'Japan's Beethoven' admits using ghost composer

Picture expired. Deaf composer Mamoru Samuragochi AFP

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  • 27

    gokai_wo_maneku

    So just replace this guy's name with the name of the real composer and give him the acclaim he deserves. The music is just as good (if it is your taste). Nobody will toss their CDs because the name of the composer on the cover is wrong if they like the music. We would still like Mozart even if we found out he used a ghost-writer.

  • 11

    darnname

    The actual writer is a part-time university music teacher. He has ghostwritten his music for 18 years and was paid about 200,000 - 300,000 for each piece.

  • 22

    BurakuminDes

    "Japan's Beethoven"? More like The Milli Vanilli of Japan! What a hoax.

  • 9

    GalapagosnoGairaishu

    But on Wednesday morning, the composer’s life was revealed to have been a fraud

    It would have been nice to credit Shukan Bunshun magazine. The issue running the expose went on sale this morning.

  • 2

    StormR

    More BS and hollowness in this place. Japan is all about the outward appearance and there usually is very little substance behind any of it, know the term "façade" that is Japan in modern times.

    I saw and interview and tv article about this guy some time ago and wondered if it was BS at that time as what was being told seemed too far fetched to be possible. But like a blind guy becoming F1 world champion really !

  • 6

    JoshuYaki

    How much dough did this guy make? Its almost worth using his method as a template. I am sure he is wiping his tears with 10,000 yen notes heheh

  • 7

    slumdog

    leaving duped broadcaster NHK red-faced

    Were that this was the only recent event to redden broacaster NHK's face.

    More like The Milli Vanilli of Japan! What a hoax.

    The minute I saw the story this morning, I thought the same thing!

  • 3

    Patric Spohn

    @gokaiwomaneku Japanese fans feel really attached to their artists, not necessarily the piece or performance itself. Yes, many will toss out his CDs, as they expected him to be a real genius. His fans can't really out themselves to love a fake artist that came to fame by boasted media circulation. As @StormR pointed out correctly, most things here are hollow, and only last for a while. Everything is quickly consumed and replaced by someone/something else, whenever the media dinner bell rings.

  • 6

    sangetsu03

    I hope NHK and the like get the money and rolyalties they paid to this poser-clown-imposter, and give it all to the real composer.

  • 5

    gogogo

    haha this is all to common in Japan, I've been apart of musical productions for name artists who wrote nothing but the title of the song.

  • 3

    taj

    I heard this on BBC radio last night. First time I'd heard of the guy.

    Now reading this, I guess the first time he hired a helper, he had taken the film assignment thinking he could do it. Realized he was not going to succeed and out of desperation, got a friend to help. It was his greatest success to date. All the more so, because of his disappearing hearing. So they carried on. Oh that slippery slope.

    As for the skater, I don't know what Takahashi's chances at Sochi are. He didn't do very well at the Japan championships recently. At the very least, this shocking news will bring some extra world attention to his performance. (Look for the silver lining, Daisuke!)

  • -4

    Reckless

    Perhaps many great composers and writers in the past and present did the same thing and never got found out,,, is a Beethoven really a Beethoven?

  • 5

    House Atreides

    When a corporation does this it's called outsourcing.

  • 3

    theeastisred

    So he had the deafness part of Beethoven taken care of. All he needed to round out the picture was the musical genius. Oh well, there is always a catch.

  • 3

    isoducky

    Unfortunately the world we live in today a deaf man with with a gift is more iconic than a part-time university teacher with a vision. Mr. Samuragochi credibility allowed what would have been an unknown artist access to many people. Hopefully the real composer can get some justly due respect.

  • -4

    CrazyJoe

    A tip of the iceberg? Can't blame NHK though.

  • 0

    Peacetrain

    Just put both names on. Instead of NHK apologising for that I think there are bigger fish to fry.

    Also, interesting about Shunkan Bunshun. This magazines publish some rubbish, but on the other hand they often publish stuff that the mainstream media won't touch.

  • 4

    milanese

    ...How little surprised I am...is what amazes me the most...

  • 7

    doedel

    Another mislabeling scandal, only in this case the content is better than what's on the label.

    He has ghostwritten his music for 18 years ...

    I wonder how he could cope with it for that long time - seeing the other dude collecting all the flowers.

  • 0

    HaraldBloodaxe

    What? A prized Japanese treasure turns out to be nothing but a sham? I'm shocked, shocked do you hear!

    And the real musician who did all the real work will not get a penny piece, and the charlatan who bilked the gullible with his lies will cry on camera and all will be forgiven.

  • 8

    BertieWooster

    On a much, much lower level, the same thing happened to me.

    I wrote a theme tune for a children's show about 20 years ago. I played the music on a synthesizer, taped it and sent it in to NHK. Someone who worked with NHK at the time transcribed my music and his musicians played it, note for note, as I had recorded it.

    The credits at the end of the show said:

    "M U S I C - ( N H K G U Y )"

    "with thanks to (my name)."

    He got 200,000 and his name in lights as the composer (which he certainly wasn't) and I got 40.000. I tracked down his phone number and called him afterward. To his credit, he was also angry about it.

