- Sept. 1, 2018
-- Morioka arranged and composed numerous hits for Japanese stars from the 1960s through the 80s, including Yuzo Kayama, Yukari Ito and Yoichi Sugawara. He also worked with rock groups such as Jackey Yoshikawa & His Blue Comets (whose Blue Chateau was a hit in the US) and the Tigers.
Morioka, who studied music composition under Ikuma Dan, was also an accomplished conductor and pianist. He performed in Suntory Hall, Orchard Hall and other venues throughout Japan, and worked in television and film, conducting his own scores for Noriko wa Ima (1981), Yamashita Shonen Monogatari (1986), and Message from Space (1978).
According to his daughter, Juri Morioka, her father's first big break came when a representative of Watanabe Productions Co. Ltd. heard him playing piano in a Tokyo nightclub. He was quickly hired to arrange the entire musical program for Fuji TV Network's The Hit Parade, hosted by popular twin singers, The Peanuts. For many years, he would work through the night on arrangements to be performed weekly on live TV by Smiley Ohara & the Skyliners--with himself on piano.
Despite the speed at which he produced arrangements, Morioka developed a signature style instantly recognizable to connoisseurs and attained legendary status for the consistently high quality and originality displayed in his work. He was himself instantly recognizable as well, having achieved celebrity status through numerous television appearances over the years.