Ryuichi Sakamoto in June 2007
|Native name||坂本 龍一|
January 17, 1952 |
|Genres||Contemporary classical, electronic, experimental, jazz, new wave, world, ambient|
|Occupations||musician, composer, record producer, pianist, actor|
|Labels||Columbia Music Entertainment (1978–1979)
Alfa Records (1979–1983)
Sony Music Entertainment Japan (1986–1987)
For Life Records (1994–1997)
Warner Music (1998–2006)
|Associated acts||Yellow Magic Orchestra, Akiko Yano, Chris Mosdell, Sandii, Japan, David Sylvian, Kiyoshiro Imawano, Michael Jackson, Mari Iijima, David Bowie, Youssou N'Dour, Madonna, Talvin Singh, Sketch Show|
Ryuichi Sakamoto (坂本 龍一 Sakamoto Ryūichi?, born January 17, 1952) (Japanese pronunciation: [sakamoto ɽju͍ːitɕi]) is a Japanese musician, activist, composer, record producer, writer, singer, pianist, and actor, based in Tokyo and New York. He began his career in 1978 as a member of the pioneering electronic music group Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO), where he played keyboards and was an occasional vocalist. The band was an international success, with worldwide hits such as "Computer Game / Firecracker" (1978) and "Behind the Mask" (1978), the latter written and sung by Sakamoto.
He concurrently began pursuing a solo career, debuting with the experimental electronic fusion album The Thousand Knives of Ryūichi Sakamoto (1978), and later released the pioneering album B-2 Unit (1980), which included the electro classic "Riot in Lagos". After YMO disbanded in 1983, he produced more solo records, including collaborations with various international artists, through to the 1990s.
He began acting and composing for film with Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (1983), which he starred in and composed the score for; the song "Forbidden Colours" which he composed for it became a worldwide hit, and he won a BAFTA Award for the film's score. He later won an Academy Award and Grammy Award for scoring The Last Emperor (1987), and has also won two Golden Globe Awards for his work as a film composer. In addition, he also composed music for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics opening ceremony.
In the early 1990s, he briefly reunited with YMO, playing an instrumental role in the techno and acid house movements of the era, before parting ways again shortly afterwards. His 1999 musical composition "Energy Flow", also known as the alternative title of the single disc Ura BTTB, was the first number-one instrumental single in Japan's Oricon charts history.
He has also occasionally worked on anime and video games, as a composer as well as a scenario writer. In the late 2000s, he reunited once again with YMO, while continuing to compose film music. In 2009, he was awarded the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from France's Ministry of Culture for his musical contributions.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Other work
- 3 Activism
- 4 Awards
- 5 Personal life
- 6 Discography
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Early years and Yellow Magic Orchestra
Sakamoto entered the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music in 1970, earning a B.A. in music composition and an M.A. with special emphasis on both electronic and ethnic music. He studied ethnomusicology there with the intention of becoming a researcher in the field, due to his interest in various world music traditions, particularly the Japanese (especially Okinawan), Indian and African musical traditions. He was also trained in classical music and began experimenting with the electronic music equipment available at the university, including synthesizers such as the Buchla, Moog, and ARP. One of Sakamoto's classical influences was Claude Debussy, who he described as his "hero" and stated that “Asian music heavily influenced Debussy, and Debussy heavily influenced me. So, the music goes around the world and comes full circle.”
After working as a session musician with Haruomi Hosono and Yukihiro Takahashi in 1977, the trio formed the internationally successful electronic music band Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO) in 1978. Known for their seminal influence on electronic music, the group helped pioneer electronic genres such as electropop/technopop, synthpop, cyberpunk music, ambient house, and electronica. The group's work has had a lasting influence across genres, ranging from hip hop and techno to acid house and general melodic music.
Sakamoto was the songwriter and composer for a number of the band's hit songs—including "Yellow Magic (Tong Poo)" (1978), "Technopolis" (1979), "Nice Age" (1980), "Ongaku" (1983) and "You've Got to Help Yourself" (1983)—while playing keyboards for many of their other songs, including international hits such as "Computer Game/Firecracker" (1978) and "Rydeen" (1979). He also sang on several songs, such as "Kimi ni Mune Kyun" (1983).
