Mamoru Samuragochi

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Mamoru Samuragochi
Native name 佐村河内 守
Born (1963-09-21) 21 September 1963 (age 54)
Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan
Labels Nippon Columbia
Associated acts Takashi Niigaki

Mamoru Samuragochi (佐村河内 守, Samuragōchi Mamoru, born 21 September 1963) is a Japanese composer from Hiroshima Prefecture who falsely stated that he was totally deaf.[1] He was the name credited for the video games Resident Evil: Dual Shock Ver. and Onimusha: Warlords.[2][3] He said throughout his career that he was deaf which led to foreign media dubbing him a "digital-age Beethoven".[4] In February 2014, it was revealed that most of the work attributed to him over the previous 18 years had been written by Takashi Niigaki.[5]

Biography[edit]

Samuragochi was born on 21 September 1963[6] in Hiroshima Prefecture to parents who were both hibakusha (irradiated in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima).[7] He started playing the piano at the age of four.[7] He started suffering migraines while in high school, and said that, by the time he was 35, he had completely lost his hearing.[8] After graduating from high school, Samuragochi did not attend university or music school, due to his dislike of modern composition methods, and he instead taught himself how to compose.[7]

On 31 March 2013, Samuragochi was the subject of a 50-minute Japanese TV documentary titled Melody of the Soul: The Composer Who Lost His Hearing (魂の旋律 ~音を失った作曲家~, Tamashii no Senritsu: Oto o Ushinatta Sakkyokuka) and broadcast by NHK.[9] The documentary followed him as he met survivors of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan.[10]

Doubts about musical abilities and deafness statements[edit]

In June 2013, a reporter from the magazine Aera interviewed Samuragochi at his apartment in Yokohama, but noticed a number of inconsistencies in Samuragochi's deafness statements, including his ability to respond to questions before the sign-language interpreter had finished, and standing up to answer a doorbell when it rang.[11] The interview was ultimately not published by the magazine due to doubts about Samuragochi's statements.[11]

When Samuragochi's first symphony was performed on tour by a full orchestra, the composer Takeo Noguchi noticed that it was an adaption of little-known works from earlier composers like Gustav Mahler, and doubted Samuragochi's story, which was sourced entirely to his record label.[12] Noguchi's article was turned down by musical publications, as Samuragochi's record label was one of their advertising sponsors,[13] and instead was published in the November 2013 issue of the newsweekly Shincho 45, as "The deaf genius composer" - Is Mamoru Samuragochi genuine? (「全聾の天才作曲家」佐村河内守は本物か).[12] After the ghostwriting was revealed, Noguchi's article was awarded the Editors' Choice Magazine Journalism Award.

Ghostwriting admission[edit]

On 5 February 2014, it was publicly revealed that music attributed to Samuragochi since 1996 had actually been ghostwritten by Takashi Niigaki, a musician, composer, and part-time lecturer at the Toho Gakuen School of Music in Tokyo.[14][15] Niigaki also said Samuragochi was not deaf and states that Samuragochi has normal hearing and was posing as a deaf man to generate a mystique around his image as a composer.[4] Niigaki also said that Samuragochi did not need to use his cane, and that most of his biography printed in album liner notes was fiction.[4][10] Niigaki went to the press because one of Samuragochi's "compositions" would be used by Japanese figure skater Daisuke Takahashi, at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.[10] On 12 February 2014, Samuragochi released a handwritten statement in which he revealed that he had a Grade 2 physical disability certificate after losing his hearing and to have partially regained his hearing three years previously.[16] He also added that he was "deeply ashamed of living a lie."[16]

Following the revelation, the city of Hiroshima announced that it would be revoking the Hiroshima Citizens' Award it presented to Samuragochi in 2008.[17] On 7 March 2014, he gave a press conference in Tokyo, appearing in public for the first time since the ghostwriting allegations arose.[18] He admitted that while his hearing was impaired, it did not meet the legal requirements for deafness, and that he had returned his disability certificate.[18]

Previously credited works[edit]

The works below were formerly credited to Samuragochi, but were later identified as having been composed by Niigaki.

