Featured, Game Music, Japanese

Matron Maestras – Junko Tamiya (Spotlight)

May 25, 2018 | | Comment? Share thison Facebook Matron Maestras – Junko Tamiya (Spotlight)on Twitter

Capcom has produced and nurtured a variety of female composers over the past few decades. It’s not a huge exaggeration to say that they have been probably one of the most prolific in terms of having so many of their titles featuring women composing the music. The names Manami Matsumae and Yoko Shimomura are well known in the VGM community as legends for their work on the early classic Capcom titles, but there is a score of women who have their names listed as top composer credits in several well-known titles who deserve some spotlight as well for their accomplishments. Junko Tamiya certainly is one of them.

Composer Name: Junko Tamiya


Birthplace/Hometown: Japan


Games Composed For: Strider, Bionic Commando, Final Fight, Sweet Home


Junko Tamiya first got her start in game music straight out of college when she learned of openings on the Capcom sound team. Her first work was on the arcade release of Strider in 1989, diving straight into Capcom under the alias “GON!” and “Gondamin”. The music from the arcade game did not port to the NES, so Tamiya’s work within the arcade release is unique and features iconic tracks which cemented her composing abilities early in her career.

“Raid!” – Strider Hiryu (Arcade)


Tamiya-san didn’t get any breaks in her composing for Capcom after her work on Strider. She ended up being chosen to write the music for the NES/Famicom port of Bionic Commando  for release later in 1989. The original arcade soundtrack was composed by fellow lady composer Harumi Fujita (We’ll have to touch upon her work some other time), with Tamiya only adapting two of the songs from the arcade OST, and then creating all new tracks for the ports.

“Albatross Fight” – Bionic Commando (NES)


Capcom was hardly done with Tamiya after previous two big-hitters. In December of 1989, Capcom released the grandaddy of survival horror games, Sweet Home, for the Famcom. Tamiya had never scored anything close to a horror aesthetic before, so (according to an interview done by VGMO) to prepare she watched horror film Hellraiser to get an idea of what she should inject into the feel of the music for Sweet Home. This way, she was able to craft a eerie soundtrack for the game, which not only impacted that game, but also it’s spiritual successors like the Resident Evil and Silent Hill games.

Junko Tamiya has had an exceptional history as a contributing composer for other Capcom titles such as Final Fight and Strider Hiryu 2, further padding her resume and cementing her legacy within the annuls of video game music history. Be sure to check out all of her soundtracks if they aren’t already burned into your brain since childhood and tip your hat to this talented lady.

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