Sakamoto's composition "Technopolis" (1979) was credited as a contribution to the development of techno music, while the internationally successful "Behind the Mask" (1978)—a synthpop song in which he sang vocals through a vocoder—was later covered by a number of international artists, including Michael Jackson and Eric Clapton.
Sakamoto released his first solo album, Thousand Knives of Ryūichi Sakamoto, in mid-1978 with the help of Hideki Matsutake, who would later be the "fourth member" of Yellow Magic Orchestra—Hosono also contributed to the song "Thousand Knives". The album experimented with different styles, such as "Thousand Knives" and "The End of Asia"—in which electronic music was fused with traditional Japanese music—while "Grasshoppers" is a more minimalistic piano song. The album was recorded from April to July 1978 with a variety of electronic musical instruments, including various synthesizers, such as the KORG PS-3100, a polyphonic synthesizer; the Oberheim Eight-Voice; the Moog III-C; the Polymoog, the Minimoog; the Micromoog; the Korg VC-10, which is a vocoder; the KORG SQ-10, which is an analog sequencer; the Syn-Drums, an electronic drum kit; and the microprocessor-based Roland MC-8 Microcomposer, which is a music sequencer that was programmed by Matsutake and played by Sakamoto. A version of the song "Thousand Knives" was released on the Yellow Magic Orchestra's 1981 album BGM.
A sample of "Riot in Lagos" from Ryuichi Sakamoto's 1980 album B-2 Unit. This track is credited for having anticipated the beats and sounds of electro music.
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In 1980 Sakamoto released the solo album B-2 Unit, which has been referred to as his "edgiest" record and is known for the electronic song "Riot in Lagos", which is considered an early example of electro music (electro-funk), as Sakamoto anticipated the beats and sounds of electro. Early electro and hip hop artists, such as Afrika Bambaata and Kurtis Mantronik were influenced by the album—especially "Riot in Lagos"—with Mantronik citing the work as a major influence on his electro hip hop group Mantronix. "Riot in Lagos" was later included in Playgroup's compilation album Kings of Electro (2007), alongside other significant electro compositions, such as Hashim's "Al-Nafyish" (1983).
According to Dusted Magazine, Sakamoto's use of squelching bounce sounds and mechanical beats was later incorporated in early electro and hip hop music productions, such as “Message II (Survival)” (1982), by Melle Mel and Duke Bootee; “Magic’s Wand” (1982), by Whodini and Thomas Dolby; Twilight 22’s “Electric Kingdom” (1983); and Kurt Mantronik's Mantronix: The Album (1985). The 1980 release of "Riot in Lagos" was listed by The Guardian in 2011 as one of the 50 key events in the history of dance music.
Also in 1980, Sakamoto released the single "War Head/Lexington Queen", an experimental synthpop and electro record, and began a long-standing collaboration with David Sylvian, when he co-wrote and performed on the Japan track "Taking Islands In Africa". In 1982, Sakamoto worked on another collaboration with Sylvian, a single entitled "Bamboo Houses/Bamboo Music". Sakamoto's 1980 collaboration with Kiyoshiro Imawano, "Ikenai Rouge Magic", topped the Oricon singles chart.
Sakamoto released a number of solo albums during the 1980s. While primarily focused on the piano and synthesizer, this series of albums included collaborations with artists such as Sylvian, David Byrne, Thomas Dolby, Nam June Paik and Iggy Pop. Sakamoto would alternate between exploring a variety of musical styles, ideas and genres—captured most notably in his 1983 album Illustrated Musical Encyclopedia—and focusing on a specific subject or theme, such as the Italian Futurism movement in Futurista (1986). For the song "Broadway Boogie Woogie", Sakamoto liberally used samples from Ridley Scott's film Blade Runner and blended them with raucous, sax-driven techno-pop.
As his solo career began to extend outside Japan in the late 1980s, Sakamoto's explorations, influences and collaborators also developed further. Beauty (1989) features a tracklist that combines pop with traditional Japanese and Okinawan songs, as well as guest appearances by Jill Jones, Robert Wyatt, Brian Wilson and Robbie Robertson. Heartbeat (1991) and Sweet Revenge (1994) features Sakamoto's collaborations with a global range of artists such as Roddy Frame, Dee Dee Brave, Marco Prince, Arto Lindsay, Youssou N'Dour, David Sylvian and Ingrid Chavez.
