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Seminal Japanese composer and electronic pioneer Ryuichi Sakamoto has died aged 71.
Sakamoto’s death was announced today (April 2), with the news being shared that he died on March 28.
Alongside his individual endeavours, Sakamoto was keyboardist of the legendary band Yellow Magic Orchestra, known as YMO.
Fascinated by the Beatles and Debussy, Sakamoto started writing music at age 10. In 1978 he formed YMO with Haruomi Hosono and and the late Yukihiro Takahashi, the band renowned for their synth-filled futuristic music which soon became defined as City Pop.
His individual works included the seminal track ‘Riot in Lagos’. The track became hugely influential on contemporary electro sounds and for hip-hop producers alike.
He featured in 1983 film Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, later winning an Oscar and GRAMMY for creating the music score for 1987’s The Last Emperor.
In the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster, Sakamoto was actively involved in the anti-nuclear power activist movement, following his interest in environmental and peace issues.
In June 2022, Sakamoto revealed that he had been fighting stage 4 cancer. Not to be beaten, he released latest album ‘12’ earlier this year.
Since the announcements, social media has been filled with tributes, read a selection below:
RIP Ryuichi Sakamoto
you taught me perhaps the greatest of all lessons:
“every mistake is a gift.”
— maryanne hobbs (@maryannehobbs) April 2, 2023
Written by: Tim Hopkins