Read 'Japan's Beethoven's' confession to the public: I'm not deaf and I didn't write my hit compositions
The Mamoru Samuragochi saga continues, as the composer who claimed to be completely deaf and was once known as "Japan's Beethoven," apologized to the public for misleading them. Samuragochi is best known for the symphony Hiroshima, as well as soundtracks for the video games Resident Evil: Dual Shock Ver. and Onimusha: Warlords. Earlier, he claimed to have been completely deaf and credited the compositions to his ghost writer Takashi Niigaki. Niigaki has claimed that almost everything in Samuragochi's biography is fraudulent, including his deafness and need to walk with a cane. Samuragochi has since claimed that his hearing loss is only partial. Here is the Wall Street Journal's translation of Samuragochi's letter to the public, titled "An Apology."
I have taken up my pen to apologize deeply for what I have done.
I am sorry that I could not explain things immediately.
I just could not bring myself to tell the truth, even to my lawyer, which is why it took time for me to make this decision.
I also would like to offer my sincere apologies for the tremendous trouble that I have caused many people.
My apologies go to those who bought my CDs; those who supported me; people in the music industry; those who produced programs based on my lies; those who published books and interviews with me; the athlete Daisuke Takahashi, who was ensnared in this controversy just before his crucial competition [at the Sochi Games]; hibakusha [victims of the atomic bombing]; their families; those with handicaps; people in Hiroshima city; friends and family. I truly betrayed and hurt many people, and I offer them my deepest apologies from the bottom of my heart.
The lies that I have told are not limited to those involving Mr. Niigaki.
Of course, my relationship with Mr. Niigaki is exactly as he stated it. What he said about my music background is also generally correct.
I am now deeply ashamed that I have lived a life of deception.
I would like to apologize to Mr. Niigaki, whose life was skewed because of the 18 years during which he met my demands.
However, what Mr. Niigaki said about my hearing is not true. He said his impression was that I had been able to hear since the time he met me.
The truth is that I became deaf and joined a sign-language group and subsequently got a certificate designating me as having a Level 2 hearing disorder.
It’s also a fact that hearing impairment has caused terrible buzzing in my ears.
But at first I didn’t dare to tell the truth about my hearing even to my lawyer. So let me explain here.
My hearing condition, in fact, has gotten better recently.
Since about three years ago, my hearing has improved such that I can hear words if they are spoken clearly and slowly next to my ears, although they sound muffled and distorted. However, this is quite affected by my health, and when I am in poor health I cannot hear well even if someone speaks clearly and slowly next to my ears. But when I saw my lawyer for the first time on Feb. 4, I told him that I could not hear at all.
All I could think about is what would happen if the fact that Mr. Niigaki had written the works was exposed. And I was asked about my hearing [by the lawyer], but I was scared and couldn’t tell the truth. I was afraid that he might not take my case if I told him about all the other lies–including the ones related to my music background.
When I consulted him, I was desperate because the Shukan Bunshun article was about to get published.
I did not watch Mr. Niigaki’s news conference, but I heard from an acquaintance that my hearing was brought up as an issue. So I felt I had to come out with truth and I said [to the lawyer] on Feb. 7 that I could actually hear a little.
At that point, the explanation I gave to him was that I couldn’t hear well enough to discern the words of people. But then I heard that various information about me was circulating and I thought that I couldn’t keep on lying any more. So I confessed on Feb. 9 that I could sometimes discern the words of people, if they spoke clearly next to my ears. My lawyer then asked me whether I was able to hear all along. But that is not the case.
The fact is that I received the designation for a hearing impairment after my hearing was entirely gone and that until about three years ago, I could not hear.
I have decided to stop layering more lies on top of lies. Therefore, I swear to heaven and the gods that what I am writing here is true.
I am willing to get my ears checked by an expert. If the test determines that I do not have a Level 2 [handicap], I will return my certificate.
There are other points I would like to explain.
Since I have decided to tell the whole truth, I won’t write lies from here onward.
First of all, my relations with Mr. Niigaki were a secret just between us.
Out of fear that the revelation of this secret would be devastating to me, I did not tell anyone else including my wife.
While my wife knows about Mr. Niigaki, I explained to her only that he, as an expert in modern music, was teaching me how to compose music.
Also, I was the one who wrote the memo with guidance [to Mr. Niigaki on the music].
I was surprised to hear my mother-in-law saying that the handwriting was my wife’s. She has misunderstood.
I might have had my wife write part of something. But that was about it.
The time that there was a piano at my parents’ house was before we moved. My mother-in-law [who alleged that the Samuragochi house didn’t have a piano] did not know about that period.
Of course, as my mother-in-law says, I have caused troubles for my wife.
If my wife wishes, I’m ready to divorce.
I will entrust that to my wife’s judgment.
It is also true that I am a second-generation hibakusha.
Both my parents were exposed to radiation in Hiroshima.
Both of them have a hibakusha certificate, which my lawyer confirmed through photos.
It cannot be helped if people view what I have done as a publicity stunt to get attention.
There is no doubt that this was part of my motivation.
But at a certain time I started thinking that I would like to help hibakusha, disaster victims and handicapped people. There is no mistaking that I also had this motivation.
Of course, at this point, people probably would not believe such a thing. But it is certain that there were multiple feelings in my heart.
In any event, the greater shock I have caused is to those who believed in my motivations.
There is one more thing that I asked my lawyer when we first spoke. If it hadn’t been for me, the music that I had Mr. Niigaki compose would surely live on in future generations. I now would like for this music to be given a full hearing so that the damage to those around me might be minimized.
Lastly, since I have resolved these matters in my mind, I intend in the near future to come forward in public and apologize.
I am truly sorry.
Feb. 11, 2014