Ryuichi Sakamoto: “Unfortunately, I Have Been Diagnosed with Cancer Again”

The famed Japanese composer is battling rectal cancer

Ryuichi Sakamoto Cancer colon throat health

For the second time in seven years, composer and electronic music pioneer Ryuichi Sakamoto has been diagnosed with cancer.

Previously, doctors found throat cancer in 2014. As the beloved Japanese songwriter fought to stay healthy, he continued working, releasing the 2017 solo album async and contributing to film scores for The Revenant and Call Me By Your Name. In 2020 his throat cancer went into remission, but as he revealed in a statement on his website, his healthcare team has now found rectal cancer. “From now on, I will be living alongside cancer,” he said, adding that, “I am hoping to make music for a little while longer.” He wrote,

“Dear all,

I was relieved after the throat cancer that I had in 2014 went into remission after six years. However, unfortunately, I have been diagnosed with cancer again—this time, rectal cancer. The news was disheartening, but thanks to the excellent doctors I met, the surgery I underwent was a success. I am now undergoing treatment.

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. I want to express my heartfelt gratitude.

Due to these circumstances, traveling long distances for work will be difficult. Still, I will continue to work as much as I can while in treatment.

There may be instances where I have to cancel work.

I sincerely apologize for any inconveniences this may cause to those who are involved in ongoing projects.

From now on, I will be living alongside cancer.

But, I am hoping to make music for a little while longer.

Thank you all so much for your continuing support.”

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In 2019, Sakomoto scored Luca Guadagnino’s short film The Staggering Girl and reissued his landmark 1978 album Thousand Knives of Ryuichi Sakamoto outside of Japan for the first time.


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