TT Epaper
The Telegraph
Graphiti
 
CIMA Gallary

Japan deaf composer is neither

Tokyo, Feb. 7: He was celebrated as a prolific musical genius whose compositions appeared in popular video games and the competition routine of a top figure skater in the coming Sochi Olympics.

His deafness won him praise as Japan’s modern-day Beethoven. It turns out his magnum opus was his own masquerade.

Yesterday, Japan learned that one of its most popular musical figures, Mamoru Samuragochi, 50, had staged an elaborate hoax in which someone else had secretly written his most famous compositions, and that he had perhaps even faked his hearing disability.

Across a nation long captivated by western classical music, people reacted with remorse, outrage and even the rare threat of a lawsuit after Samuragochi’s revelations that he had hired a ghostwriter since the 1990s to compose most of his music.

The anger turned to disbelief when the ghostwriter himself came forward to accuse Samuragochi of faking his deafness, apparently to win public sympathy and shape the Beethoven persona.

The scandal began on Wednesday, when Samuragochi publicly confessed that someone else had written his most famous works. These include Symphony No. 1 “Hiroshima”, about the 1945 atomic bombing of his home city, which became a classical music hit in Japan; the theme music for the video games Resident Evil and Onimusha; and Sonatina for Violin, which the Japanese Olympic figure skater Daisuke Takahashi is scheduled to use in his performance in Sochi.

The timing could hardly have been worse for Takahashi, a potential medalist who won the bronze in the Vancouver Olympics four years ago. He said in a statement that he would continue to skate to the musical piece.

 
 
" "