Legendary Japanese Composer Ryuichi Sakamoto Dies At 71

Japanese pioneering composer and green activist, Ryuichi Sakamoto, whose score for “The Last Emperor” scooped an Oscar and a Grammy, has died aged 71 after his second cancer diagnosis.

Having shot to fame in the 1970s with the influential Japanese group, Yellow Magic Orchestra, Sakamoto’s electronic innovations helped lay the foundations for synth-pop, house music, and hip-hop.

But he was perhaps best known for his film soundtracks, including for the World War II drama “Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence”, in which he also acted opposite his friend David Bowie as a prisoner-of-war camp commandant.

His management team announced on Sunday that he died on March 28th, and a funeral was held for close family only, at his request.

“We would like to share one of Sakamoto’s favourite quotes: ‘Ars longa, vita brevis. Art is long, life is short,” the team said in a statement.

Sakamoto, who married and divorced twice, is the father of J-pop singer Miu Sakamoto, born in 1980 to the Japanese pianist and singer, Akiko Yano.


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