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Japanese musician, actor Ryuichi Sakamoto dies of cancer at 71

38 Comments
By YURI KAGEYAMA and MARI YAMAGUCHI

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38 Comments
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Terrible news. Excellent musician. Will be greatly missed.

22 ( +22 / -0 )

Rest in Peace. Your music will never die.

19 ( +19 / -0 )

RIP Maestro.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

The statement expressed gratitude to the doctors who had treated him in the U.S. and Japan, as well as to all his fans around the world. It referenced the words Sakamoto loved: “Ars longa, vita brevis,” which refers to the longevity of art, no matter how short human life might be.

A multivalent talent. Rest in Power.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

“Life is more important than money,” he said in Japanese, then added in English, “Keeping silent after Fukushima is barbaric.”

Mr Sakamoto was well aware of how controlling the Japanese government is.

It’s a pity the average Japanese person doesn’t

-4 ( +10 / -14 )

“Life is more important than money,” he said in Japanese, then added in English, “Keeping silent after Fukushima is barbaric.”

Taken in this context he is right. He will be missed!

5 ( +7 / -2 )

A great loss, truly a musical pioneer.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

In the photo I can recognise Sakamoto and Bowie, in full Let's Dance mode, probably together because of 'Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence,' but anyone know who the others are? I feel like I should know who they are.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Very unexpected and sad news. Incredible talent.

but anyone know who the others are?

You're correct, they're all from the excellent Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence. In the white suit is director Oshima Nagisa, and in the jeans is actor Jack Thompson, who played Hicksley.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

That is sad to hear. He was in the news here just a couple of days ago in an article about his opposition to the redevelopment of Jingu. Active til the end.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

Wow! Such an amazing musician! I am speechless. Sad news.

RIP

13 ( +13 / -0 )

FILE (photo caption) - The team that created the film "Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence" is pictured in Paris, May 11, 1983. From left: Jack Thomas, producer; Ryuichi Sakamoto, musical composer; David Bowie, star, and Nagisa Oshima, director.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

MoonrakerToday  07:44 am JST

In the photo I can recognise Sakamoto and Bowie, in full Let's Dance mode, probably together because of 'Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence,' but anyone know who the others are? I feel like I should know who they are.

On the left is Australian actor Jack Thompson, and the right, the director Nagisa Oshima.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Sakamoto’s music was the soundtrack to my early years in Japan. A truly unique and beautiful composer, arranger, performer, and voice of conscience.

RIP. You will be missed, but your legacy will live on.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Sakamoto always looked West to seek and find freedom of thought in his life and deservedly won international recognition as an artist. His illness no doubt helped him to live the "examined life", supposedly counseled by Socrates: "Ars longa, vita brevis" being the Latin loosely translated for our times as "get busy living or get busy dying", a piece of advice the more materialistic Romans, as was their wont, took from the more contemplative Greeks, in this instance from the legendary physician, Hippocrates. RIP.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Truly one of the Greats of modern Japan.

Composer, musician, actor, philanthropist, social activist - he added to the very fiber of Japanese ( & international) society, more so than any other contemporary figure.

If politicians could manage to display just a miniscule of Ryuichi's humanity, then we'd live in a far better world.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Oh, silly me. It says who they are if I click on the picture. Thanks, 3RENSHO.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Love his music but not his politics.

-14 ( +2 / -16 )

The last emperor soundtrack was the only soundtrack I ever bought. Sakamoto's tracks really touched my heart.

People who aren't regular company employees are not required to have annual physicals, therefore they may not get cancer screenings and discover cancer in its early stages.

My Japanese cousin was like that. As a housewife, she never went for physicals and ended up being diagnosed with terminal intestinal cancer in her late 50s before passing away a couple of years later.

Everyone 30+ should get regular checks for cancer, especially breast cancer for women, prostate and testicular cancer for men, and 40+ stomach and intestinal cancer for both.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

We Are Born & We Live & In 1 Minute Or Less We Leave This Planet Earth We Have Been Visiting On. Our Human Bodies Were Never Made To Last Forever. Take Life 1 Minute At A Time. There Are 1440 Minutes In Every 24 Hours. The Next Minute Has Yet To Appear. Grief Is Grief & It Sux's When A Loved One Or Loving Friend Has Left Planet Earth! There Is Never Any Closure Unless They Are A Corrupt & Criminal Politician Or Criminal Business Owner Or Just A 100% Criminal To The Core! Have A Great & Positive Next Minute!

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

He, the late Yukihuro Takahashi, and Haruomi Hosono pioneered many of the modern electronic music sounds we hear nowadays when they formed Yellow Magic Orchestra around 1977. YMO's second-release album in the USA, x∞Multiples, was especially influential. You can tell Sakamoto-san was a music genius when the first song from his debut album, "Thousand Knives," had such an amazingly innovative sound. He will be truly missed.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

An elegant man.

TT

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I remember the first time I heard his music on WBLS in NYC, long before I ever came or thought about coming to Japan. It was when electronic music really started taking off with Kraftwerk at the forefront. Urban radio stations started playing "Computer Games" and it was a big hit with my crowd and still on my playlist over 40 years later. Although I don't know him, I am extremely familiar with his songs now and feel that I know him personally. Rest in peace to a master who will live on through his music.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Very sad news. In addition to being a great musician/composer, he was no mean actor either - I loved his performance of a very conflicted and intense character in Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence.

At least he can now meet up with David Bowie again. RIP

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I worked a gig with Yellow Magic Orchestra back in 1980 or so in NYC. I thought they were amazing. They gave me a copy of their record in yellow vinyl, as a gift.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Pioneer and truly talented artist. A gentleman and activist as well. Soft-spoken but highly respected. A Japanese icon who deserved to be. When I think about the best of Japanese arts, there's him, Kurosawa, and Mishima. There's more but they're giants. RIP.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

RIP - Very talented musician and his performance in Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence was top notch and when I first heard about him.

FYI - The actor on the left is Jack Thompson (not Thomas) one of our iconic actors here.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Respectful farewell to Ryuichi Sakamoto. RIP.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I remember “Energy Flow” when it came out on a tvcm in Tokyo...

His elegance and artistic expression moved me.

I’m sorry he’s gone,

he was a true artist.

Godspeed.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

What a legend RIP.

He wrote possibly the greatest example of movie music that transcended its movie and became a thing of its own. Most people who know the piece have never sat through the entire film, which incidently was shown earlier tonight on Wowow in tribute. I only noticed when it was halfway through. There aren't many movie themes that folks know without knowing the movie. Many will also not know that he wrote "Behind the Mask", which would have been on Thriller (!!!), the top selling album of all time, had they not squabbled over money. Instead it was left for Eric Clapton to make a famous version.

Lots of great solo work too. What a loss to us.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Really sorry to hear of Ryuichi Sakamoto's passing. He was an incredibly talented musician and composer who significantly impacted the music industry. His contributions will not be forgotten, and he will be dearly missed. R.I.P Ryuichi Sakamoto.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

R.I.P Ryuichi Sakamoto. Your music will live forever. Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence, The Wings of Honneamise, The Last Emperor.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ironically nuclear power could’ve saved his life. Instead Japan paradoxically increases its construction of coal plants. A country that makes so little sense.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

RIP You brought us some amazing tracks!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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