How did Shunsuke Kikuchi die? ‘Dragon Ball Z’ composer remembered as ‘legend of music industry’ after death at 89

Shunsuke Kikuchi will remain a part of the 'Dragon Ball' phenomenon whose work in solidifying anime as a global genre has been well-documented


                            How did Shunsuke Kikuchi die? ‘Dragon Ball Z’ composer remembered as ‘legend of music industry’ after death at 89
Shunsuke Kikuchi dies at 89 (YouTube / JASRAC)

Shunsuke Kikuchi, the iconic composer who defined 'Dragon Ball Z', 'Doraemon', and more has passed away at the age of 89. The music composer worked on various anime productions for children as well as action films and television dramas. The prolific composer has worked till 2017 after which he announced a break due to his deteriorating health.

The music composer died at a medical facility in Tokyo due to aspiration pneumonia on April 24, Oricon News reported. The Japanese Society for Rights of Authors of Music (JASRAC) announced the news on April 28. The report further reveals that a funeral will be held by close family members and relatives only. 

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Shunsuke Kikuchi receives an award from JASRAC in 2015 (JASRAC)

Who was Shunsuke Kikuchi?

Born on November 1, 1931 in Hirosaki, Aomori Japan, Shunsuke Kikuchi was an iconic, critically acclaimed music composer who has worked on over sixty anime series, films, and television shows combined. Among the works which have brought him worldwide recognition, 'Dragon Ball' series tops along with other sequels of the show including 'Dragon Ball Z', 'Dragon Ball: Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!!' and 'Dragon Ball Z Kai'. He is also the music composer of the Doraemon theme song 'Doraemon no Uta.' His other famous works feature 'Arabian Nights: Sinbad's Adventures', 'The Gate of Youth' and 'To Trap a Kidnapper'.

His composed song 'Urami Bushi' (怨み節) which he produced for the early 1970s 'Female Convict Scorpion' series, was a part of the film 'Kill Bill'.



 

Accolades won by Shunsuke Kikuchi

Kikuchi won the prestigious Japan Academy Prize for Music in 1983 for his work on 'The Gate of Youth' and 'To Trap a Kidnapper.' Later, he also received an Award of Merit at the 2013 Tokyo Anime Awards. Along with other awards for his international anime fame, he got the lifetime achievement award at the 57th Japan Record Awards.

Praising his work, the Tō-Ō Nippō Press once credited him for changing "Japanese anime music" with the poignant contrast between the heroic opening theme and the melancholic ending theme in the 1969 Tiger Mask anime. They also said, "If Shunsuke Kikuchi is in charge of the music, the show will be a hit."

 



 

'Your music defined Dragon Ball'

Social media users have taken it to Twitter to mourn the demise of an iconic music composer. A fan wrote, "Shunsuke Kikuchi was to Dragon Ball like what John Williams was to Star Wars R.I.P In honour of his legacy, I think a listen through of his work is in order." Another user noted, "Damn. Rest In Peace, Shunsuke Kikuchi. Your music defined Dragon Ball, and only for good reasons. Thank you for giving so much enjoyment to us through your sounds for decades."

A fan shared, "Shunsuke Kikuchi, the man behind Dragon Ball and DBZ's soundtrack has passed away at 89. His work brought joy to countless children and adults across the globe. A legend of the music industry never to be forgotten." Another user commented, "If you were mainly a dub fan who only knows Yamamoto, Sumitomo, Faulconer or even Shuki Levy, I highly recommend checking out his contributions to the series It’s downright magical!"

Another fan posted, "Waking up to the news that legendary Composer Shunsuke Kikuchi has passed away at the age of 89 from Pneumonia. Very sad, his work on Dragon Ball was what I knew him for, but he did so much more. Thoughts are with all who knew Kikuchi San. RIP."



 



 



 



 

 



 

 

Shunsuke Kikuchi will remain a part of the 'Dragon Ball' phenomenon whose work in solidifying anime as a global genre has been well-documented.

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