Motoi Sakuraba

Motoi Sakuraba
Born August 5, 1965 (1965-08-05) (age 46)
Akita Prefecture, Japan
Occupations Composer, keyboardist
Instruments Keyboards
Years active 1988–present

Motoi Sakuraba (桜庭 統 Sakuraba Motoi?, born August 5, 1965) is a Japanese composer of video games, anime series, and television dramas as well as independent progressive rock albums.[1]



Motoi Sakuraba was born in Akita Prefecture, Japan. He is married to Yuko Sakuraba and has a daughter, Mio Sakuraba. Sakuraba broke into the music scene as composer and keyboard player of the progressive rock band Deja Vu, which released an album, "Baroque in the Future", in 1988. The band later disbanded, and Sakuraba went on to release a solo progressive rock album, "Gikyoku Onsou", in 1990. During his work as video game composer he continued to produce heavily extended arrangements of his compositions.

In late 1989, Sakuraba began work as main composer for Wolf Team, a subsidiary of Telenet Japan. While this team eventually splintered into several others, the professional friendships formed here have resulted in a great demand for Sakuraba's composing abilities, as seen in the following:

  • In 1994, former Wolf Team director and composer Masaaki Uno started working at Camelot Software Planning as coordinator and sound director, developing games for Sony, Sega and Nintendo. Sakuraba was called upon as a composer for various Camelot games, including the Mario Golf, Mario Tennis, and Golden Sun series.
  • In 1995, Wolf Team developed the breakthrough game Tales of Phantasia for Namco. This and other games in the Tales series primarily feature Sakuraba and fellow Wolf Team composer Shinji Tamura as composers (the exception so far has been Tales of Legendia, composed by Go Shiina). Eventually the remnants of Wolfteam morphed into the Namco Telenet joint subsidiary Namco Tales Studio in 2003.
  • Also in 1995, former Wolf Team director and producer Jun Asanuma, as well as Tales of Phantasia writer and programmer Yoshiharu Gotanda, founded tri-Ace with financial backing from Enix. The Star Ocean and Valkyrie Profile games have been their keystone productions. Again, Sakuraba has been the composer for all their games, with the exception of the Noriyuki Iwadare-scored Radiata Stories (which included arrangements of a few choice Sakuraba tracks).
  • In 1999, long-time Sakuraba sound designer and programmer Hiroya Hatsushiba, a former member of Wolf Team and tri-Ace, founded tri-Crescendo. While initially continuing to contribute sound work to tri-Ace games, tri-Crescendo began game development in 2001. Together with Monolith Soft, tri-Crescendo started working on Baten Kaitos; Namco provided the financial backing. Hatsushiba, as director and main programmer of the project, again called upon Sakuraba's composing services. This has extended to the sequel (Baten Kaitos Origins) and Eternal Sonata.
  • In 2007, Sakuraba was selected to join a long list of video-game composers to contribute music to Super Smash Bros. Brawl. He was selected to arrange the famous "Menu Theme" from the game's predecessor, Super Smash Bros. Melee. He also arranged "Gourmet Race" from Kirby Super Star, "Jungle Level Ver.2" from Donkey Kong Country, "Mario Tennis / Mario Golf" from Mario Tennis / Mario Golf, "Victory Road" from Pokémon Ruby / Pokémon Sapphire, "Airship Theme" from Super Mario Bros. 3, the "Battlefield Theme" and "Final Destination". In addition, the song "Battle Scene / Final Boss (Golden Sun)" was based on his music from Golden Sun: The Lost Age.

In addition to all this, Sakuraba is regularly contracted for composing work in other media through his own TEAM Entertainment, a company founded in 1999 to promote and license the work of artists.

Live performances

During July 2003, Sakuraba held a live concert in Tokyo, Japan. He performed progressive rock interpretations of music from the PlayStation games Star Ocean: The Second Story and Valkyrie Profile. His bandmates for this concert were bassist Atsushi Hasegawa (a member of the band Gerard) and drummer Toshihiko Nakamura. As noted, this concert was released on DVD and CD; many Sakuraba fans worldwide were delighted by the news that the DVD was region-free.

At the same time as they were rehearsing for the concert, Hasegawa and Nakamura assisted in recording new material for the Director's Cut of Star Ocean: Till the End of Time.

