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ZUN

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ZUN
Also known as Jun'ya Ota (太田順也 (おたじゅんや) )
ZUN
ZUN in his interview with "The Net Star" (2008)
Title

Hakurei Kannushi, Team Shanghai Alice Leader

Born

March 18, 1977 (1977-03-18) (age 37) Hakuba, Nagano, Japan

Location

Formally Ebina, Kanagawa, Japan, currently unknown

Gender

Male

Notable from

the Touhou Project

Circle(s)

Team Shanghai Alice

Occupation

Programmer, Game Director, Game Producer, Character Designer, Illustrator, Game Designer, Music Composer, Novelist

Music Themes

Kid's Festival ~ Innocent Treasures (Changeability of Strange Dream)

Art Example

Reimu Hakurei
Reimu Hakurei in Lotus Land Story.
Reimu Hakurei
Reimu Hakurei in Double Dealing Character.

Music Example

Composed UFO Romance in the Night Sky from Undefined Fantastic Object.

Websites

Jun'ya Ota (太田順也 Ohta Jun'ya), pen-name ZUN, is the sole known member of Team Shanghai Alice, and is the designer, programmer, script writer, and composer of the extremely popular Touhou Project. He's seen to be rather reclusive and it's known that he's very fond of beer. He was employed by Taito Corporation,[1] and had been involved in the production of various Taito titles as a programmer.

Works

Games

Music Soundtracks

Print

Works with Taito Corporation

ZUN in the credits of EXIT.

Games unrelated to Touhou

Doujin Games

Doujin Albums

Biography

A limited biography of ZUN could be written based upon the lengthy texts included within his games (letters to the player) and interviews for various publications. Unfortunately, a large majority of these remain untranslated for the Touhou Wiki. Despite the current massive lack of information known or comprehensible, a good amount of relevant information is known about him.

Name

ZUN's real name was first revealed in the third Touhou Project game, Phantasmagoria of Dim.Dream.

ZUN has used the nickname "ZUN" since his childhood, since it is a short form of his real name; in the arcade word, such manner was quite common for many players since most games had a three letter limit for the names to be input on the high score screen. The name is coincidentally the leading alphabets for "ZUNTATA", the sound team at Taito Corporation where he worked.

ZUN's real name is Jun'ya Ota (太田順也), seen in the documentation of the five PC-98 games, as well as the credits of Phantasmagoria of Dim.Dream, Lotus Land Story and Mystic Square in 1997 and 1998; the name has also been listed in archives of ZUN's profile page on his website up to June 2002. Additionally, not mentioned officially but the same name has been shown in the number of Taito games ZUN had involved in. His name was also used on official documents.[2]

ZUN also refers to himself as the Hakurei Kannushi (博麗神主), or the head priest of the Hakurei Shrine, used as his byline on some Touhou print works and the name shown on his Twitter account. He has stated he "secretly works in the Hakurei Shrine as the shrine master" in Changeability of Strange Dream. In canon, the Hakurei Shrine in Gensokyo has received sake from the outside world as an offering on several occasions, which may be a joking reference to how well-known ZUN is for drinking more than an oni.

History

ZUN was born on March 18, 1977 (1977-03-18) (age 37), in Hakuba, Nagano, and graduated from Tokyo Denki University, the home of Amusement Makers. The MAG-Net episode shows that at the time, he lived in Ebina, Kanagawa. His current residence is unknown.

He has confirmed in an interview that he had started composing his own pieces of music since junior high school, and had learned how to play the Electone – which his parents had bought – and the trumpet – as part of a wind instruments ensemble – since elementary school.

According to a post made on ZUN's Twitter around September 2009, he now has a job other than making the Touhou games; what type of job he has wasn't stated, only that on the first day of work he was an hour early. He said in his interview with MAG-Net that his fondest ambition in life is to open a brewpub.

In a February 2012 radio interview, ZUN announced that he had recently married, with the formal ceremony to be held on May 27 (the day of Reitaisai 9). It's known that his wife is a programmer and that they originally met in 2004.

Appearance

ZUN appears to always wear a flat cap. He mainly wears a green, flower-patterned ascot and a black one with a gold and red design around it. He also wears glasses. He generally gets his flat caps by looking around normal shops, flea markets or nearby events.[3]

ZUN has stated in an interview that he weighs only 50kg – roughly 110lbs, around about 7.8st. Whether this is really accurate is impossible to truly confirm, but it's clear that he's very thin. His height is 173cm (1.73 meters)[4].

Personality

ZUN appears to be a rather cheerful person, as seen in most of his interviews as he rather laughs at a lot of things. However, he can be rather quiet when talking. An example of him been quiet when talking is at the after-party of Hakurei Jinjya Reitaisai 8. He also can be nostalgic at times. He takes beer as one of his greatest passions, but for the true reason why he does and when he had his first beer is unknown. He'll feel uncomfortable if he hasn't got beer or a mobile phone near him.[5] His personal favourite beer is Kirin[3], brewed in Japan.

It is known that ZUN is a fan of music that uses FM (Frequency Modulation) Synthesis, as most of the non-MIDI music in the PC-98 games were created using FM Synthesis. He also states in a note in the Akyu's Untouched Score albums that he resents the gradual phasing out of FM Synthesis that's occurring today.

