I, II, III||2002||Composition credited to band|
Works for pop albumsEdit
(Artists ordered by year of first collaboration)
|Chiyono Yoshino||Montage||1988||Composer for two tracks|
|Song Bird||1989||Composer for three tracks,|
arranger for two tracks
|Melanger||1990||Composer for one track,|
performer on two tracks
|Keiko Nakajima||Keiko Nakajima||1990||Composer for all tracks|
|Kyoko Endo||Renai||1990||Arranger for seven tracks|
|Kobitori ni Naritai||1993||Arranger for all tracks|
|Fuyu no Miwa||1993||Arranger for all tracks|
|Hashire Hashire||1999||Arranger for two tracks|
|Aki Okui||Lost Melodies||1994||Arranger for two tracks|
|Straw Color||1997||Arranger for one track|
|Tsuki no Mayu||2000||Composer for all tracks|
|Hitomi Mieno||Hajimari no Boukenshya-tachi
~Hikari no Chizu~
|1995||Composer for two tracks|
|Miki Imai||Love of my Life||1995||Arranger for four tracks|
|Thank You||1996||Arranger for four tracks|
|IMAI.MIKI from 1986||1998||Arranger for one track|
|Blooming Ivory||2000||Arranger for one track|
|Yuri Shiratori||Atarashii Kutsu||1995||Composer for two tracks,|
Lyricist for one track
|Caramel Pop||1995||Composer and lyricist for two tracks|
|Kyōko Koizumi||Otokonoko, Onnanoko||1996||Composer for eight tracks,|
arranger for all tracks except 9 by Samply Red
|For my Life (Single)||1999||Composer for two tracks|
|Maaya Sakamoto||Grapefruit||1997||Composer for all tracks|
|DIVE||1998||Composer for all tracks|
|Single Collection+ Hotchpotch||1999||Composer for all tracks|
|Lucy||2001||Composer for all tracks|
|Easy Listening||2001||Composer for all tracks|
|Single Collection+ Nikopachi||2003||Composer for all tracks|
|Shōnen Alice||2003||Composer for all tracks|
|Kazeyomi||2009||Composer for two tracks|
|You Can't Catch Me||2011||Composer for one track|
|Akino Arai||Sora No Mori||1997||Composer for five tracks|
|Sora No Miwa||1997||Composer for two tracks|
|Hiru No Tsuki||1998||Arranger for two tracks|
|RGB||2002||Composer for one track|
|Yasui Inoue||Kyuu Dan||1998||Composer for one track|
|Crystal Kay||Eternal Memories||1999||Composer for two tracks|
|Komichi no Hana||1999||Composer for one track|
|C.C.L. Crystal Lover Light||2000||Composer for one track,|
Arranger for one track
|Kei Kobayashi||Nagashime Play||2003||Composer for all tracks|
|SMAP||Say What You Will||2005||Composer for two tracks|
|super.modern.artistic.performance||2008||Composer for one track|
|Yukawa Shione||Yuki No Waltz||2007||Composer for one track|
|AKINO from bless4||Lost in Time||2007||Composer for all tracks|
|Chitose Hajime||Cassini||2008||Composer for one track|
|Origa||The Songwreath||2008||Composer for one track|
|Yoshika||World||2008||Composer for one track|
|May'n||May'n☆Street||2009||Composer for two tracks|
|Natsumi Kiyoura||Juuku Iro||2010||Composer for one track|
|Megumi Nakajima||Be with You||2012||Composer for one track|
|Clammbon||yet||2015||String arranger for one track|
Works on Imperial commissionEdit
|Naruhito||Enthronement||"Ray of Water"||2019||Composer|
Companies that have commissioned Kanno for commercial music.
- AGF Maxim
- Asahi Glass Co.
- Cafe Noevir
- Citizen Watch Co.
- Cosmo Oil
- Daio Paper
- Daiwa House
- Fuji Xerox
- Half Century More
- Haus Ten Bausch
- Japan Medical Association
- Japan Railways
- Japan Telecom
- Kirin Beverage
- MasterCard International
- Mister Donut
- Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
- Mitsui Home
- National Ionity Nanocare
- NTT DoCoMo
- Ono Pharmaceutical
- Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co.
