Pioneering composer Ryuichi Sakamoto passes away

Ryuichi Sakamoto has passed away. The pioneering Japanese composer was 71 years old. The news of his death was announced on April 2nd, and it was revealed that he had died on March 28th. 

Sakamoto was known for his work as the keyboardist for Yellow Magic Orchestra, as well as his solo endeavors. He began writing music at the age of 10 and was inspired by the Beatles and Debussy. In 1978, he formed Yellow Magic Orchestra with Haruomi Hosono and Yukihiro Takahashi. The band’s synth-filled futuristic music proved highly influential, and soon became known as the genre City Pop.

Sakamoto’s individual works included the seminal track Riot in Lagos, which became influential in contemporary electro sounds and for hip-hop producers. He also created the music score for the 1987 film The Last Emperor, winning both an Oscar and a Grammy for his work. Following the 2011 Fukushima disaster, Sakamoto became involved in the anti-nuclear power activist movement, reflecting his interest in environmental and peace issues.

In June 2022, Sakamoto announced that he had been battling stage 4 cancer, but he released his latest album 12 earlier this year. Despite his illness, he continued to make music and inspire others.