The Pioneering Japanese Musician and Composer Ryuichi Sakamoto Has Passed Away at 71

The Pioneering Japanese Musician and Composer Ryuichi Sakamoto Has Passed Away at 71

@Photo by Kazunali Tajima – © 2014 Kab America Inc.

Musician Ryuichi Sakamoto has passed away on March 28 at the age of 71. He was born in Tokyo. The funeral was held only with his close relatives.

He passed away at a hospital in Tokyo, according to a report in the Sport Nippon newspaper. Sakamoto’s management company in Japan, Cab, also announced his death.

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He had been undergoing treatment for cancer, but on days when he was feeling well, he continued his creative activities in his home studio, and was with music until the end of his life, “Cab” said.

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He began playing the piano at the age of three and became devoted to the music of Bach when he was in the second grade of elementary school. After studying composition at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, he formed YMO with Yukihiro Takahashi and Haruomi Hosono (75) in 1978, and in 1979, their music using the then-novel synthesizer was well received overseas, leading to two successful world tours. In Japan, they became a social phenomenon as the Takenoko Tribe danced to their hit song “Raideen.

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He was also active as an actor, co-starring with British rock singer David Bowie (died in 2004 at age 69) in the movie “Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence,” which was released in 1983. She also played a kissing scene between two men, which became a hot topic of conversation.

In 1988, he became the first Japanese to win the Academy Award for Best Original Score for “The Last Emperor” (released in 1987), a film in which he also appeared and wrote the music. The film also won a Grammy Award, the highest honor in the U.S. music industry. He became the first Japanese to win two major titles in the U.S. entertainment industry.

How he worked and people around him described him as “Mr. Sakamoto isn’t a genius, but a brilliant genius, He was a hard worker.” He always carried a notepad and wrote down everything that caught his attention. When creating an album, he first decides on a concept and analyzes it thoroughly. He studies what he lacks. He was the type of person who would formulate a solid strategy, not a sensible one.

His solo piano concert, which was distributed worldwide on December 11, 2022, was his last public appearance. It was pre-recorded in mid-September of the same year. Considering his physical strength, he played a few songs a day for several days to make it into a concert. Immediately after the death of Yukihiro Takahashi (71 years old), who worked with him in “YMO” in January of this year, he posted a gray image on SNS. There was no comment, which conversely revealed his grief.

May he rest in peace. 

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