Fraudulent Composer Releases New Music
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Fraudulent Composer Releases New Music

By Elizabeth Gibson for The J-Pop Exchange

Once heralded as “a Beethoven for the digital age,” Mamoru Samuragochi was outed in February 2014 to not only not be deaf as he claimed for many years, but to have used a ghostwriter for all of his previously accredited compositions. But now, it seems, after years of laying low, Samuragochi is back and trying his hand at making new music.

Samuragochi was born September 21, 1963 in Hiroshima Prefecture to two “Hibakusha” parents -- which means both of his parents were affected by the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. His mother taught him how to play piano, starting at age 4. When he was in high school, it has been reported that he developed migraines and the beginnings of hearing loss, due to an unknown cause. After graduating high school, he decided against university or music school, instead teaching himself music theory and how to compose.

In 2013, doubts of his disability began to grow. In June of that year, a reporter from the magazine Aera interviewed Samuragochi at his apartment in Yokohama, but began questioning his deafness when he would answer questions before the sign language interpreter finished asking them, and also when he heard and responded to his doorbell/intercom at one point during the interview. The article was ultimately not published.

Then in 2014, it was publicly revealed that composer and musician, Takashi Niigaki, was the one who had written all musical works previously attributed to Samuragochi. At the time, Niigaki claimed Samuragochi was not deaf, had normal hearing, and was posing as a deaf man to generate a mystique around his image as a composer. 

I told him a few times that we should stop doing this, but he never gave in,” Niigaki said at a press conference in 2014. “Also he said he would commit suicide if I stop composing for him.”

A few days after Niigaki’s admission, on February 12, 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 prior. He added he was “deeply ashamed of living a lie.”

Some of the works Samuragochi was said to have written but were actually composed by Niigaki include scores for the DualShock version of Resident Evil Director’s Cut, released in 1998, and Onimusha, released in 2001, which were popular among gamers, as well as “Symphony No.1 Hiroshima,” a tribute to those killed in the atomic bombing.

Up until recently, Samuragochi has been laying low, essentially living in hiding in his apartment with his wife. A documentary by filmmaker Tatsuya Mori, Fake, was released in 2016, where Mori conducted several intimate interviews with Samuragochi over the course of 16 months. In the documentary, Samuragochi claimed that, while unable to qualify for a disability pension from the government, he is in fact severely hearing-impaired. He also maintains that he wrote his own music, simply relying on Niigaki for technical notation and some arrangement help.

The truth, however, remains muddy.

Now, though, the maestro famous for bending the truth is putting out new music. A song, titled “MM” Sakura “Overture”, was released on YouTube on April 17, with the name of the composer not disclosed. However, soon after, it was announced that Samuragochi had composed the music using DTM (desktop music), a form of music composition that uses computers and electronic musical instruments.

I wanted you to enjoy it without colored glasses,” he told Mynavi News.

The song and accompanying music video promotes an anti-war message -- bringing back ties to Samuragochi’s parental and geographical connection with the Hiroshima bombings -- and follows the main character, Sakura, fighting for her life in a post-apocalyptic world. The song is part of a larger project titled “MALLEVS MALEFICARVM.”

The song can be heard on YouTube.


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