In 1995 Sakamoto released Smoochy, described by the Sound On Sound website as Sakamoto's "excursion into the land of easy-listening and Latin", followed by the 1996 album, which featured a number of previously released pieces arranged for solo piano, violin and cello. Following 1996, Sakamoto composed the hour-long orchestral work "Untitled 01", released as the album Discord (1998) an divided into four parts: "Grief", "Anger", "Prayer" and "Salvation". Sakamoto collaborated primarily with guitarist David Torn and DJ Spooky—artist Laurie Anderson provides spoken word on the composition—and the recording was condensed from nine live performances of the work, recorded during a Japanese tour. Sakamoto explained in a 1998 interview:
The themes of Prayer and Salvation came out of the feelings of sadness and frustration that I expressed in the first two movements, about the fact that people are starving in the world, and we are not able to help them. People are dying, and yet the political and economical and historical situations are too complicated and inert for us to do much about it. So I got really angry with myself. I asked myself what I could do, and since there's not a lot I can do on the practical level, all that's left for me is to pray. But it's not enough just to pray; I also had to think about actually saving those people, so the last movement is called Salvation. That's the journey of the piece.
Sakamoto further explained in 1998 that he was "not religious, but maybe spiritual" and "The Prayer is to anybody or anything you want to name." Sakamoto composed the entire work in one month, during December 1996.
The Sony Classical release of Discord was sold in a jewel case that was covered by a blue-colored slipcase made of foil, while the CD also contained a data video track. In 1998 the Ninja Tune record label released the Prayer/Salvation Remixes, for which prominent electronica artists such as Ashley Beedle and Andrea Parker remixed sections from the "Prayer" and "Salvation" parts of Discord.
Sakamoto's next album, BTTB (1998)—an acronym for "Back to the Basics"—was a fairly opaque reaction to the prior year's multilayered, lushly orchestrated Discord. The album comprised a series of original pieces on solo piano, including "Energy Flow" (a major hit in Japan) and a frenetic, four-hand arrangement of the Yellow Magic Orchestra classic "Tong Poo". On the BTTB U.S. tour, he opened the show performing a brief avant-garde DJ set under the stage name DJ Lovegroove.
1999 saw the long-awaited release of Sakamoto's "opera" LIFE. It premiered with seven sold-out performances in Tokyo and Osaka. This ambitious multi-genre multi-media project featured contributions by over 100 performers, including Pina Bausch, Bernardo Bertolucci, Josep Carreras, His Holiness The Dalai Lama and Salman Rushdie.
Sakamoto later teamed with cellist Jaques Morelenbaum (a member of his 1996 trio), and Morelenbaum's wife, Paula, on a pair of albums celebrating the work of bossa nova pioneer Antonio Carlos Jobim. They recorded their first album, Casa (2001), mostly in Jobim's home studio in Rio de Janeiro, with Sakamoto performing on the late Jobim's grand piano. The album was well received, having been included in the list of New York Times's top albums of 2002.
Sakamoto collaborated with Alva Noto (an alias of Carsten Nicolai) to release Vrioon, an album of Sakamoto's piano clusters treated by Nicolai's unique style of digital manipulation, involving the creation of "micro-loops" and minimal percussion. The two produced this work by passing the pieces back and forth until both were satisfied with the result. This debut, released on German label Raster-Noton, was voted record of the year 2004 in the electronica category by British magazine The Wire. They later released Insen (2005) – while produced in a similar manner to Vrioon, this album is somewhat more restrained and minimalist.
Meanwhile, Sakamoto continues to craft music to suit any context: In 2005, Finnish mobile phone manufacturer Nokia hired Sakamoto to compose ring and alert tones for their high-end phone, the Nokia 8800. A recent reunion with YMO pals Hosono and Takahashi also caused a stir in the Japanese press. They released a single "Rescue" in 2007 and a DVD "HAS/YMO" in 2008. Sakamoto's latest album, Out Of Noise, was released on March 4, 2009 in Japan. In July 2009 Sakamoto was honored as Officier of Ordre des Arts et des Lettres at the French Embassy in Tokyo.
