Academy Award-winning composer Ryuichi Sakamoto has died at the age of 71.

Before working in film, Sakamoto was one part of the seminal electronic band Yellow Magic Orchestra with Haruomi Hosono and Yukihiro Takahashi. Together they became pioneers of technopop in Japan, with their album “Solid State Survivor” even making an impact on Michael Jackson, who would sample it for his song “Behind the Mask” (which was released posthumously).

Through the ’80s, the band would occasionally release albums as each member went on to successful solo careers. Sakamoto in particular would garner world acclaim for his acting and work on the soundtrack in the film “Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence”.

Sakamoto would also win an Oscar for his work on the soundtrack for “The Last Emperor”.

While focused on his music throughout his life he was also an activist, notably against political issues in Japan, as well as nuclear power following the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant in 2011.

Ryuichi Sakamoto battled multiple cancers through his final years, passing away while undergoing treatment on March 28.



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