A little scandal never hurt anyone, particularly for disgraced deaf composer Mamoru Samuragochi who confessed to hiring someone to write music for him.
Once-lauded as Japan’s Beethoven, Samuragochi turned out to be a fraud after admitting that his hearing had been perfectly fine for some time. But the bad publicity seemed to work to his advantage, with sales of his classical CD, featuring his best-known work Symphony No 1: Hiroshima, soaring during the week of February 3–9.
In an eight-page, hand-written apology dated Tuesday, he said he felt “deeply sorry “for betraying and hurting so many people.”
He claimed to have lost his hearing at the age of 35 because of a degenerative illness and only regained it about three years ago. Samuragochi denied assertions made by Takashi Niigaki, the purported ghostwriter behind his most iconic works, that he had never suffered from deafness in the time he worked with him for 18 years.
“My hearing has recovered to the level I can catch words when someone speaks close to my ear clearly and slowly, although it still sounds a bit muffled and distorted,” Samuragochi wrote.
Niigaki, a professor at a music college, said he believed all along Samuragochi could hear, given the way the pair discussed his compositions. Samuragochi stood by his identity as a child of Hiroshima bombing survivors.
In another plot twist, Samuragochi said that his lawyers were oblivious to his condition when he first met them in February.
“All I could think about is what would happen if the fact that Niigaki had written the songs was exposed, and I was asked about my hearing, but I was scared and couldn’t tell the truth,” he said.
The revelation shocked fans of the critically-acclaimed composer, who said he could no longer keep silent knowing Olympic skater Daisuke Takashi is set to perform to a piece attributed to him at the Sochi Games.
“I am now deeply ashamed of living this way, kidding myself,” he said.
Samuragochi’s record label said it will stop sales of his CD.