Sakamoto's production credits represent a prolific career in this role. In 1983, he produced Mari Iijima's debut album Rosé, the same year that the Yellow Magic Orchestra was disbanded. Sakamoto subsequently worked with artists such as Thomas Dolby; Aztec Camera, on the Dreamland (1993) album; and Imai Miki, co-producing her 1994 album A Place In The Sun.
Frame, who worked with Sakamoto under the Aztec Camera moniker, explained in a 1993 interview preceding the release of Dreamland that he needed to wait a lengthy period of time before he was able to work with Sakamoto, who wrote two soundtracks, a solo album and the music for the opening ceremony at the Barcelona Olympics, prior to working with Frame over four weeks in a New York, United States (US) studio. Frame explained that he was impressed by the work of YMO and the Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence soundtrack, explaining: "That's where you realise that the atmosphere around his compositions is actually in the writing - it's got nothing to do with synthesisers." Frame's decision to ask Sakamoto was finalized after he saw his performance at the Japan Festival that was held in London, United Kingdom. Of his experience recording with Sakamoto, Frame said:
He's got this reputation as a boffin, a professor of music who sits in front of a computer screen. But he's more intuitive than that, and he's always trying to corrupt what he knows. Halfway through the day in the studio, he will stop and play some hip hop or some house for 10 minutes, and then go back to what he was doing. He's always trying to trip himself up like that, and to discover new things. Just before we worked together he'd been out in Borneo, I think, with a DAT machine, looking for new sounds.
Film composer and actor
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Moviegoers may recognize Sakamoto primarily through his score work on two films: Nagisa Oshima's Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (1983), including the title theme and the duet "Forbidden Colours" with David Sylvian, and Bernardo Bertolucci's The Last Emperor (1987), the latter of which earned him the Academy Award with fellow composers David Byrne and Cong Su. In that same year he composed the score to the cult-classic anime film Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise.
Frequent collaborator David Sylvian contributed lead vocals to "Forbidden Colours" – the main theme to Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence – which became a minor hit. Sixteen years later, the piece resurfaced as a popular dance track called "Heart of Asia" (by the group Watergate).
Other films scored by Sakamoto include Pedro Almodóvar's Tacones lejanos (High Heels) (1991), Bertolucci's The Little Buddha (1993), Oliver Stone's Wild Palms (1993), John Maybury's Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon (1998), Brian De Palma's Snake Eyes (1998) and Femme Fatale (2002), Oshima's Gohatto (1999), and Kiran Rao's Dhobi Ghat (2011). He also composed the score of the opening ceremony for the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, telecast live to an audience of over a billion viewers.
Several tracks from Sakamoto's earlier solo albums have also appeared in film soundtracks. In particular, variations of "Chinsagu No Hana" (from Beauty) and "Bibo No Aozora" (from 1996) provide the poignant closing pieces for Sue Brooks's Japanese Story (2003) and Alejandro González Iñárritu's Babel (2006), respectively.
Sakamoto has also acted in several films: perhaps his most notable performance was as the conflicted Captain Yonoi in Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence, alongside Takeshi Kitano and British rock singer David Bowie. He also played roles in The Last Emperor (as Masahiko Amakasu) and Madonna's "Rain" music video.
In 1998 Italian ethnomusicologist Massimo Milano published Ryuichi Sakamoto. Conversazioni through the Padova, Arcana imprint. All three editions of the book were published in the Italian language.
Sakamoto is a member of the anti-nuclear organization Stop Rokkasho and has demanded the closing of the Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant. In 2012, he organized the "No Nukes 2012" concert, which featured performances by 18 groups, including Yellow Magic Orchestra and Kraftwerk.
Sakamoto is also known as a critic of copyright law, arguing in 2009 that it is antiquated in the information age. He argued that in "the last 100 years, only a few organisations have dominated the music world and ripped off both fans and creators" and that "with the internet we are going back to having tribal attitudes towards music."
In 2006 Sakamoto, in collaboration with Japan's largest independent music company Avex Group, founded Commmons (コモンズ Komonzu?), a record label seeking to change the manner in which music is produced. Sakamoto has explained that Commmons is not his label, but is a platform for all aspiring artists to join as equal collaborators, to share the benefits of the music industry. On the initiative's "About" page, the label is described as a project that "aims to find new possibilities for music, while making meaningful contribution to culture and society." The name "Commmons" is spelt with three "m"s because the third "m" stands for music.
