|Born||21 September 1963|
Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan
|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. He said throughout his career that he was deaf which led to foreign media dubbing him a "digital-age Beethoven". He was also the name credited for the video games Resident Evil: Dual Shock Ver. (1998) and Onimusha: Warlords (2001). 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.
Samuragochi was born on 21 September 1963 in Hiroshima Prefecture to parents who were both hibakusha (irradiated in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima). He started playing the piano at the age of four. He started suffering migraines while in high school, and said that, by the time he was 35, he had completely lost his hearing. 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.
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. The documentary followed him as he met survivors of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan.
Doubts about musical abilities and deafness statements
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. The interview was ultimately not published by the magazine due to doubts about Samuragochi's statements.
When Samuragochi's first symphony was performed on tour by a full orchestra, the composer Takeo Noguchi noticed that it was an adaptation of little-known works from earlier composers like Gustav Mahler, and doubted Samuragochi's story, which was sourced entirely to his record label. Noguchi's article was turned down by musical publications, as Samuragochi's record label was one of their advertising sponsors, 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). After the ghostwriting was revealed, Noguchi's article was awarded the Editors' Choice Magazine Journalism Award.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. He also added that he was "deeply ashamed of living a lie."
Following the revelation, the city of Hiroshima announced that it would be revoking the Hiroshima Citizens' Award it presented to Samuragochi in 2008. On 7 March 2014, he gave a press conference in Tokyo, appearing in public for the first time since the ghostwriting allegations arose. 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.
Previously credited works
The works below were formerly credited to Samuragochi, but were later identified as having been composed by Niigaki.
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. It was released on CD in 2011 as part of the Nippon Columbia record label's 100th anniversary celebrations.
- Remembering the Cosmos Flower / Cosmos (1997)
- Orpheus' Lyre / Sakura, Futatabi no Kanako (2013)
Video game soundtracks
- "Japanese 'Beethoven' Mamoru Samuragochi admits faking deafness". The Independent. 12 February 2014. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
- "Ghost composer Takashi Niigaki claims Japan's Beethoven Mamoru Samuragochi not even deaf". ABC News Australia. 6 February 2014. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
- "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.
- Larimer, Tim (15 September 2001). "Mamuro Samuragouchi: Songs of Silence". Time Magazine. Time Inc. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
- "'Japan's Beethoven' Samuragochi paid hearing composer to write music". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. 5 February 2014. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
- "Profile" (in Japanese). Japan: Nippon Columbia Co., Ltd. 2011. Archived from the original on 17 November 2011. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
- "Mamoru Samuragochi" (in Japanese). Japan: Nippon Columbia Co., Ltd. Archived from the original on 9 February 2013. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
- "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.
- "Resident Evil/Onimusha Co-Composer Admits His Music Was Ghostwritten". CNN. Anime News Network. 5 February 2014. Retrieved 5 February 2020.
- 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.
- Fackler, Martin (6 February 2014). "Beloved Deaf Composer in Japan Appears to Be None of the Above". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- "Japanese composer Momoru Samuragochi admits to musical fraud". CBC News. CBC. 5 February 2014. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
- "Uproar as 'Japanese Beethoven' Mamoru Samuragochi exposed as a fraud". CNN. Cable News Network. 5 February 2014. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
- "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.
- 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.
- "'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.
- 秋桜（コスモス） [Remembering the Cosmos Flower / Cosmos]. MovieWalker (in Japanese). Japan: Kadokawa Corporation. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
- "Composer Mamura Samuragochi angry at news that DVDs of film he scored to be withdrawn from sale" (in Japanese). Japan: Weekly Asahi Geinō. 25 March 2014. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
- Nippon Columbia profile (in Japanese)