Seminal Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto has died.
Reports came in from Japan earlier today regarding his passing, sparking a wave of tributes online. A few moments ago, the death of Ryuichi Sakamoto was confirmed over his social channels. He was 71 years old.
Ryuichi Sakamoto was first diagnosed with throat cancer in 2014. While that issue was treated effectively, he later revealed he was suffering from rectal cancer. He played his final show at the end of 2022, and kept fans informed as to his health.
A classically trained musician, his interest in outsider sounds drew Ryuichi Sakamoto to emerging electronic instruments. Blending a gifted ear for melody with stunning technical abilities, he was drawn into the orbit of Yellow Magic Orchestra.
The trio helped pioneer what would become known as City Pop, and laid down the groundwork for electronic pop music as a whole. Vastly influential, Ryuichi Sakamoto continued to build a solo catalogue, including the song ‘Riot In Lagos’ – beloved by hip-hop producers, it was a massive influence on electro.
Invited to both appear in and score Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence, the Japanese artist responded with some of his finest work. Entering a shadow career as a film composer, the narrative thrust and cinematic gleam of his projects – such as The Last Emperor or the Revenant – can scarcely be rivalled.
Alongside this, he nurtured creative relationships with a number of anime studios, and his work in this area represents yet another sterling facet to his imagination.
An artist who challenged himself to the last, Ryuichi Sakamoto’s most recent album ’12’ was released to great acclaim earlier this year.
An incredible talent, he leaves a singular catalogue of music.