Noted deaf composer admits his music was ghostwritten

Kyodo

Mamoru Samuragochi, a deaf composer of classical music and soundtracks for video games, had someone else write his pieces for more than 10 years, including his best-known score, “Hiroshima Symphony,” a lawyer representing him said Wednesday.

Samuragochi, 50, dubbed a modern Beethoven by the media because of the deafness he shares with the legendary 19th-century German composer, is also not the author of Sonatina for Violin, a piece that will accompany the short program performance of Japanese figure skater Daisuke Takahashi at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, according to the lawyer, who wished to remain completely anonymous.

“I’ve been told that there are certain circumstances that make it hard for the person (who composed the works) to come out in public, and Samuragochi has come to describe himself as the sole composer,” the lawyer said.

Samuragochi is believed to have given his ideas and images for the work he wanted to that person, who then composed the work, according to the lawyer.

Samuragochi “says it is totally inexcusable and he deeply regrets (what happened),” the lawyer said. “He is mentally distressed and not in a condition to properly express his own thoughts.”

Nippon Columbia Co., Samuragochi’s music label, will stop shipping his CDs or selling his pieces online.

Music publisher Tokyo Hustle Copy Inc. plans to cancel next Tuesday’s scheduled release of one of his musical scores.

An official with the organizer of his nationwide concert tour said: “It is difficult to continue his tour. We will make a final decision after looking into all the facts.” The tour, which started last June, was supposed run until April.

NHK apologized on a news program Wednesday for having featured Samuragochi several times without uncovering his deception.

Other commercial television stations, including Tokyo Broadcasting System and TV Asahi, also apologized Wednesday for identifying Samuragochi as the composer of past works.

According to Samuragochi’s official website and other sources, the Hiroshima native and son of atomic bomb survivors was taught the piano by his mother from age 4 and was playing Beethoven and Bach when he was 10. He is described as a self-taught composer.

He attained fame for music he created for video games, including “Biohazard” (“Resident Evil”) and “Onimusha.” He struggled with migraines and hearing impediments of unknown cause from the age of 17.

After losing his hearing completely at age 35, he reportedly continued composing by relying on his absolute pitch.

“Hiroshima Symphony,” or Symphony No. 1, which is purported to express Samuragochi’s thoughts about atomic bomb survivors, was performed at a commemorative concert for a conference of lower house speakers of parliament from the Group of Eight major economic powers held in Hiroshima in 2008.

A CD of the performance that came out in 2011 was a major hit for a work of classical music, selling more than 100,000 copies.

Samuragochi was hailed as a modern Beethoven on TV and in newspapers.

  • hudsonstewart

    Perhaps this came to light after this article was written, but the ghost writer has said that Samuragochi is in fact not deaf. The ghost writer said that Samuragochi continued to listen and give feedback to the pieces he wrote even after claiming to have gone deaf. The ghost writer also said that the reason he didn’t come forward in the past was because Samuragochi had threatened to commit suicide if he did.