The following year, the trio performed another concert. The venue was smaller, but included music from Baten Kaitos and a couple of new, non-game-related pieces. Unfortunately, this concert was not officially recorded.

However, in 2006, a new concert was given in celebration of tri-Ace's new Valkyrie Profile: Silmeria title. This concert has been released on CD.

Musical style

Motoi Sakuraba takes the baroque and melodic Japanese progressive rock of the 1980s and expands it with his own trademark complex rhythms, emotional flutes, use of male choir and heavy reverb. The lighter side of his style is a crossover between symphonic progressive rock, cinematic orchestra and new age. Sakuraba is also known for introducing many jazz-like improvisations to his music style. In recent years he has made a serious effort toward expanding his style even further.



The following albums feature work by Motoi Sakuraba:

Album Year
Progressive Battle 1988 (Dèja Vu, live compilation) 1988
Baroque in the Future (Dèja Vu) 1988
Pazzo Fanfano di Musica (progressive rock compilation; various artists) 1988
Arcus II: Silent Symphony 1989
King's Boards (progressive rock compilation; various artists) 1990
FZ Series "AXIS" 1990
Maneuver Cepter Granada 1990
Zan Kagerou no Toki 1990
Gikyokuonsou (solo work) 1991
Beyond the Beyond Original Game Soundtrack 1996
@Midi's Summer (as a guest) 1996
Star Ocean Perfect Sound Collection 1996
Shining the Holy Ark Original Soundtrack 1996
Cyber Bi-Shoujo Telomere Original Soundtrack 1998
@Midi's Dance (as a guest) 1998
Star Ocean The Second Story Original Soundtrack 1998
Star Ocean The Second Story Arrange Album 1998
Force of Light 1998
Shining Force III Original Soundtrack 1998
Tales of Phantasia Original Soundtrack Complete Version 1999
@Midi's Battle (as a guest) 1999
Vanny Knights Original Soundtrack 1999
Valkyrie Profile Original Soundtrack 2000
Valkyrie Profile Arrange Album 2000
Tales of Destiny Soundtrack 2000
Valkyrie Profile Voice Mix Arrange 2000
Star Ocean The Second Story Fantasy Megamix (arranged by Yoshihiro Ike) 2000
Genso-maden Saiyuki Original Soundtrack Volume 1 2000
Mario Tennis 64 Original Soundtrack 2000
@Midi's Freedom (as a guest) 2000
Melody of Legend: Chapter of Dream (arrange compilation; one track featured) 2001
Melody of Legend: Chapter of Love (arrange compilation; one track featured) 2001
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Children Game Music Arrange Tracks 2001
Genso-maden Saiyuki Original Soundtrack Volume 2 2001
Tales of Eternia Original Soundtrack 2001
Tales of Eternia "The Animation" Original Soundtrack 2001
Tales of Eternia Remaster Audio 2001
Star Ocean EX Original Soundtrack Volume 1 2001
Star Ocean: Blue Sphere Arrange & Sound Trax 2001
Star Ocean EX Original Soundtrack Volume 2 2001
Tales of Destiny 2 Original Soundtrack 2002
Weiß Kreuz Glühen Dramatic Soundtrack 1 2003
Star Ocean: Till the End of Time Original Soundtrack Vol.1 2003
Weiß Kreuz Glühen Dramatic Soundtrack 2 2003
Star Ocean Till the End of Time Original Soundtrack Vol.2 2003
Star Ocean Till the End of Time Arrange Album 2003
Star Ocean Till the End of Time Voice Mix Arrange 2003
Star Ocean & Valkyrie Profile Soundtrack the Best 2003
Pluster World Original Soundtrack 2003
Tales of Symphonia Original Soundtrack 2003
Motoi Sakuraba Live Concert "Star Ocean & Valkyrie Profile" (CD & DVD) 2003
Baten Kaitos ~Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean~ Original Soundtrack 2003
Star Ocean Till the End of Time Director's Cut Original Soundtrack 2004
Famicom 20th Anniversary Arrange Sound Tracks (arranged one track) 2004
Star Ocean Soundtrack 2004
Phantasy Star Online EPISODE I & II Premium Arrange (arranged one track) 2004
Dark Chronicle Premium Arrange (arranged one track) 2004
Pluster World Original Soundtrack 2 2004
Pluster World Original Soundtrack 3 2004
Mario Sports CD ~ Mario Tennis GC & Mario Golf Family Tour The Best 2004
Star Ocean & Valkyrie Profile Arrange The Best Plus 2004
Tales of Rebirth Original Soundtrack 2005
Radiata Stories Original Soundtrack (features three arrangements of Star Ocean pieces) 2005
Duel Masters ~Birth of Super Dragon~ Original Soundtrack 2005
Rogue Galaxy Premium Arrange (arranged one track) 2006
Valkyrie Profile -Lenneth- Original Soundtrack (reprint of 2000 release) 2006
Tales of the Abyss Original Soundtrack 2006
Valkyrie Profile -Lenneth- Arrange Album (reprint of 2000 release) 2006
Baten Kaitos II Original Soundtrack 2006
FM Sound Module Maniax (composed one track) 2006
Valkyrie Profile 2 -Silmeria- Original Soundtrack Vol.1 2006
Valkyrie Profile 2 -Silmeria- Original Soundtrack Vol.2 2006
Valkyrie Profile 2 -Silmeria- Voice Mix Album 2006
Valkyrie Profile 2 -Silmeria- Arrange Album 2006
Motoi Sakuraba Live 2006: Valkyrie Profile 2 2006
Tenshou Gakuen Gekkouroku Original Soundtrack 2006
Tales of the Tempest Original Soundtrack 2007
Trusty Bell ~Chopin's Dream~ Original Score 2007
Tales of Destiny Original Soundtrack (PS2 Version) 2007
Forest of Glass (solo album) 2008
Star Ocean: The First Departure Original Soundtrack 2008
Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World Original Soundtrack 2008
Tales of Vesperia Original Soundtrack 2008
Infinite Undiscovery Original Soundtrack 2008
Star Ocean: The Last Hope Original Soundtrack 2009
Star Ocean: The Last Hope Arrange Soundtrack 2009
Tales of Graces Original Soundtrack 2009
Tales of Xillia Original Soundtrack 2011