Relationship to Touhou

ZUN tends to find a lot of nostalgia towards the Touhou Project, like for example when at one point he was playing Highly Responsive to Prayers on the MAG-Net Documentary. He likes to put a lot of ideas and planning into creating Touhou games, and doesn't care if all he generally does is either working on Touhou or drinking beer.

He's stated on the comments of the theme Eternal Shrine Maiden from the same game mentioned that this song was one of the most important songs during the PC-98 era, but also stated that his favourite songs are generally his recent creations. He's also admitted that Reimu Hakurei holds a special place in his heart.[3]

Years ago, ZUN has jokingly states in an e-mail that he's been working on – and will continue to work on – the Touhou Project games since a part of him lacks common sense. However, he has stated that the actual reason why he originally made the game series and Team Shanghai Alice is because he couldn't find any games he liked himself, so he decided to make games he liked entirely by himself. In the Swedish Magazine Interview, he replies to the last question with, "I'm going to keep making games that stand out, so if all my fans disappear I'm still happy I can keep doing the games I want." Even to this day, he honestly admits that he couldn't create anything other than Touhou and still holds true to this statement[3]. Also, Taito created the game Darius Gaiden – which is one of ZUN's favorite shoot'em up games – that makes another known reason for him to start the Touhou Project.

ZUN is very proud that the fanbase for the Touhou Project is very large, where he may take a look at a few fan-made works himself. He's admitted that may get jealous depending on how much quality is put into a fan-made Touhou work, but doesn't wish to choose a favourite to keep things fair with the whole fanbase. He doesn't wish to get influenced by fan-made Touhou works, but he states that the fanbase has influenced on how he works in life.[3]

Additional Information

ZUN in the fangame Touhou Unreal Mahjong.
  • ZUN appears as a playable character in the fangame Touhou Unreal Mahjong. Due to ZUN having involvment in the game, and that the in-game image is a real photo of ZUN, its canonicity is debatable.
  • In his interview on Bohemian Archive in Japanese Red, ZUN said that he develops his games with Visual Studio, Adobe Photoshop and Cubase SX.
  • ZUN currently holds the world records for the Touhou Project as the "worlds most prolific fan-made shooter series".[6]
  • The theme song "Kid's Festival ~ Innocent Treasures" in Changeability of Strange Dream is ZUN's official theme. He has stated in Bohemian Archive in Japanese Red that writing this song was somewhat embarrassing and that "It's like the theme song that plays when you make your entrance on a talk show". This has happened twice or more when ZUN entered a talk show.
    • This theme seems to be the only one that ZUN wrote lyrics for. However, he either couldn't or didn't get anyone to sing the vocal part, so the theme was left as a non-vocal.
  • It has been theorised that ZUN might've had trouble designing male characters due to the number of female characters – such as statements like "it would be weird to have an old man as the last boss in Touhou" for Myouren Hijiri been originally the final boss of Undefined Fantastic Object – but later confirmed that he feels that "boys get in the way of the game" and that "boys would just ruin the balance of the series."[3]
  • He states that the Windows era is canon to Touhou and that the PC-98 isn't, although he admits that there's canonical connexions.[3]
  • He has mentioned in the same Swedish Magazine Interview that the company he worked for didn't like his work on the Touhou Project very much since it meant that he was working two parts.

Fandom

Not even ZUN himself is safe from derivative works.
  • As it's his title, the word "Kannushi" (神主) is often seen synonymously with "ZUN".
  • ZUN has been generally treated as a regular Touhou character with the rest of the Touhou Project characters, where he appears in fan-made fictions and games – such as Touhou Soccer Moushuuden – and fanart.
  • A figure creator called Moge Koubou made an action figure of ZUN. With his permission, it was sold at the 2009 Winter Comiket.
  • It's common for fans to jokingly state that what created Touhou and Gensokyo was beer, not ZUN.
  • In fanart and doujinshi, the unsound effect, "ZUUUU~N!", is sometimes used.
  • The trumpets heard in his music have often been referred to as "ZUNpets" (ZUNペット) by fans.
  • Because ZUN has been seen wearing this, he has been compared to Aya Shameimaru due to the similarity of their clothes. Aya has also been referred to as "ZUN's girlfriend" because of her recurring appearance in the games.

ZUN Speaks

English

Fully translated

Partially translated

Untranslated

Recovered

These videos were originally available and translated, but the uploader was forced to set them to private after several copyright claims.
They are now re-uploaded, though untranslated.

Gallery

External Links

References

  1. He is currently not employed by Taito. It was stated in Nico Nico Live (Association of Victims of Takeshi's Challenge -Come Out, Developers! Special-) broadcast on 3/31/2009.
  2. White Canvas Case: comment
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 ZUN's AWA Q&A Panel
  4. Double Dealing Character Staff roll
  5. Notes on ZUN's Genyou Denshou Lecture
  6. "Most prolific fan-made shooter series". Guinness World Records. http://web.archive.org/web/20130424041751/http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/records-8000/most-prolific-fan-made-shooter-series/. Retrieved 22 August 2011.