  • 2

    Disillusioned

    Another fine example of Japanese ethics!

  • 8

    kaimycahl

    Samuragochi may have been deaf but he sure wasn't dumb!

  • 3

    cracaphat

     He got 200,000 and his name in lights... To his credit, he was also angry about it.

    Now, if he had offered some of the money then I'd be impressed!!
    
  • -2

    CGB Spender

    Unfortunate but I'm not surprised. At least he came clear himself. He probably slipped into this affair without really wanting it, after all what could he have done? Giving up his career because his hearing fails?! I don't blame him.

  • 1

    cracaphat

    Giving up his career because his hearing fails?

    The ghostwriter said not long ago the dude didn't appear to be deaf in the 18 years.

  • -2

    lucabrasi

    @CGB

    According to the Nishinihon Shimbun, he only came clean when one of the investigative weeklies, the Bunshu Shukan, I think, came sniffing around.

    Still, hardly a master criminal. Hard not to feel sorry for him....

  • 4

    forzaducati

    Hard not to feel sorry for him? How so? He wasn't exactly very sincere for 18 years and adorned himself with borrowed plumes. Worst of all, he pretended to be deaf. According to Mr. Niigaki, the ghost writer, he could converse normally with Samuragochi, never noticing any hearing problems. Niigaki also mentioned that Samuragochi threatened to commit suicide if he quit helping him out. Odd story overall.

  • 4

    Nobody's Fool

    This country is downright bizarre with their approach to apologies. The government's apologies for war and death and rape across Asia are completely half arsed and unofficial and the politicians are constantly denying there was even anything to apologize for. But then you have NHK who could not have possibly known about this liar any more than the rest of the world who was also duped, and there they are with their heartfelt apology.

    The only explanation I have is that its all about money, as much as that thought disgusts me. The government does not want to shell out to victims, and NHK wants to nip in the bud yet another excuse not to pay them.

  • 5

    Gobshite

    Honesty Japan again!!...... really no surprise

  • 2

    wasabizuki

    A good song is a good song. Doesn't matter who made it. If a song is considered good just because it was made by "somebody famous" then you're not a fan of music.

    I agree that the real composer be given credit. Lady Gaga wrote so many songs that other people are famous for.
    Perhaps this imposter felt the shadow composer was going to reveal himself or felt the urge to be honest after feeling guilt.

    Though if he truly had a big heart he might as well just came out and said who actually composed his masterpieces.

  • 5

    letsberealistic

    As my Japanese wife put it, another example of the Japanese culture-of-usotsuki (lying). I remember the 'famous' archaeologist who faked an ancient finding (he placed artifacts), or the researcher who faked a discovery, it's endemic.

  • 4

    Cos

    I'd have been more surprised to read it was revealed that he or any best-selling tarento had written music themselves. It's really lame to exploit disability (real or fake ?) to sell stuff. But no sympathy for the actual composer. The guy is not a victim, he's a coworker. He had decades to come out. He has not because he had regular meetings with the "genius" and their marketing teams, and they all concluded that scenario would get them the biggest profit.

    Nippon Columbia Co, which has sold his CDs and DVDs, said in a statement that the company was “flabbergasted and deeply infuriated” by his revelation.

    Yeah, their golden egg hen has been strangled.

  • -1

    cwhite

    I thought using ghostwriters was an accepted practice for centuries. Many times you need to use somebody affluent to get your work published out of the other thousands that comes along. Be it music, art, an article, book, software, webpage graphics or movie. In any case he didn't make much money out of this. Max 2million yen for one piece, average 200,000yen or less. 6% max on CD royalties and the rest would be appearances at theaters. Hardly a mastermind criminal and should have just made it a joint production. He obviously knows something about music as it was all his ideas that he described to the ghostwriter to create. Work together and just keep making music.

  • 2

    GalapagosnoGairaishu

    Samuragochi, who has also spells his name Samuragoch, became completely deaf at the age of 35

    Nikkan Gendai just ran an article that claims he still has partial hearing.

  • 3

    fannybatter

    long hair, dark sunglasses, facial hair, adversity. A marketer's wet dream in Japan. His best performance was in defrocking his fans for what they and pretty much all the fans of popular culture in Japan are. Sheep/suckers

  • 0

    Photoman333

    StormR: I saw and interview and tv article about this guy some time ago and wondered if it was BS at that time as what was being told seemed too far fetched to be possible

    Unless you know something about classical music you would miss a lot here. "Japan's Beethoven" is a reference to the fact that Ludwig van Beethoven wrote his best music after he had completely lost his hearing. That is a fact so it's not too far fetched to be possible.

    This doesn't, of course, condone what Samuragochi did.

  • 0

    jonobugs

    I don't know if Japan is any different than other countries, but I met a guy when I was younger who claimed that he was a ghost writer as well. He composed music for various artists and said that they would get all the credit for his work. According to him, it was quite common in the business.

  • -1

    JoeBigs

    Another idol falls from the ranks of heavenly gifted, but in the end the truth came out, he paid well for that gift.

  • 1

    WilliB

    If the music is good, it can stand on its own. Just attribute it to the correct composer. What is the problem here, other than misattribution? I don´t see why they are shredding his CDs and all that.

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