It was the summer of 2006 and I was fresh out of college. I was gifted my very own Playstation 2 as my first console, and one of the first games I bought was Okami.
There are many aspects of Okami that fans adore, and one of them is its massive soundtrack. The original soundtrack was released exclusively in Japan in 2005 on a set of 5 CDs and contained an exhaustive 218 tracks. Others have written about the soundtrack of Okami before, and I'll share links to those other articles at the end of this entry if you want to read more.
Masami Ueda (113 song +1 collaboration)
Hiroshi Yamaguchi (63 songs + 1 collaboration)
Rei Kondoh (35 songs)
Akari Groves (3 songs)
If you want to see which composer is responsible for your favorite tracks, you can see the breakdown here on this wiki page. This is also where I found most of the release information about the game's music.
Arranged & Performed by:
Okami Classics Soundtrack
43 tracks (24 from Original; 1 from Piano)
Released with the Japanese Wii version of the game
Okami: Tone of the Quintuple
12 original instrumental versions of Original tracks
Played on 5 instruments: shamisen, cello, violin, piano, shakuhachi
Masami Ueda was the lead composer for Okami. He was originally employed by Capcom from 1995 until 2004 when he joined Clover Studios, who produced Okami. In 2007 he moved on to PlatinumGames, and just last year in 2018 he left them to become a freelance composer. Aside from Okami, he has also composed music for Resident Evil games, Bayonetta games, and Super Smash Brothers Ultimate. In the Okami OST, Masami's contributions are present heavily in the prologue and starting areas, such as 'Kamiki Village' and 'Cursed Shinshu Fields.'
Hiroshi Yamaguchi started his video game composition work with Okami when he joined Clover Studios in 2004. He moved to Seeds in 2006. Like Masami, he joined PlatinumGames in 2007 and remains there. He was the lead composer for Bayonetta and The Wonderful 101. Star Fox and Super Smash Brothers Ultimate are also in his repertoire. Hiroshi's contributions to the Okami OST include some of the more whimsical pieces such as when you fill in a constellation, the theme for when you have to move on from a person or place called 'Time of Parting,' or the well-loved track 'Cherry Blossom Storm.'
Rei Kondoh is, according to the Nintendo fandom website, a prolific composer and sound designer. He is part of T's Music, which is a group of Japanese composers and sound designers who work on audio for electronic video games. He has also composed for TV and cinema, as well as produced his own CD albums. Rei's contributions to the Okami OST are significantly less than the previous two, but are notably some of the more mystical-sounding tracks, including 'Inside the Water Dragon' (which is my favorite track in the whole game), a very iconic 'The Sun Rises,' and 'Ezofuji Wawku Shrine.'
Akari Kaida Groves only had four track contributions to the Okami OST, but it would be a crime not to credit her. She began composing at Capcom in 1994 and has a lengthy list of track credits in various games such as Street Fighter Alpha, several Mega Man games, and Super Smash Brothers for Wii U. She became a freelance composer in 2005, but often still does work on Capcom projects. Of the tracks she contributed for Okami, the most impressionable one is 'A Great Spirit Lies In Wait' which plays before a huge boss fight and does a phenomenal job of building up the tension beforehand.
Ayaka Hirahara sings 'Reset' which was used as the ending song of Okami, and of which Hiroshi Yamaguchi made an orchestral version called 'Reset - Thank You Version.' She is a Japanese pop singer who comes from a family of musicians. She is currently studying in the Faculty of Jazz and majoring in saxophone at Senzoku Gakuen College of Music. You might also recognize her singing from the Spirited Away OST, as she sings Joe Hisaishi's 'The Name of Life.'
Mika Matsura is the musician who arranged and performed all of the tracks on the Piano album. Finding information about this individual seems to come up empty, but I did find a website with transcriptions of the piano pieces (and several other video game music pieces) if you are a musician who loves Okami.
The Instruments Used
Aside from the common instruments most of us Westerners are familiar with, the composers for Okami made use of some traditional Japanese instruments to give the game a more authentic feel as it takes place in Nippon (Japan).
here's the Wikipedia link.
The shakuhachi is a Japanese bamboo flute resembling a recorder, but played much differently. Rather than being played like a recorder, the player blows across the top as if it was an empty bottle. This means there is a lot of variation in tonal quality and sound that the player can create using breath control, embouchure and the covering or partial covering of the five holes. Like the above instrument, you can find more information here on the Wikipedia page.