Sakamoto has won a number of awards for his work as a film composer, beginning with his score for Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983) winning him the BAFTA Award for Best Film Music. His greatest award success was for scoring The Last Emperor (1987), which won him the Academy Award for Best Original Score, Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score, and Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media, as well as a BAFTA nomination.
His score for The Sheltering Sky (1990) later won him his second Golden Globe Award, and his score for Little Buddha (1993) received another Grammy Award nomination. In 1997, his collaboration with Toshio Iwai, Music Plays Images X Images Play Music, was awarded the Golden Nica, the grand prize of the Prix Ars Electronica competition. He also contributed to the Academy Award winning soundtrack for Babel (2006) with several pieces of music, including the "Bibo no Aozora" closing theme. In 2009, he was awarded the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from France's Ministry of Culture for his musical contributions.
The music video for "Risky", written and directed by Meiert Avis, also won the first ever MTV "Breakthrough Video Award". The ground breaking video explores transhumanist philosopher FM-2030's (Persian: فریدون اسفندیاری) ideas of "Nostalgia for the Future", in the form of an imagined love affair between a robot and one of Man Ray's models in Paris in the late 1930s. Additional inspiration was drawn from Jean Baudrillard, Edvard Munch's 1894 painting "Puberty", and Roland Barthes "Death of the Author". The surrealist black and white video uses stop motion, light painting, and other retro in-camera effects techniques. Meiert Avis shot Sakamoto while at work on the score for "The Last Emperor" in London. Sakamoto also appears in the video painting words and messages to an open shutter camera. Iggy Pop, who performs the vocals on "Risky", chose not to appear in the video, allowing his performance space to be occupied by the surrealist era robot.
Sakamoto's first of two marriages occurred in 1972, but ended in divorce two years later—Sakamoto has a daughter from this relationship. Sakamoto then married popular Japanese pianist and singer Akiko Yano in 1982, following several musical collaborations with her, including touring work with the Yellow Magic Orchestra. Sakamoto's second marriage ended in August 2006, 14 years after a mutual decision to live separately—Yano and Sakamoto raised one daughter, J-pop singer Miu Sakamoto.
Several albums exist in 2 versions, the original Japanese version and the international version, each having differences in tracklistings.
- Thousand Knives (1978)
- Tokyo Joe (1978, with Kazumi Watanabe, more a compilation than a proper album, featuring an odd mix of tracks from Thousand Knives and from the eponymous album by Watanabe's short lived Kylyn band)
- Summer Nerves (1979, with The Kakutogi Session)
- B2-Unit (1980)
- Left-Handed Dream (1981) (Tracklistings differ between Japanese and international issues)
- The Arrangement (1982, with Robin Scott) (originally released as an EP, later expended into a full album with albumless singles)
- The End of Asia (1982, with Danceries)
- Ongaku Zukan (1984) with the single Replica (the international release from 1986 is titled Illustrated Musical Encyclopedia, and has a different tracklisting)
- Esperanto (1985)
- Futurista (1986)
- Coda (1986)
- Neo Geo (1987)
- Playing the Orchestra (1989)
- Undo #1 (1989)
- Beauty (1989)
- Heartbeat (1991)
- Benedict Beauty (1992)
- Soundbytes (1994, compilation of tracks recorded 1981–1986)
- Sweet Revenge (1994)
- Smoochy (1995)
- 1996 (1996)
- Discord (1997)
- BTTB (1999)
- Cinemage (1999)
- Intimate (1999, with Keizo Inoue)
- L I F E (2000)
- In The Lobby
- Comica (2002)
- Elephantism (2002)
- Moto.tronic (2003, Compilation of tracks recorded between 1983 & 2003)
- Love (2003)
- Chasm (2004)
- /04 (2004)
- /05 (2005)
- Cantus omnibus unus; for mixed or equal choir (2005)
- Bricolages (2006)
- Out of Noise (2009)
- Playing the Piano (2009)
- Three (2013)
Original soundtracks and event scores
- Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (1983) (Won BAFTA)
- Works I – CM (released in 2002, featuring commissioned works from 1981–1984)
- Koneko Monogatari (A Kitten's Story) (1986)
- Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise (Ôritsu uchûgun Oneamisu no tsubasa) (1987)
