Minoru Mukaiya is a Japanese composer, musician, and entrepreneur. He is best known for his role as the keyboardist of the jazz fusion band Casiopea, and for creating train departure melodies for railway stations in Japan and other countries. He is also the founder and CEO of Ongakukan, a company that produces train simulator software and arcade games.
Mukaiya started playing piano at the age of four, and developed an interest in jazz and fusion music in his teens. He joined Casiopea in 1979, and contributed to the band’s success with his distinctive keyboard style and compositions. He left Casiopea in 1989 to pursue his solo career, but rejoined the band in 1997 until its hiatus in 2006. He has released several solo albums, as well as collaborations with other artists.
Mukaiya’s passion for trains led him to create train departure melodies, or hassha melodies, which are short tunes that play before a train leaves a station. He has composed over 200 hassha melodies for various railway companies in Japan, as well as in China, Singapore, and Indonesia. He believes that these melodies enhance the travel experience and create a sense of harmony between people and trains.
Mukaiya is also the founder and CEO of Ongakukan, a company that specializes in train simulator software and arcade games. He started the company in 1991, after developing a train simulator for his own use. He has since produced many train simulator titles for various platforms, as well as arcade games such as Railfan and Train Simulator Real. He also operates a train museum in Saitama, where visitors can experience driving different types of trains.