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Last Emperor/Honneamise Composer Ryuichi Sakamoto Diagnosed With Cancer

posted on by Egan Loo
Yellow Magic Orchestra co-founder to halt performances to treat mesopharyngeal carcinoma

62-year-old world-renowned composer Ryuichi Sakamoto is completely suspending his musical performances, so he can devote himself to the treatment of mesopharyngeal carcinoma in New York. His record company Avex made the announcement on Thursday.

The New York resident began feeling something unusual in his throat and underwent an examination in early June. He was diagnosed with mesopharyngeal carcinoma in early July. The pharynx runs from the nasal passage to the esophagus, and it conducts both food and air.

Pharyngeal carcinoma has been deeply linked with cigarette smoking, and Sakamoto had been a long-time habitual smoker. However, he previously revealed that he had begun feeling chest pains, and so he successfully quit smoking nine years ago through acupuncture. Since then, he has not smoked one cigarette.

Sakamoto was to serve as guest director for the Sapporo International Art Festival (July 19-September 28), but he will not be able to contribute or hold the performance that was scheduled there for September 27. He also will not be able to perform the special live concert scheduled for July 30 in Tokyo, or the rest of his schedule this year. The canceled performances include both Japanese and overseas events. However, he is likely to continue composing in bed.

Sakamoto was born on January 17, 1952 in Tokyo. He graduated from the Tokyo University of the Arts and founded the pivotal electropop musical trio YMO (Yellow Magic Orchestra) with Haruomi Hosono and Yukihiro Takahashi in 1978. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score and the Grammy Award for The Last Emperor film in 1988. Sakamoto composed the soundtracks of The Wings of Honneamise, the Appleseed anime movies, and Le Chevalier D'Eon.

He received the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from France's Ministry of Culture in 2009, and served as a judge in the Venice Film Festival last year. His father was the late Kazuki Sakamoto, the editor for such well-known authors as Yukio Mishima and Hiroshi Noma.

Sources: Sports Nippon via Hachima Kikō, Asahi Shimbun

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