[UPDATED] Composer Sakamoto has cancer, cancels engagements via Japan Times

Globally acclaimed composer and musician Ryuichi Sakamoto said Thursday he is suffering from cancer and is canceling all professional commitments to focus on treatment.

In a written statement, the New York-based Sakamoto, 62, said he had noticed an unusual feeling in his throat in early June and was diagnosed with pharyngeal cancer.


Sakamoto is reportedly shunning radiation therapy because of his strong anti-nuclear feelings, according to the tabloid Sports Nippon, which broke the story.

But Avex Group Holdings, Sakamoto’s management agency, declined to confirm this, saying it knows little about his treatment. It also refused to elaborate on how much the cancer has advanced.

A person claiming to be Sakamoto’s manager took to Twitter to slam the tabloid article as “sloppy,” although it was unclear which part he was criticizing.

Sakamoto himself replied in an apparent tweet: “I wonder if there is anybody who would actually believe that sort of tabloid report.”


Sakamoto is best known as one of the original members of Yellow Magic Orchestra, the pioneering electronic music band established in 1978, and has won numerous awards. The graduate of Tokyo University of the Arts is also a steadfast opponent of nuclear power and an avid environmentalist and pacifist. When the Fukushima disaster began to unfold in March 2011, he took part in rallies to denounce nuclear science as a threat to human livelihood.

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