- The Last Emperor (1987) (won Oscar, Grammy, Golden Globe)
- Fantasy of Light and Life (1989)
- Black Rain (1989) – featuring his song "Laserman"
- Tengai Makyo Ziria (1989) – video game
- The Sheltering Sky (1990) (won Golden Globe)
- The Handmaid's Tale (1990)
- Peachboy (Momotaro)
- High Heels (1992)
- Wuthering Heights (1992)
- "El Mar Mediterrani" (composition for Barcelona Olympics opening ceremony) (1992)
- Topazu / Tokyo Decadence (1992)
- Wild Palms (1993)
- Little Buddha (1993)
- Music for Yohji Yamamoto Collection 1995
- Stalker (1997)
- Snake Eyes (1998)
- Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon (1998)
- Dreamcast (1998) – start-up sound for video game console
- Gohatto (1999)
- Poppoya (Main theme) (1999)
- L.O.L.: Lack of Love – Dreamcast video game (2000), for which he was also the scenario writer
- Zero Landmine (2001)
- Minha Vida Como Un Filme (2002)
- Femme Fatale (2002)
- Century of Reform (2002)
- Derrida (2002)
- Japanese Story (2003) – featuring "Chinsagu No Hana" (from Beauty)
- Seven Samurai 20XX – PlayStation 2 video game (2004)
- Shining Boy & Little Randy (2005)
- Tony Takitani (2005)
- Babel (2006) – featuring "Bibo No Aozora" (from 1996)
- Dawn of Mana (2006) – PlayStation 2 video game
- Silk (2007)
- Indigo (short film) (2008)
- Women Without Men (2009)
- Dhobi Ghat (India) (2011)
- Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai (2011)
- Casa (2001)
- A Day in New York (2003)
With Carsten Nicolai, as alva noto + ryuichi sakamoto
- Vrioon (CD, 2002)
- Insen (CD, 2005)
- Revep (CD EP, 2006)
- Insen Live (DVD, 2006)
- Utp_ (CD+DVD, 2008, with Ensemble Modern)
- Summvs (CD, 2011)
- Geisha Girls
- Japan: Gentlemen Take Polaroids (1980, features Ryuichi Sakamoto as co-writer of the track Taking Islands In Africa)
- Mari Iijima: Rose (1983, produced by Ryuichi Sakamoto)
- David Sylvian: Brilliant Trees (1984, features Ryuichi Sakamoto on piano/synthesizers on 3 tracks)
- David Sylvian: Alchemy: An Index of Possibilities (1985, features Ryuichi Sakamoto on piano and strings on 1 track)
- Thomas Dolby: Fieldwork (1985, written by Ryuichi Sakamoto and Thomas Dolby, featuring Thomas Dolby on vocals)
- Yukiko Okada: "Kuchibiru Network" (1986, composed by Ryuichi Sakamoto, written by Seiko Matsuda)
- Public Image Ltd: "Album" (1986, Ryuichi Sakamoto featured on 4 tracks)
- David Sylvian: Secrets of the Beehive (1987, featuring Ryuichi Sakamoto on all 10 tracks)
- David van Tieghem: Safety in Numbers (1989, features Ryuichi Sakamoto on keyboards on 2 tracks)
- Hector Zazou: Sahara Blue (1992, features Ryuichi Sakamoto on piano on 4 tracks)
- Hector Zazou: Strong Currents (2003, features Ryuichi Sakamoto on piano)
- Aztec Camera: Dreamland (1993, produced with Roddy Frame)
- Holly Johnson: Love And Hate (1994), features Johnson on vocals
- Arto Lindsay: O Corpo Sutil (1996, features Ryuichi Sakamoto on 4 tracks)
- Red Hot + Rio, produced by the Red Hot Organization: É Preciso Perdoar (1996, Ryuichi Sakamoto performs keyboards for the duet sung by Cesária Évora and Caetano Veloso)
- David Sylvian: Dead Bees on a Cake (1999, features Ryuichi Sakamoto on 7 tracks)
- David Sylvian: Everything and Nothing (2000, features Ryuichi Sakamoto on 9 tracks)
- M-Flo: Astromantic (2004, features Ryuichi Sakamoto on 1 track)
- Senor Coconut: Yellow Fever! (2006, features Ryuichi Sakamoto on 1 track)
- Willits + Sakamoto: Ocean Fire (2007, with Christopher Willits)
- Willits + Sakamoto: Ancient Future (2012, with Christopher Willits)
- Les Nouvelles Polyphonies Corses: Les Nouvelles Polyphonies Corses (features Ryuichi Sakamoto on piano and backing vocals)
- Ayuo: Memory Theatre (features Ryuichi Sakamoto on two tracks)
- Rodrigo Leão: "Cinema" (features Ryuichi Sakamoto on 1 track)
- Natalie Beridze TBA : "Blue Shadow", Forgetfulness 2011 (Written by Natalie Beridze/Ryuichi Sakamoto)
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- Broughton, Frank (2007). La historia del DJ / The DJ's Story, Volume 2. Ediciones Robinbook. p. 121. ISBN 84-96222-79-9. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
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- David Toop (March 1996), "A-Z Of Electro", The Wire (145), retrieved May 29, 2011
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- "Sakamoto's 'energy Flow' Enlivens Japan". AllBusiness.com. July 2, 1999. Retrieved November 29, 2008.
