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Yoko Kanno (菅野 よう子 Kanno Yoko?), who has gone under the alias Gabriela Robin and Robin Robinson, is a Japanese composer, arranger, performer and music producer. She was born on March 18, 1963 in Sendai City, Miyagi prefecture.[1] She mainly works in animation, video games, commercials, dramas and films.[2]

She is a regular collaborator of Shinichiro Watanabe and Shōji Kawamori, the latter of which's projects include Vision of Escaflowne, Macross Plus, Earth Girl Arjuna, Genesis of Aquarion and Macross Frontier. She arranged the single "Good job!", reuniting her with Megumi Nakajima and May'n, which was released in January 2018 during the Macross series' 35th anniversary collaboration event with Tokyo Sky Tree, "Macross 35th BLUE MOON SHOWCASE at Tokyo Skytree". "Good Job!" was also created to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Macross Frontier's television broadcast.

She has composed a thousand commercial songs for the advertising industry, and is called the "Queen of CM Song". She also spent nine years producing music for Maaya Sakamoto. In 2011, her hometown of Miyagi prefecture was devastated by the Tohoku earthquake, and she responded by composing support songs for the relief efforts.[3] In 2018, she was invited be a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the the Academy Awards.[4]

She is managed by Grand Funk Inc. and record label FlyingDog. She was married to cellist Hajime Mizoguchi.

Musical InfluencesEdit

From classical to folk music, rock, techno and idol pop, Kanno's work incorporates elements of a wide variety of music genres, from east and west. When director Shinichiro Watanabe was listening to her demo tape for the first time, he was surprised how a single woman could produce such music.[5] Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino made a similar statement, "Is this a woman doing this job?"[6] Kanno has no set genre, once saying, "It feels like I'm digging out the sound from the work itself."

As seen in her early works, Macross Plus, Vision of Escaflowne and Cowboy Bebop, Kanno prefers "long tunes and sounds akin to a fixed schedule and rhythm" and enjoys combining jazz and techno and compared it to mismatched sex, as both get bored along the way. In order to make the her audience not get bored with her compositions, she concluded that her music had a tendency to be dark (high calorie, fat).[7] She doesn't enjoy the repetitive minimal development found in club music, and was against director Watanabe and screenwriter / musician Dai Sato selecting the remixer for "Cowboy Bebop Remixes: Music for Freelance".[8] She didn't consider that music, saying "it's just uncomfortable because it sounded like a machine ringing,". After her work in Cowboy Bebop, she worked yet again with fellow musician Dai Sato on Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, where they adopted the "four strikes" beat to "mimic the consciousness of the work world". Sato described her as a "musical tsundere" who had the innate ability to uncover the glorious part of a genre that she personally did not like.

When making a song, Kanno says it should flow into your head in a complete form so that you can play the tape, expressing it as similar to "the cassette tape is falling".[9] During meetings with clients, she would often improvise music while listening to the parties concerned discuss story details, etc.[10] She has become so good at this that she could write the score of another song at the same time. Rather than focus on the specific content of the work, she thinks about the director's intent, asking herself, "What does the person want to do?" She is so prolific that she sometimes composes songs that were not ordered by her clients.[11]


  1. Tetsuo 100% Profile
  2. Masako Furukawa "Portrait of Contemporary Composers Yoko Kanno", "Asahi Shimbun Weekly AERA " (October 21, 2013 issue), Asahi Shimbun Publications pp. 56-60
  3. "Macross F" Yoko Kanno's earthquake stricken area support song draws massive response of about 300,000 views on YouTube in 24 hours." Cinema Today. (March 16, 2011)
  4. US Academy Awards New members include Mamoru Hosoda, Sunao Katagiri, Makoto Shinkai, and Yoko Kanno
  5. Interview with Watanabe Shinichiro” “Continued Vol. 46”, page 94.
  6. Munetoshi Munetoshi "The World of Yoko Kanno" "Anison Magazine Vol. 2" Yosensha, 2009, p. 37.
  7. Anno Interview with Konno” “Continued Vol. 46”, page 89.
  8. Sato Univ. "A cute and majestic muse" "Yurika Poetry and Criticism Special Feature Yoko Yokono", pp. 59-60.
  9. Yoshino Kuwano Kiseki behind the Scenes" "Animage 2009 June" Tokuma Shoten, 2009, p. 113.
  10. Anno Interview with Kanno” “Continued Vol. 46”, page 89.
  11. "Composition of more than a thousand songs such as "Macros F" - Musician Yoko Kanno talks about composition and composition" "My Navi News. (July 29, 2010)

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