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ZUN

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ZUN
Also known as Jun'ya Ōta (太田順也 (おおたじゅんや) )
ZUN
ZUN during the PlayDoujin! Meeting (2015)
Title

Hakurei Kannushi, Team Shanghai Alice Leader

Born

March 18, 1977 (1977-03-18) (age 46) Hakuba, Nagano, Japan

Location

Formerly Ebina, Kanagawa, Japan, currently unknown

Gender

Male

Notable from

Touhou Project

Circle(s)

Team Shanghai Alice

Occupation

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

Music Themes

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

Websites

Jun'ya Ōta (太田順也 Oota Jun'ya), pen-name ZUN, is the sole member of Team Shanghai Alice and is the designer, programmer, script writer, and composer of Touhou Project.

Works

Games

Made under "ZUN Soft"

Made under Team Shanghai Alice
Collaboration with Twilight Frontier

Music Soundtracks

ZUN's Music Collection
Akyu's Untouched Score
In Collaboration with Twilight Frontier

Print

Touhou Sangetsusei
Touhou Bougetsushou
Manga
Fiction
Magazines
Artbook

Games unrelated to Touhou

Works with Taito Corporation

ZUN in the credits of EXIT.

Doujin Games

Doujin Print Works

Doujin Albums

Columns & Reviews

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 this, a good amount of relevant information is known about him.

Name

ZUN's real name was first shown 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 arcades, a three-character nickname was common for many players since most games had a three character limit for their leaderboards. ZUN notes that it sounds similar to the "Jun" sound in his real name.[2]

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 until June 2002. Additionally, ZUN is credited by his real name in Taito games that he contributed to. His real name is also used on official documents.[3]

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 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's signature

ZUN was born on March 18, 1977 (1977-03-18) (age 46), 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.

In an interview, ZUN claims that he started composing his own pieces of music in junior high school, and learned how to play the Electone after his parents bought him one. He also learned how to play the trumpet as part of a wind instruments ensemble in elementary school.

ZUN started working at Taito in 1998, and left in 2007 due to disappointment and a lack of interest in the job; he also no longer needed to work at Taito due to the success of Touhou Project.[2][4] In his interview with MAG-Net, ZUN says 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 held on May 27 (the day of Reitaisai 9). His wife is a game programmer who programs smartphone games.[2] They met in 2004. ZUN became a father to a boy on June 13, 2014,[5] and a girl on December 5, 2016.[6]

Appearance

ZUN appears to always wear a flat cap. He typically wears a green, flower-patterned ascot or a black one with a red and gold design lining it. He generally finds his flat caps by looking around normal shops, flea markets or nearby events.[7] He also wears glasses.

ZUN has stated in an interview that he weighs only 50kg (110lbs). It is impossible to confirm the accuracy of this measurement, but he is visually very thin.

ZUN is 173cm tall (1.73 meters).[8]

Personality

ZUN is a relatively cheerful person, as seen in most of his public appearances and interviews as he laughs very often. However, he is rather quiet when talking, demonstrated at the after-party of Hakurei Jinjya Reitaisai 8. He is nostalgic at times. He considers beer to be one of his greatest passions, but the history behind this is unknown. ZUN is often uncomfortable if he does not have a beer or a mobile phone nearby.[9] His favourite beer is Kirin[7], brewed in Japan.

ZUN is a fan of music that uses FM (Frequency Modulation) Synthesis. He composed a number of FM Synthesis tracks for the PC-98 Touhou Project games, as well as for some print work CDs. ZUN 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 has a lot of nostalgia towards Touhou Project, evident when he played Highly Responsive to Prayers in the MAG-Net documentary. He puts a lot of effort and creativity into creating Touhou games, and is content with his life even if all he generally does is either working on Touhou or drinking beer.

