Japanese musician Ryuichi Sakamoto battles stage IV cancer


Japanese musician and songwriter Ryuichi Sakamoto revealed he was battling stage IV cancer in a monthly magazine published on Tuesday.

Sakamoto went public with the diagnosis of throat cancer in 2014 and rectal cancer in 2021. But the 70-year-old Oscar and Grammy-winning pianist had made no announcement on the progress of his cancer.

Stage IV means the cancer has spread to other organs or parts of the body and the patient’s prognosis is poor.

Ryuichi Sakamoto. (Kyodo)

Sakamoto discussed his cancer diagnosis and how he coped in detail in an article titled “Living with Cancer” printed by the literary magazine “Shincho.”

In it, he revealed that he underwent surgery last October and December to remove cancer that had spread to both lungs.

The article is the first in a new series of articles titled “How Many More Times Will I See the Full Moon?” the musician plans to write in the magazine, mainly about his musical activities since 2009 and his opinions on life and death.

Sakamoto released a statement on the launch of the series. He said there: “Since I got there in life, I hope to be able to make music until my last moment, like Bach and Debussy whom I adore.”

The Tokyo native is also a member of the electronic music group Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO). He won an Oscar and a Grammy for the music for the 1987 film “The Last Emperor”. Interested in environmental and peace issues, he has been actively involved in the anti-nuclear movement in recent years.


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