Kinuyo Yamashita is a Japanese video game music composer and sound producer born in Amagasaki, Hyogo. After studying electronic engineering for two years at the junior college Osaka Electro-Communication University, she graduated in 1986 and went on to work for Konami.

She has composed music and sound effects for many video games. Her most famous soundtrack is Konami's "Castlevania", which was also her first musical work. She was credited under the pseudonym James Banana for her work on the Famicom Disk System version of the game.

== Early Life ==

Yamashita started playing the piano at the age of four, taking lessons once per week. She learned the classical piano, where she played Chopin and Beethoven. As a child, her parents didn't listen to music, so she didn't have any musical influences.

== Career ==

=== 1980s ===

After composing the soundtrack to Castlevania, Yamashita worked on many other games while with Konami, including "Esper Dream", "Arumana no Kiseki", "Stinger", "Maze of Galious", "Knightmare III: Sh alom" and "Parodius". She was part of the original Konami Kukeiha Club. In 1989 she left Konami to become a freelance composer.

=== 1990s ===

As an independent composer, Yamashita continued to score soundtracks for many video games, including "Mega Man X3", ''Power Blade", the Medabot series, "Bass Masters Classic", "Power Rangers: Lightspeed Rescue" and "WWF Wrestlemania 2000". From 1991 to 1995 Yamashita formed a duo called "Honey Honey" with her friend. They performed live covers of American Pop and Jazz music. She played the piano, the alto saxophone, and sang background vocals.

=== 2000s - Present ===

Yamashita continued to compose independently in the new millennium, working on titles such as "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", "Croc 2", "Monsters, Inc.", "WWF Road to WrestleMania", "Power Rangers: Dino Thunder" and more games in the Medabot series.

Yamashita will compose J-Pop songs for Japanese artists under the independent label Rocketeers and compose R&B songs independently for some American artists.

== Personal ==

On August 15th, 1998 Yamashita collapsed while playing tennis. She was taken to the hospital in an ambulance and diagnosed with a subarachnoid hemorrhage. She stayed in the hospital for a week comatose, only to suffer from a second subarachnoid hemorrhage. Her chance of living severely decreased, however the second operation was a miraculous success. She spent another week in a coma and awoke with no memory and slight paralysis on the right side of her body. Gradually her memory and paralysis recovered and she was released from the hospital. She was able to continue her career in music.