In the composer's comments for the theme Eternal Shrine Maiden, ZUN says that it was one of the most important tracks during the PC-98 era, but also says that his favourite songs are generally his recent creations. He has also admitted that Reimu Hakurei holds a special place in his heart.[7]

ZUN jokingly stated in an e-mail that he continues to make Touhou Project games because some part of him lacks common sense. However, he has stated that the actual reason why he made the game series and Team Shanghai Alice is because he couldn't find any games he liked himself, so he decided to make them himself. In the Swedish Magazine Interview, when asked what games he will make in the future, he says he will continue to make "games that stand out, so if all [his] fans disappear [he is] still happy [that he] can keep doing the games [he] want[s]." Even to this day, he admits that he cannot create anything other than Touhou[7].

The Taito game Darius Gaiden – which is one of ZUN's favorite shoot'em up games – is considered another known inspiration for him to create Touhou Project.

ZUN is very proud that the fanbase for Touhou Project is very large, and frequently enjoys its doujin works. He admitted that he occasionally gets jealous when a lot of effort and quality is put into a fan-made Touhou work, but refuses to choose a favourite. He initially did not want to be influenced by fan-made Touhou works, but he has stated that the fanbase has an influence on how he works.[7]

Additional Information

ZUN in the fangame Touhou Unreal Mahjong.
  • ZUN appears as a playable character in the fangame Touhou Unreal Mahjong.
  • In his interview on Bohemian Archive in Japanese Red, ZUN said that he develops his games with Visual Studio, Adobe Photoshop and Steinberg Cubase (Cubase SX 3 at the time). In more recent interviews, he has been seen using the latest version of Cubase Pro.
  • ZUN currently holds the world record for Touhou Project as the "world's most prolific fan-made shooter series".[10]
  • The track "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 it was somewhat embarrassing, calling it "the theme song that plays when you make your entrance on a talk show". This exact scenario has occured at least twice when ZUN appeared on talk shows.
    • This theme seems to be the only one that ZUN wrote lyrics for. However, he either could not or did not get anyone to sing them.
  • ZUN has trouble designing male characters due to the abundance of female characters in Touhou. In response to a question regarding male characters and the possibility of Myouren Hijiri being the original final boss of Undefined Fantastic Object, ZUN said "it would be weird to have an old man as the last boss in Touhou". He later stated that "boys get in the way of the game" and that "boys would just ruin the balance of the series."[7]
  • When asked if the PC-98 games are canon, ZUN states that the PC-98 and Windows games are set in the same world. He acknowledges that this causes contradictions, stating that the latest games are the most canon.[7]
  • In the Swedish Magazine Interview, ZUN claims that Taito did not like that he developed Touhou Project at the same time as their games.

Fandom

Not even ZUN himself is safe from derivative works.
  • As one of his titles, the word "Kannushi" (神主) is often seen synonymously with "ZUN".
  • ZUN is typically treated as a character alongside the rest of the Touhou Project characters, where he appears in doujin works – such as Touhou Soccer Moushuuden – and fanart.
  • Moge Koubou, a figurine creator, made an action figure of ZUN. With his permission, it was sold at the 2009 Winter Comiket.
  • A common joke among fans is that Touhou and Gensokyo was created by beer, rather than ZUN.
  • In fanart and doujinshi, "ZUUUU~N!" is occasionally depicted as a sound effect.
  • The Edirol SD-90's Romantic Tp (the synth trumpet heard in ZUN's music) is colloquially referred to as "ZUNpets" (ZUNペット) by fans.
  • ZUN has been compared to Aya Shameimaru after being seen wearing this shirt, which resembles the one worn by Aya in Double Spoiler.

ZUN Speaks

English

Fully translated

Partially translated

Untranslated

Dead links

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

See Also

References

  1. not an official print work but ZUN got involved
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers Interview: interview between John Szczepaniak and ZUN
  3. White Canvas Case: comment
  4. November 2012 Nikenme Radio 3D event
  5. https://twitter.com/korindo/status/477666648661319680
  6. https://twitter.com/korindo/status/206496584773537793
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 ZUN's AWA Q&A Panel
  8. Double Dealing Character Staff roll
  9. Notes on ZUN's Genyou Denshou Lecture
  10. "Most prolific fan-made shooter series". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 22 August 2011.