According to Dragon Quest’s official website, 90 year old composer Koichi Sugiyama died on 30 September due to septic shock. Sugiyama contributed to the development of the Dragon Quest series by working on the music form he very start. Sugiyama composed all of the more than 500 songs in the Dragon Quest series by himself, and his last job was to compose Dragon Quest XI – Echoes of an Elusive Age. His memory and legacy will continue to live on through the games, but it’s important to realize that there are also many fans of his music who experienced Dragon Quest only through the work orchestral compositions of Sugiyama.
Sugiyama was born on 11 April 1931 in Toko. He started writing while in high school. After graduating from Tokyo University, he joined Fuji TV through Nippon Cultural Broadcasting, and as a director he worked on programs such as “Adult Manga” “The Hit Parade”, and “Shinsuhn Kakushigei Takai”, and at the same time began his work as a composer. He wrote many hit songs such as “Amairo no Kami no Maiden”, “Flower Necklace”, and more. His work appeared in animation, movies, and orchestral settings.
Japanese game designer and Dragon Quest creator Yuji Horii had the following to say about Sugiyama’s death:
I’m really sorry to hear of Mr. Sugiyama sudden passing. Thirty-five years after making Dragon Quest, Professor Sugiyama has brought the life of music to the world. The teacher wrote a lot of really wonderful songs. Dragon Quest will continue to be with his music. He should stay alive in the hearts of our players. Sugiyama-sensei, Thank you very much.– Yuji Horii (Dragon Quest creator)
Additionally Akira Toriyama, who illustrated Dragon Ball and the Dragon Quest games also commented on Sugiyama’s passing:
I was surprised to hear about the death of Dr. Sugiyama. From the impression I had when I met just a few years ago, in a good way, I thought of him as a witch with eternal life. The image of Dragon Quest is Mr. Sugiyama, who has loved games forever. The games were marked by his wonderful and impressive masterpieces. It is no exaggeration to say that. It was a great honor to work with you for a long time! I pray for his soul from the bottom of my heart.Akira Toriyama (Dragon Quest illustrator)
Koichi Sugiyama Dragon Quest soundtracks are available on Amazon.
Square Enix President Yosuke Matsuda wrote in a separate statement:
I would like to take this opportunity to offer my deepest sympathy to Koichi Sugiyama’s friends and loved ones. Words cannot express the scale of the contribution made by Koichi Sugiyama from the birth of the DRAGON QUEST series until now. I remember seeing him conduct the orchestra in a DRAGON QUEST concert as if it were yesterday.Yosuke Matsuda (Square Enix president)
I thank and honor him for his long years of service and the many wonderful pieces of music he has written for our games, and offer my heartfelt prayers for the repose of his soul.