A Japanese composer, record producer, and actor, Ryuichi Sakamoto is known as a member of the electronic pop band, the Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO). He is internationally renowned for working in genres like New Wave and Ambient. His major hit movies as a composer and actor are Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983), and The Last Emperor (1987).
Early Life of Ryuichi Sakamoto
Ryuichi Sakamoto was born on 17th January 1952, in Tokyo, Japan to his parents, Kazuki Sakamoto (father) and Hiroko Sakamoto (mother). If he was alive, he would be at the age of 71 years old. His horoscope was Capricorn and his birthday was on 17th January. Ryuichi’s mother was a piano teacher, while his father was a journalist and an amateur pianist.
His father left this world when Ryichi was too young so he was raised by his mother alone. Ryuichi held a Japanese nationality while his ethnicity was mixed. He followed Christianity. In 1970, he went to the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music and finished his both BA and MA degree in music composition and electronic music. He also studied ethnomusicology there.
Ryuichi Sakamoto’s Married Life
Ryuichi had married thrice in his life but two of his marriages failed. He tied the first wedding knot in 1972 with his first wife but they divorced later. After that, he was married to a popular Japanese pianist and singer, Akiko Yano. The couple even collaborated and worked together and went on tour with the Yellow Magic Orchestra.
They married in 1982 but they parted ways and divorced in August 2006 after 14 years. They made a mutual decision to live separately. Ryuichi married his third wife, Norika Sora who was his manager. They were leading a blissful life until his death.
Ryuichi Sakamoto, Father of Four
Ryuichi was a responsible father to his four children. He had his first child with his first wife. Sakamoto and his second wife welcomed a daughter Miu Sakamoto on May 1, 1980. Miu is a Japanese pop singer.
Ryuichi and his third wife were the parents of their two adorable children.
Net Worth of Ryuichi Sakamoto
Ryuichi had an estimated net worth of around $68 million as of 2023. He had been able to garner this amount through his career as a composer and an actor.
Ryuichi Sakamoto diagnosed with Throat Cancer
Ryuichi was diagnosed with oropharyngeal cancer in June 2014. He even took a break from his career but he retired in 2015. He stated that he felt much better and regained some energy.
In January 2021, Ryuichi again had cancer so he revealed the news through his official pages. At that time, he was diagnosed with rectal cancer. He underwent treatment and had a successful surgery.
Ryuichi Sakamoto dies at 71
Ryuichi passed away on 28th March 2023, in Tokyo, Japan at the age of 71 years old. He died due to cancer. Some reputed online resources published his death saying:
“We would like to share one of Sakamoto’s favorite quotes Ars longa, vita brevis.’ Art is long, life is short.”
Professional Career of Ryuichi Sakamoto
- Ryuichi always had an interest in music so he started composing music at the age of eleven.
- Later, he and his other Japanese musicians formed the electronic pop band, Yellow Magic Orchestra.
- They started releasing several albums in 1977 like Service, Naughty Boys, BGM, Technodelic, Technodon, and so on.
- Ryuichi started his solo career with his album, The Thousand Knives.
- Some of his other solo albums are 12, Coda, Beauty, Heartbeat, BTTB, Playing the Piano, and many more.
- Besides, he was also an actor who acted in movies like Merry Christmas and Mr. Lawrence.
- As a record producer, he collaborated with numerous musicians and producers all around the world.
FAQs of Ryuichi Sakamoto
Was Ryuichi Sakamoto an activist?
Yes, Ryuichi was an activist. He served as a member of the anti-nuclear organization Stop Rokkasho. Also, he supported opposition to the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in 2015.
How tall was Ryuichi Sakamoto?
Ryuichi stood at the height of 5 feet 8 inches while his body weight was around 65kg. Due to his age, his hair was grey while his eyes were dark brown in color.
Did Ryuichi Sakamoto win a Grammy?
Yes, Ryuivhi won a Grammy for his soundtrack for the 1987 Bernardo Bertolucci film The Last Emperor. Not only that but he earned other prestigious awards for his works like an Oscar, a Grammy, and 2 Golden Globe Awards.
Was Ryuichi Sakamoto related to Kyu Sakamoto?
No, Ryuichi and Kyu were not related to each other. Though both of them were Japanese singers, there is nothing retable between them. The only thing common between them is their surnames.
Did Ryuichi Sakamoto dedicate an album to his mother?
Yes, Ryuichi had dedicated an album to his late mother. His album, 1996 was dedicated to his mother who passed away in the same year.