Japan's Beethoven "Lived A Life Of Deception": What Next For The Disgraced Composer?

The composer praised as Japan's Beethoven, Mamoru Samuragochi, has acknowledged that the loss of hearing that brought him comparisons to the German pianist was partly made up, in a recent apology. Not only did Samuragochi, who is best known for his Symphony No. 1: Hiroshima, regain his hearing several years ago, but he also used a ghostwriter for nearly twenty years and admitted that his career was a publicity stunt.

The scandal erupted last week when Takashi Niigaki stepped forward to allege that he had been a ghost composer for Samuragochi for 18 years and had felt compelled to break his silence after learning that figure skater Daisuke Takahashi was planning to use the Samuragochi arrangement Sonatina for Violin at the Sochi Games, according to the AP.

The 50 year-old composer handwrote a letter, which has been translated by the WSJ, which says "I have taken up my pen to apologize deeply for what I have done. [...] I just could not bring myself to tell the truth, even to my lawyer, which is why it took time for me to make this decision."

"I am now deeply ashamed that I have lived a life of deception," writes Samuragochi, adding "I would like to apologize to Mr. Niigaki, whose life was skewed because of the 18 years during which he met my demands."

Mamoru claims that he was deaf until about three years ago when his hearing began to improve but he didn't tell anyone, including his wife. He said that his wife knew about his contact with Niigaki but was told that the professor was teaching Samuragochi, who has no formal training in music, the modern methods of composing.

He also said that he would agree to divorce his wife if that is what she wishes. "It cannot be helped if people view what I have done as a publicity stunt to get attention," he said, admitting "There is no doubt that this was part of my motivation."

Listen To Mamoru Samuragochi's 'Symphony No.1 "Hiroshima"':

The classical musician became known for his inspirational composing despite losing his hearing and he said he relied on his "absolute pitch" to guide him. The Beethoven comparisons were drawn because the German composer Ludwig van Beethoven suffered from hearing loss before he became completely deaf.

Observers have speculated that Samuragochi's media spotlight and worldwide success was dur to the need to put a human face to classical music, which has seen shrinking popularity in recent years, and also the wildfire-like spread of a sensationalist and headline-grabbing story, especially the mystique that it brought.

It's unclear what will happen to the disgraced composer or the music that he claimed to have written. He says that he intends "in the near future to come forward in public and apologize" but it is assumed that he will step out of the public eye to resume his more personal issues in peace.

With regards to his music, which also includes the soundtrack for a Resident Evil video game, Samuragochi notes "If it hadn't been for me, the music that I had Mr. Niigaki compose would surely live on in future generations. I now would like for this music to be given a full hearing so that the damage to those around me might be minimized."


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