For Wolf Team (subsidiary of Telenet)
  • Tales of Phantasia (published by Namco)
  • Tales of Destiny (published by Namco)
  • Tales of Eternia (published by Namco)
  • Tales of Destiny 2 (published by Namco)
  • Arcus Odyssey
  • Arcus Spirits (published by Sammy)
  • Arcus I-II-III
  • Arcus II: Silent Symphony
  • Arcus 3
  • Earnest Evans
  • Anetto Futatabi
  • El Viento
  • Maneuver Cepter Granada
  • Goh
  • Goh 2
  • Zan II Spirits
  • Zan III Spirits
  • Zan: Yasha Enbukyoku
  • Zan: Kagerou no Toki
  • Zan: Youen no Jidai (published by Taito)
  • Zan Gear
  • Fhey Area: Century of the Gods
  • Sol Feace (Sol Deace in America)
  • Devastator
  • Final Zone Senki: AXIS
  • Hiouden
  • Hiouden 2
  • Cybernetic Empire
  • D - European Mirage
  • Niko²
For Telenet
  • Ace wo Nerae!
  • Cosmic Fantasy 4
  • Parlor Parlor Series
  • Tenshi no Uta: Shiroki Tsubasa no Inori (with "Hassy")
For Namco Tales Studio (subsidiary of Namco and Telenet)
For Camelot Software Planning
For tri-Ace
  • Star Ocean (published by Enix)
  • Star Ocean: The Second Story (published by Enix)
  • Star Ocean: Blue Sphere (published by Enix)
  • Star Ocean: Till the End of Time (published by Enix)
  • Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth (originally published by Enix, rereleased on PSP by Square Enix)
  • Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria (published by Square Enix)
  • Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume (published by Square Enix)
  • Infinite Undiscovery (published by Square Enix)
  • Star Ocean: The Last Hope (published by Square Enix)
  • Resonance of Fate (published by Sega)
  • Beyond the Labyrinth
For tri-Crescendo
For KidsStudio Games
  • Duel Masters (published by KidsStudio)
For Nintendo
For Success
For Konami
For From Software


Television dramas

  • TV Asahi Weekend Drama Series
  • Cyber Bi-Shoujo Telomere
  • Vanny Knights


  • Blue Remains (CG Movie)


External links

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