Mamoru Samuragochi was a beloved Japanese composer, celebrated for his "Hiroshima Symphony" arrangement dedicated to the lives lost in the 1945 bombing and known to gamers for his work on the Resident Evil and Onimusha franchises. But this week, it was revealed that Samuragochi--known as the "Japanese Beethoven" because of his deafness--is a fraud, having hired a ghostwriter to create his pieces for the past decade.
Now, that ghostwriter--43-year-old Takashi Niigaki--has come forward to unravel the mystery and reveal even more surprising facts about the bizarre situation. Niigaki explained during a recent media conference attended by The New York Times that not only was Samuragochi not deaf, but he threatened to take his own life if Niigaki exposed him for what he was.
"He told me that if I didn't write songs for him, he’d commit suicide," Niigaki said. He decided to come forward, however, because the arrangement "Sonatina for Violin" will be used by Japanese figure skater Daisuke Takahashi this month during the Sochi Winter Olympics.
"I could not bear the thought of skater Takahashi being seen by the world as a co-conspirator in our crime," Niigaki said.
Though he does not have definitive proof, Niigaki said he doesn't think Samuragochi is actually deaf.
Niigaki said he had regular conversations with Samuragochi, who was able to listen and comment on Niigaki's compositions. Niigaki said Samuragochi's reported deafness was only "an act that he was performing to the outside world."
In the wake of the revelations, Samuragochi's publisher has stopped shipping his albums, while orchestras have canceled performances of his (actually Niigaki's) work. Samuragochi's website has also been taken offline, and he's been threatened with the removal of his citizen's award for promoting Hiroshima's anti-nuclear weapon stance.