Japanese Musician Ryuichi Sakamoto, Who Wrote The Last Emperor Soundtrack, Has Cancer

Ryuichi Sakamoto. Source: Supplied

Avant-garde musician, film score composer, pianist and actor Ryuichi Sakamoto, who won an Academy, Golden Globe and Grammy Awards for his score to the 1987 film The Last Emperor, has been withdraw from performing to treat throat cancer.

Sakamoto, 62, emerged in the late 1970s with the electronica group Yellow Magic Orchestra and was a pioneer of techno and acid house in the ’90s, as well as writing music for video games and anime films, plus ring tones for Nokia.

But he’s probably best know to western audiences for Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence, his debut as both a film score composer and actor, which included the hit ‘Forbidden Colours’, sung by David Sylvian. Sakamoto played Captain Yonoi, alongside David Bowie, in the film.

His film credits include a who’s who of international directors, from Pedro Almodóvar to Bernardo Bertolucci (he won a second Grammy for The Sheltering Sky), Oliver Stone and Brian De Palma.

Sakamoto wrote the opening ceremony score for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

Sakamoto posted a note on his website last week telling his fans that he was diagnosed with the cancer in June and has decided to take time off to recover. “The first wealth is health, and hence this bitter decision,” he wrote.

It’s a major personal blow, after two “painstaking” years of work to curate the inaugural Sapporo International Art Festival , which begins this weekend, and the musician apologised to all involved.

“Although I will be absent, all of the programs will be of highest quality—this I promise. I would like nothing more than for everyone to enjoy the festival in my place,” he wrote.

He’s also been forced to cancel a July 30 concert to celebrate the Park Hyatt Tokyo’s 20th anniversary.

“Lastly, I would like to apologize for all of the burden I will undoubtedly be casting upon everyone who has been working with me on various other projects. Please bare with me while I regain my health. I promise to return after a full recovery,” Sakamoto says.

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