Oscar-winning musician and songwriter Ryuichi Sakamoto battles stage 4 cancer

Japanese musician and songwriter Ryuichi Sakamoto has revealed he recently underwent surgery to treat cancer that had spread to both of his lungs.

Sakamoto detailed his diagnosis in an article titled “Living with Cancer”, published Tuesday by the monthly literary magazine “Shincho”.

Throughout a career that spans decades, Sakamoto has refused to limit himself to a single sonic aesthetic.

As keyboardist of the Yellow Magic Orchestra, Sakamoto pioneered the use of synthesizers to create an eclectic groove, which would inspire the electropop boom of the 80s. The band’s music also had a satirical edge, using chords with exotic sounds to poke fun at notions of “Asianism” through Western eyes.

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As a film composer, his music took an introspective turn. Having cited Claude Debussy as one of his greatest influences, Sakamoto’s pieces exude a deeply expressive and ethereal quality reminiscent of the soundscapes of French Impressionism.

Sakamoto’s most famous themes and melodies appear in the soundtrack to the 1987 film, “The Last Emperor”, which won him the Oscar for Best Original Score.

Even now, at age 70, Sakamoto is committed to continuing his artistic endeavors.

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“Since I came to this point in life, I hope to be able to make music until my last moment,” Sakamoto said.

Characteristic image via Ryuichi Sakamoto

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