'Japan's Beethoven' Admits 18-Year Fraud

Mamoru Samuragochi lost hearing at age 35

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 5, 2014 11:16 AM CST

(Newser) – The success of 50-year-old composer Mamoru Samuragochi, who is deaf, has prompted the nickname "Japan's Beethoven." Trouble is, it turns out he hasn't written his own music in decades. "I started hiring (a) person to compose music for me around 1996, when I was asked to make movie music for the first time," Samuragochi told a Japanese broadcaster. He suffered from an ear condition starting at age 17, according to the Japan Times; by the age of 35, he couldn't hear at all, and claimed to rely on "absolute pitch" to compose. "I had to ask the person to help me for more than half the work," Samuragochi says.

He provided ideas to the fellow composer, who worked them into pieces. "I’ve been told that there are certain circumstances that make it hard for the person to come out in public, and Samuragochi has come to describe himself as the sole composer," his lawyer says, noting that Samuragochi is "deeply sorry." According to Japanese media, the actual composer is Takashi Niigaki, who the AFP reports released a statement saying he had worked as Samuragochi's ghostwriter for 18 years. Samuragochi achieved success with his soundtrack to the video game Resident Evil; in 2003, he had a major hit with "Hiroshima Symphony." Japanese figure skater Daisuke Takahashi is due to use a piece credited to Samuragochi during the Olympics, the BBC reports.

'Japan's Beethoven' has admitted paying another composer to write his music.
'Japan's Beethoven' has admitted paying another composer to write his music.   (Shutterstock)
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