  • No. 1 symphony "Hiroshima" (2003)[8]
  • Sonatina for Violin[2]

Completed in 2003, "Hiroshima" was first played at a concert held to commemorate the meeting of the Group of Eight leaders in Hiroshima in 2008.[8] It was released on CD in 2011 as part of the Nippon Columbia record label's 100th anniversary celebrations.[8]

Movie soundtracks[edit]

Video game soundtracks[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Japanese 'Beethoven' Mamoru Samuragochi admits faking deafness". The Independent. 12 February 2014. Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Noted deaf composer admits his music was ghostwritten". The Japan Times. Japan. Kyodo. 6 February 2014. p. 1. Archived from the original on 7 February 2014. Retrieved 7 February 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c Larimer, Tim (15 September 2001). "Mamuro Samuragouchi: Songs of Silence". Time Magazine. Time Inc. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c "Ghost composer Takashi Niigaki claims Japan's Beethoven Mamoru Samuragochi not even deaf". ABC News Australia. 6 February 2014. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  5. ^ "'Japan's Beethoven' Samuragochi paid hearing composer to write music". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. 5 February 2014. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  6. ^ "Profile" (in Japanese). Japan: Nippon Columbia Co., Ltd. 2011. Archived from the original on 17 November 2011. Retrieved 7 February 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Mamoru Samuragochi" (in Japanese). Japan: Nippon Columbia Co., Ltd. Archived from the original on 9 February 2013. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c d "Deaf composer pens Hiroshima opus". The Japan Times. Japan. Kyodo. 9 August 2011. Archived from the original on 6 February 2014. Retrieved 7 February 2014. 
  9. ^ 魂の旋律 ~音を失った作曲家~ . NHK Special (in Japanese). Japan: Japan Broadcasting Corporation. 2013. Archived from the original on 31 October 2013. Retrieved 9 February 2014. 
  10. ^ a b c Fackler, Martin (2014-02-06). "Beloved Deaf Composer in Japan Appears to Be None of the Above". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  11. ^ a b 偽ベートーベン、インターホン聞こえてた [Fake Beethoven was able to hear a doorbell]. Nikkan Sports (in Japanese). Japan: Nikka Sports News. 10 February 2014. Retrieved 14 March 2014. 
  12. ^ a b Motoki, Masahiko (6 February 2014). 佐村河内守「やめるなら妻と一緒に自殺する」と脅し!感動話の裏の醜悪な素顔 [Mamoru Samuragochi: Threatened to commit suicide with wife]. J-Cast (in Japanese). Japan. Retrieved 12 February 2014. 
  13. ^ 専門家が「佐村河内氏の曲は“パクリ”」と酷評 [Experts criticize Samuragochi's works as plagiarism]. Tokyo Sports Web (in Japanese). Japan: Tokyo Sports. 20 February 2014. Retrieved 14 March 2014. 
  14. ^ "Japanese composer Momoru Samuragochi admits to musical fraud". CBC News. CBC. 5 February 2014. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  15. ^ "Uproar as 'Japanese Beethoven' Mamoru Samuragochi exposed as a fraud". CNN. Cable News Network. 5 February 2014. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  16. ^ a b "Apologetic 'deaf' composer Samuragochi says he regained hearing about 3 years ago". Mainichi Newspapers. 12 February 2014. Archived from the original on 12 February 2014. Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  17. ^ 裏切られた…佐村河内さんの広島市民賞取り消し [Betrayed - Samuragochi's Hiroshima Citizens' Award to be revoked]. Yomiuri Online (in Japanese). Japan: The Yomiuri Shimbun. 6 February 2014. Archived from the original on 7 February 2014. Retrieved 9 February 2014. 
  18. ^ a b "'Beethoven of Japan' apologizes for 'causing trouble with my lies'". The Asahi Shimbun Asia & Japan Watch. The Asahi Shimbun Company. 7 March 2014. Archived from the original on 7 March 2014. Retrieved 14 March 2014. 
  19. ^ 秋桜(コスモス) [Cosmos]. MovieWalker (in Japanese). Japan: Kadokawa Corporation. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 

External links[edit]