Ryuichi Sakamoto

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Ryūichi Sakamoto, 2008

Ryūichi Sakamoto ( Japanese 坂 本 龍 一 , Sakamoto Ryūichi ; born January 17, 1952 in Nakano , Tokyo ) is a Japanese composer , pianist , producer and actor .

He moves in various musical genres such as jazz , neo-classical or ( avant-garde ) pop and has composed several film scores.

Short biography

Sakamoto played in various jazz bands during his school days and studied and graduated from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music with a focus on electronic and ethnic music. In 1975 he was involved in Keizo Inoue's album Intimate . His real career began in the late 1970s, with his first solo album 1000 Knives of Ryuichi Sakamoto .

Around the same time he founded the influential Japanese electro-pop band Yellow Magic Orchestra with Haruomi Hosono and Yukihiro Takahashi , which in Asia has roughly the same status as Kraftwerk in Europe. With the piece Computer Game the band had a top 20 success in the British charts in 1979.

In the course of his career Sakamoto worked with many other important artists such as Towa Tei (ex- Deee-Lite ), Iggy Pop and David Sylvian (whose albums Brilliant Trees and Secrets of the Beehive he produced, among others) and David Byrne , with whom he Soundtrack for the film The Last Emperor recorded in 1987 (the Asian-sounding titles are from Byrne, while the "European-classical" pieces are from Sakamoto). For this soundtrack, Sakamoto received an Oscar in 1988 together with Byrne .

He also composed the score for the film Furyo - Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983), in which he also played a leading role alongside David Bowie . The title track Forbidden Colors sung by David Sylvian became a hit, while the soundtrack itself won silver in the UK . The soundtrack for the film Sky Over the Desert , which Sakamoto co-wrote with Richard Horowitz , was named Best Score at the 1991 Golden Globe Awards . In 1993 there was a collaboration with Madonna on the video for the single "Rain".

Since 2002 Sakamoto has recorded several albums together with alva noto for his label Raster-Noton , the duo toured worldwide. In 2005 he composed some ringtones and signal tones for the mobile phone model 8800 for the Finnish mobile phone manufacturer Nokia .

At the end of June 2014 he was diagnosed with oropharynx cancer, which resulted in the cancellation of all of his current projects. In 2015, he announced that he was in good shape and thinking about getting back to work.

The director Stephen Nomura Schible accompanied Sakamoto with the camera for five years and produced the film portrait "Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda " about his search for new musical impulses.

In 2018 he was appointed to the competition jury of the 68th Berlin International Film Festival .

Social Commitment

Sakamoto is one of the prominent supporters of the Sayōnara Genpatsu Senmannin Akushon campaign (“Bye bye nuclear power - 10,000,000 people”), which calls for demonstrations and a collection of signatures for Japan to phase out nuclear power after the Fukushima nuclear disaster .

In July 2011 Sakamoto participated in the essay volume Datsugenpatsu-shakai wo tsukuru 30nin no teigen ("Thirty arguments for a nuclear-free society"), which was edited by several Japanese writers, including Ikezawa Natsuki . In it, Sakamoto criticizes the entanglement of state and political bodies with media and science companies, which he uses the term den-kan-sei-gaku-hô- "Pentagon" (電 官 政 学報 の 「ペ ン タ ゴ ン」).

In 2012 Sakamoto organized a benefit concert for the victims of the triple disaster, the proceeds of which went to the “Goodbye nuclear power” campaign. At the concert, which was also broadcast on television and in his own radio show, Japanese artists such as Asian Kung-Fu Generation and the German band Kraftwerk performed . Japanese artists are controversial about the public positioning against nuclear power and the state's energy policy, be it out of fear of repression or loss of image, as reported by the actor and anti-nuclear activist Yamamoto Taro , or for other personal reasons. In this context, it should be noted that Sakamoto has more ideal and monetary leeway for large-format public anti-nuclear power campaigns thanks to his position as an international music star, established for decades, and his double residence in New York and Japan.

In August 2015, Sakamoto also took part in protests against the introduction of a new security law for the collective self-defense of Japan by Prime Minister Shinzō Abe , which was criticized as unconstitutional from the start but has been implemented since 2016. With his speech at the demonstration, Sakamoto supported the student initiative “Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy” (SEALDs) and its founder Okuda Aki .

Discography (selection)

  • 1980: B-2 Unit (with Andy Partridge )
  • 1981: Left Handed Dream
  • 1984: Illustrated Musical Encyclopedia (with Thomas Dolby )
  • 1987: Neo Geo (with Iggy Pop )
  • 1989: Beauty
  • 1993: Gruppo Musicale II (including "Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence" - piano version)
  • 1994: Sweet Revenge
  • 1997: The Hollywood Sound
  • 1998: Discord
  • 2000: Back To The Basics
  • 2000: Cinemage
  • 2002: Casa
  • 2002: Vrioon (with alva noto )
  • 2003: A Day In New York
  • 2003: Mototronic
  • 2004: Chasm
  • 2005: Insen (with alva noto)
  • 2005: Revep EP (with alva noto)
  • 2005: Sala Santa Cecilia EP (with Fennesz )
  • 2007: Cendre (with Fennesz )
  • 2009: Playing the Piano
  • 2011: Flumina (with Fennesz )
  • 2012: Three (with Jaques Morelenbaum and Judy Kang )
  • 2017: Async
  • 2017: Async - Remodels

Filmography (selection)

Web links

Commons : Ryūichi Sakamoto  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Music Sales Awards: UK
  2. Jun Hongo: Ryuichi Sakamoto Diagnosed with Throat Cancer . The Wall Street Journal July 10, 2014. Retrieved March 17, 2017.
  3. site Sakamoto. In: www.sitesakamoto.com. Retrieved October 5, 2016 .
  4. New in the cinema: "Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda" - A portrait of a legendary composer . In: Deutschlandfunk Kultur . ( deutschlandfunkkultur.de [accessed on July 14, 2018]).
  5. Film about Ryuichi Sakamoto - Portrait of a Modest Giant . In: Deutschlandfunk . ( deutschlandfunk.de [accessed on July 14, 2018]).
  6. 呼 び か け さ よ う な ら 原 発 1000 万人 ア ク シ ョ ン (with English and Spanish translations) Retrieved October 13, 2012
  7. a b One year after Fukushima: Reactions of the Japanese literary scene to the triple catastrophe, in: Textinitiative Fukushima, February 24, 2012
  8. System of irresponsibility: descriptive, in: Textinitiative Fukushima, August 29, 2011
  9. Noriko Manabe: The No Nukes 2012 Concert and the Role of Musicians in the Anti-Nuclear Movement , in: The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, July 9, 2012, Volume 10, Issue 29, Number 2
  10. Noriko Manabe: Music in Japanese Antinuclear Demonstrations: The Evolution of a Contentious Performance Model , in: The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, October 18, 2013, Volume 11, Issue 42, Number 3
  11. Noriko Manabe: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. Protest Music After Fukushima . Oxford University Press, Oxford 2016.
  12. Jan Knüsel: Japan is redefining itself , in: Asienspiegel, May 16, 2015
  13. Demonstration against Abe's politics / 安 保 法案 反 対 デ モ / SEALDs , in: Textinitiative Fukushima, September 2, 2015