Ryuichi Sakamoto performs “possibly last” concert amid ongoing cancer battle

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Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto has performed four live-streamed concerts, which he admits “could be his last” due to his ongoing battle with cancer.

Previously in 2014, he was diagnosed with throat cancer which went into remission after six years. But last year the electronic pioneer shared his bowel cancer diagnosis.

The 70-year-old hosted four solo performances titled, ‘Ryuichi Sakamoto: Playing the Piano 2022’ this week.

The stream was watched by people from around 30 different countries and regions from Japan to Europe and included 13 compositions including ‘Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence’, ‘Tong Poo’ and ‘The Wuthering Heights’.

In a statement released via his website it reads: “My strength has really fallen, so a normal concert of about an hour to ninety minutes would be very difficult.”

He concludes: “As a result, I’ve recorded it song by song and edited it together so it can be presented as a regular concert – which I believe can be pleasureable in the normal way. Enjoy.”

According to Reuters, earlier this year Sakamoto released an essay speaking about his stage 4 cancer.

It read: “I have just turned 70, but how many more times will I be able to see the full moon?” he wrote. “But even thinking that, since I have been granted life, I am praying that I will be able to make music until my last moments, just like my beloved Bach and Debussy.”

Sakamoto best known for scoring, and acting in, Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1987 epic The Last Emperor as well as producing the scores for Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983), The Sheltering Sky (1990), Babel (2006) and The Revenant (2015).

Last month, the Academy-award-winning composer announced a new solo album ‘12’.

The forthcoming release will be out on January 17 – Sakamoto’s 71st birthday – and was recorded in Tokyo through 2021 and 2022.

Watch a teaser for his upcoming album below.

Becky Buckle is Mixmag’s Video and Editorial Assistant, follow her on Twitter

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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