Mamoru Samuragochi, a classical musician, became known as an
inspirational genius for composing despite losing his hearing.
Samuragochi said on Wednesday that he had suffered hearing loss
and was not able to hear when he began paying a part-time
university professor to write music under his name, a
collaboration that went on for 18 years.
But the situation had improved.
"The truth is that recently I have begun to hear a little
again," he said in a statement reported by Japanese media,
adding that for the last three years he has been able to follow
conversations under certain conditions.
Samuragochi, 50, apologized to fans last week for paying Takashi
Niigaki to write compositions under his name. Niigaki told
reporters that he had also wondered about the extent of the
composer's hearing loss.
On Wednesday, Samuragochi acknowledged he had not been truthful
about his hearing when the scandal emerged.
"I was thinking only of what would happen after news broke about
Mr. Niigaki writing my music, and was unable to tell the truth
due to fear," he said.
He said he would appear in public soon to apologize and offered
to have his hearing tested by experts.
German composer Ludwig van Beethoven began suffering hearing
loss from about age 30 and withdrew from public performances
while continuing to write music. He was almost totally deaf for
the last decade of his life.
Samuragochi gained international fame for his "Hiroshima
Symphony", a tribute to the victims of the 1945 atomic bombing
of the Japanese city.
Niigaki said last week that he received more than 7 million yen
($68,000) for over 20 songs he wrote for Samuragochi.
That includes music being used by Japanese figure skater Daisuke
Takahashi for his short program at the Sochi Olympics. Takahashi
has said he was "surprised" to hear the news, but had no
intention of changing his music.
Observers say that part of Samuragochi's popularity was due to
promotion by an industry eager to put a human face to classical
music and hang on to a shrinking market share as Japanese
society rapidly ages.
($1 = 102.3800 Japanese yen)
(Reporting by Elaine Lies; editing
by Ron Popeski)
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