World-renowned Japanese musician and composer Sakamoto Ryuichi has passed away on March 28. He was 71 years old.
Sakamoto overcame throat cancer after being diagnosed in 2014; however, he was diagnosed with rectal cancer in June of 2020. Although he underwent multiple operations, his cancer had spread and had been undergoing treatment.
Despite his battle with cancer, Sakamoto released an original album titled "12" on his 71st birthday in January, truly living his final days with music. His last stage was his solo online piano concert 'Ryuichi Sakamoto: Playing the Piano 2022' which was streamed last December.
In accordance with Sakamoto's wishes, his funeral has already been held with close family. His label commmons released an obituary statement with Sakamoto's favorite passage, "Ars longa, vita brevis" ("art is long, life is short"), a Latin translation of a part of a quotation by Greek physician Hippocrates.
Sakamoto, nicknamed "Professor," started his activities as a studio musician while studying at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. He made his debut as a solo artist with the album "Sen no Knife" in 1978. During that time, he formed Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO) with Hosono Haruomi and Takahashi Yukihiro becoming an innovator of electronic pop. In addition to his own music, he also composed music for various works including 'Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence,' 'The Last Samurai,' and 'Wuthering Heights.' He is in charge of the music for the upcoming film 'Kaibutsu' (June 2 release) directed by Koreeda Hirokazu and written by Sakamoto Yuji.
Sakamoto was also proactive in social issues supporting mine-clearing operations and speaking out against nuclear power. This March, he wrote a letter to Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko opposing the redevelopment of the Meiji Jingu Gaien area in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward.
Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family and friends during this difficult time. May he rest in peace.