In 2014, Ryuichi Sakamoto suffered a throat cancer that finally went into remission after six years. The Japanese electronic music composer has now shared that doctors have diagnosed him with bowel cancer, and that he has undergone surgery to treat it.
In a statement posted on his website, Sakamoto, 69, wrote that despite the “disheartening” turn of events, the medical procedure proved successful. “Amid the overwhelming hardships that the medical institutions and healthcare workers face during this unprecedented pandemic, the sincerity with which everyone involved cares for their patients is nothing short of admirable,” reads a passage. “I want to express my heartfelt gratitude.”
Sakamoto went on to write that long-distance travel might become more difficult as he undergoes ongoing treatment, but that he intends to continue working as much as possible. “There may be instances where I have to cancel work,” he admitted. “I sincerely apologize for any inconveniences this may cause to those who are involved in ongoing projects.”
While attending Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music in the 1970s, Sakamoto planted the early seeds of his career as a session musician and arranger. He went on to form the band Yellow Magic Orchestra alongside Haruomi Hosono and Yukihiro Takahashi in 1978. Through the group as well as his later solo work and collaborations, Sakamoto is believed to have significantly influenced electronic music genres like electro, techno and synthpop.
“From now on, I will be living alongside cancer,” Sakamoto’s letter closed out. “But, I am hoping to make music for a little while longer. Thank you all so much for your continuing support.”