- Dayal, Gheeta (July 7, 2006). "Yellow Magic Orchestra". Groove. The Original Soundtrack. Retrieved June 17, 2011.
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- Smith, Douglas Q. (October 18, 2010). "Gig Alert: Ryuichi Sakamoto". WNYC. Retrieved July 20, 2011.
- Harry Hosono And The Yellow Magic Band – Paraiso at Discogs
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- Bogdanov, Vladimir (2001). All music guide to electronica: the definitive guide to electronic music (4th ed.). Backbeat Books. p. 582. ISBN 0-87930-628-9. Retrieved May 26, 2011.
- Dan Sicko & Bill Brewster (2010), Techno Rebels (2nd ed.), Wayne State University Press, pp. 27–8, ISBN 0-8143-3438-5, retrieved May 28, 2011
- Ryuichi Sakamoto – Thousand Knives Of (LP) at Discogs
- Ryuichi Sakamoto – Thousand Knives Of (CD) at Discogs
- "Yellow Magic Orchestra – BGM". Yellow Magic Orchestra on Discogs. Discogs. 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
- Buckley, Peter (2003). The rough guide to rock. Rough Guides. p. 901. ISBN 1-84353-105-4. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
- Kings of Electro at AllMusic
- O'Connell, Jake (August 22, 2008). "Dusted Reviews – Mantronix: The Album (Deluxe Edition)". Dusted Magazine. Retrieved July 21, 2011.
- Vine, Richard (July 9, 2011). "Ryuichi Sakamoto records Riot In Lagos". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved July 9, 2011.
- Riuichi Sakamoto – Warhead / Lexington Queen at Discogs (list of releases)
- (Japanese) "Biography". Kiyoshiro Imawano official site. Retrieved June 22, 2011. (Translation)
- "Ryuichi Sakamoto Broadway Boogie Woogie (HQ)" (Audio upload). MetalMachineManiac on YouTube. Google Inc. 3 July 2011. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
- "Ryuichi Sakamoto – Sweet Revenge". Ryuchi Sakamoto on Discogs. Discogs. 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
- "RYUICHI SAKAMOTO: Classical & Pop Fusion". Sound On Sound. SOS Publications Group. April 1998. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
- "PRAYER / SALVATION REMIXES". Ninja Tune. Ninja Tune. 22 June 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
- "飯島真理* – Rosé". 飯島真理* on Discogs. Discogs. 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
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- Giles Smith (6 May 1993). "MUSIC / The Roddy and Ryuichi roadshow: When Roddy Frame wanted to make his new album with Ryuichi Sakamoto, he had to wait in line. Giles Smith reports". The Independent. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
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- 東海地震＋浜岡原発 ～ 原発震災を防ぐ全国署名 (Japanese)
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ryuichi Sakamoto.|
- The official Ryūichi Sakamoto web site
- Commmons – Sakamoto's record label
- Ryuichi Sakamoto at AllMusic
- Raster-Noton site
- Fan Website
- Ustream – Live Channel for RYUICHI SAKAMOTO NORTH AMERICAN TOUR 2010
- Classical Archives Interview
- interview for Lexnews magazine