Welcome back to Journey Into Manga and Anime. Since it’s Women’s History Month, each this post will be about focused on the women in the manga and anime worlds, ficitional and non-fictional. Today’s post spotlights Yoko Kanno.
Yoko Kanno is a Japanese composer, arranger and musician best known for her work on the soundtracks for many anime films, television series, live-action films, video games, and advertisements.
Yoko was born on March 19th, 1967 in Miyagi, Japan.She began composing music in her early childhood, she wrote a song for a boy she liked. Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy were her primary influences growing up. Yoko can play the keyboard, piano, and the accordion.
The genres that Kanno’s music has been featured in include: Jazz, classical, orchestral,electronic, new age, blues, folk rock, electronic rock, pop, and art rock.
In addition to Japanese, she speaks very little English and some French. Yoko claims that her English is “poor” and that she needs translation help to converse in French.
Besides music, Kanno also enjoys photography and writing. She has written a number of journals for Newtype magazine.
Since she works in the animation industry, she only receives instructions and storyboards from directors which helps her with composing. She does not know if everything she creates will be included in the finished project. She once said that she likes working this way because she does not have to deal with rules during composing.
Aside from Cowboy Bebop’s “Tank!” Yoko Kanno’s most famous soundtrack themes include “Kiseki no Umi” (Lodoss War), “Voices” (Macross Plus), “Yakusoku wa Iranai” (Escaflowne), “Gravity” (Wolf’s Rain), “Inner Universe” (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex) and Stand Alone Complex O.S.T As of 2011, she’s released six solo studio albums.
Besides anime and games, Kanno also composes for live-action films and television commercials. Some brands she has composed for include Canon, DoCoMo, Fuji Xerox,Seven-Eleven, Microsoft, Nissan, Toyota, Shiseido, Avon, and Master Card.