Ryuichi Sakamoto, who won an Oscar for “The Last Emperor” in 1987 and wrote the haunting music for “Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence,” has di#d at the age of 71.
The people in charge of him said that he di#d on March 28. In the past few years, he had been treated for cancer. “We would like to share one of Sakamoto’s favorite quotes: ‘Ars longa, vita brevis.’ Art is long, life is short,” a statement said.
DNA testing on Beethoven’s hair shows that he had health problems and also reveals a family secret. The composer was born in 1952 in Tokyo, Japan. When he was young, he liked The Beatles and classical artists like Bach.
He helped start the influential electronic band Yellow Magic Orchestra in 1978 and played the keyboard with them. The group went on to become famous all over the world. Many people think that their experimental use of synthesizers helped create genres like house and techno.
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But Sakamoto was best known for his music for movies and TV shows, for which he won many awards.
In the 1983 movie “Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence,” wrote the score and acted alongside David Bowie. Four years later, his score for “The Last Emperor” won him a Golden Globe and an Oscar for best music.
He kept working until the end of his life, including on the score for the 2015 movie “The Revenant.” On May 5, the director of “The Revenant,” Alejandro González Iárritu, will release an album of music by the composer.
Sakamoto was known for his activism outside of music. He was especially known for his anti-nuclear views, which led him to protest nuclear power plants and help organize a “No Nukes” concert in 2012. He also worked hard to get rid of a Japanese law that made it illegal to dance after midnight or 1 a.m. in bars, clubs, and other places open to the public.
After his de@th was announced, there were a lot of tributes on social media from people in the arts and outside of them. Haruka Abe, a Japanese actor, wrote on Twitter that his music “will live on forever,” and Frederick Joseph, an American author, said that it was “the score of many of my life moments.”
Sakamoto has worked with DJ and producer Tokimonsta before, and Tokimonsta posted a letter calling Sakamoto “one of the most forward-thinking, nurturing, and supportive artists of his generation.”
His management team said that a funeral service was held with his close family members, which was what Sakamoto had wanted.