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Super Smash Bros. composer Kenichi Okuma passes away at 56

Okuma created several compositions and arrangements for Super Smash Bros. Brawl that would go on to be used in Ultimate.


Unfortunate news has hit the gaming industry today as a notable composer has left us. Kenichi Okuma worked on music for several games throughout his career as a composer, including music for the Super Smash Bros. franchise used in multiple games. However, Kenichi Okuma was also recently contending with cancer and unfortunately succumbed to his illness. The composer has officially passed away at 56-years-old.

Okuma’s passing was announced via his personal Twitter by family. According to the post on Twitter, Okuma had been dealing with esophageal cancer and, on July 22, 2022, passed away from the illness. Okuma’s family wrote that he would have a private funeral, but thanked everyone who enjoyed his music during his career. As the news broke, Super Smash Bros. director Masahiro Sakurai chimed into the Twitter thread to offer condolences and share that Okuma’s music was not only used in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, but also in Ultimate, and that his legacy would live in these games.

“Best wishes for your soul... Thank you for your support in ‘Smash Bros. X’, but there are some songs that will be used in later series,” Sakurai wrote, roughly translated.

Smash Bros. director Masahiro Sakurai wishing well to the soul and family of deceased composer Kenichi Okuma.
Super Smash Bros. director Masahiro Sakurai took the time to offer well wishes to Kenichi Okuma and his family after his passing.
Source: Twitter

Okuma’s works were best known in Super Smash Bros. Brawl where he contributed the following arrangements:

  • Pokémon Gym / Evolution (Pokémon Red/Pokémon Blue)
  • Flat Zone 2
  • Gyromite

However, Kenichi Okuma’s work went beyond Smash Bros. as well. He contributed to a number of Japanese games. However, he was also the composer for Langrisser V: The End of Legend back on the Sega Saturn in 1998. Kenichi Okuma’s contributions may have been in the background, but his music was still quite good in most instances.

Shacknews joins the industry in wishing well to Kenichi Okuma and his family in this difficult time.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

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