- Platinum Guild International
- Seiko Epson
- Sekisui House
- Seven Eleven
- Taiyo Life Insurance
- Takano Yori Beauty Clinic
- Tirol Choco
- Tokyo Gas
- Tokyo Metro
- Tombow Pencil
- Try Group
- UFJ Bank
- Yukiguni Maitake
- Aki Okui
- Akino Arai
- Anna Tsuchiya
- Aoi Teshima
- Arnór Dan Arnarson
- Artur Stefanowicz
- Ben del Maestro
- Carla Vallet
- Chinatsu Yamamoto
- Chiyono Yoshino
- Chris Mosdell
- Cosmic Voices from Bulgaria
- Crystal Kay
- Donna Burke
- Egil Olsen
- Emily Bindiger
- Emily Curtis
- Etsuko Yakushimaru
- Feather and Down
- Franco Sansalone
- Hajime Chitose
- Hanna Berglind
- Hassan Bohmide
- Hitomi Mieno
- Ilaria Graziano
- Jadwiga Rappe'
- James Wendt
- Kaoru Nishino
- Kei Kobayashi
- Kyoko Endo
- Kyoko Katsunuma (singer)
- Kyōko Koizumi
- Makino Yui
- Mari Iijima
- Maryanne Murray
- Maaya Sakamoto
- Mai Yamane
- Masaaki Endoh
- Masayoshi Furukawa
- Megumi Nakajima
- Mem Nahadr
- Miki Imai
- Motohiro Hata
- Pierre Bensusan
- POP ETC
- Raiché Coutev Sisters
- Raj Ramayya
- Reynada Hill
- Ryo Nagano
- Scott Matthew
- Seika Iwashita
- Shanti Snyder
- Soichiro Otsuka
- Steve Conte
- Sydney Thiam
- Tim Jensen
- Tokiko Kato
- Tulivu-Donna Cumberbatch
- Yuho Iwasato
- Yuuki Ozaki
- "TETSU100% member profiles". TETSU100%. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
- Masako Furukawa (2013-10-21). "Modern Portrait: Composer Yoko Kanno". Asahi Shimbun Weekly Aera. Asahi Shimbun Publications: 56–60.
- "Production IG Interview with Yoko Kanno for Ghost in the Shell: SAC". Productionig.com. March 20, 1966. Retrieved September 10, 2011.
- "Red Bull Music Academy Daily". daily.redbullmusicacademy.com. Retrieved 2017-11-09.
- "Production I.G [WORK LIST[Details]]". Productionig.com. Retrieved September 10, 2011.
- "Interview with Kanno Yoko". Ex.org. Archived from the original on March 4, 2000. Retrieved September 10, 2011.
- "Yôko Kanno". IMDb.
- "Composer Yoko Kanno to Perform Concert at Otakon - News - Anime News Network". Anime News Network. Retrieved September 16, 2014.
- "奉祝曲、天皇陛下のライフワーク「水」をテーマに : ニュース : 令和・新時代 : ニュース". 読売新聞オンライン (in Japanese). 2019-11-09. Retrieved 2019-11-18.
- "Pop and pomp: Arashi to sing at throne-accession festival in Tokyo：The Asahi Shimbun". The Asahi Shimbun. Retrieved 2019-11-18.
- 【フルバージョン】国民祭典 奉祝曲Ray of Water 雅子さま涙ぐまれる, retrieved 2019-11-18
- "PLAZA インタビュー「菅野よう子さん」 - : PLAZA INTERVIEW - CPRA 公益社団法人日本芸能実演家団体協議会 実演家著作隣接権センター". Archived from the original on May 1, 2013. Retrieved September 16, 2014.
- "New Yoko Kanno releases announced". animenewsnetwork.com.
- "Interview with Kanno Yoko". Ex.org. Archived from the original on September 10, 2011. Retrieved September 10, 2011.
- "Pokkarishita Translation Project". Cybird.fr. May 1, 2010. Retrieved September 10, 2011.
- "Grand Funk Inc. Official Website". Grandfunk.net. Retrieved September 10, 2011.
- "Ben del Maestro". IMDB. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
- Yoko Kanno Network (Japanese fan website)
- Yoko Kanno at Anime News Network's encyclopedia
- Yoko Kanno discography at VGMdb
- Yoko Kanno on IMDb
- Nippop Profile |Yoko Kanno
- Yoko Kanno discography at MusicBrainz
- Jmusic.fr.tc biography and discography (in French)
- Yoko Kanno Project
- Yoko Kanno at Media Arts Database (in Japanese)