'Japan's Beethoven' admits paying ghost composer

Deaf composer Mamoru Samuragochi has confessed to hiring someone else to write his most famous music for almost 20 years.

Mamoru Samuragochi

Famous for his classical compositions soundtracking video games including Resident Evil, as well as his Symphony No. 1 (Hiroshima), a tribute to those killed in the 1945 bombing of the city, Samuragochi became completely deaf at the age of 35. Like Beethoven, who also went deaf, he continued to work, and was dubbed 'a digital-age Beethoven' in Time magazine in 2001.

He also starred in a documentary following the tsunami in Japan in 2011, meeting survivors and apparently composing a requiem for a small girl whose mother was killed in the disaster.

A statement issued through the composer's lawyer said: "Samuragochi is deeply sorry as he has betrayed fans and disappointed others. He knows he could not possibly make any excuse for what he has done."

He revealed his deception had begun around the time he shot to fame, as he struggled increasingly with his hearing difficulties: "I started hiring the person to compose music for me around 1996, when I was asked to make movie music for the first time."

"I had to ask the person to help me for more than half the work because the ear condition got worse."

Beethoven started to go deaf around 1796, aged just 25. He despaired over his increasing deafness in a famous letter to his brothers, known as the Heiligenstadt Testament, in 1802, which describes his desire to overcome his ailments to fulfil his artistic destiny.

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