On March 28, 2023, Japanese musician, composer and record producer Ryuichi Sakamoto (坂本 龍一) passed away.
Having started his music career in the 1970s, Sakamoto achieved major success as a member of the Japanese electronic music band Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO), which is widely considered as a pioneer and major influence in the development of many electronic music genres such as synthpop, techno and more.
Sakamoto's music career continued to boom in the 1980s as a member of YMO and a solo artist. Sakamoto also expanded his career into acting: starring alongside another global musical sensation David Bowie, in director Nagisa Oshima's 1983 war film Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence. The film also saw Sakamoto's first foray into composing, with the haunting and electrifying title theme becoming a staple in his concerts, which he often played as a piano-heavy piece instead of the original electronic version, such as the memorial concert for the victims of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, featured in the intimate portrait of the artist - Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda.
Sakamoto continued his career in music as well as film score composing, working on many award-winning films such as The Last Emperor (1987), The Sheltering Sky (1990) and The Revenant (2015). During his long career, he won an Oscar, BAFTA, Grammy, two Golden Globe Awards and more awards in Asia.
To celebrate Ryuichi Sakamoto's remarkable legacy, join us at Hot Docs for the screenings of Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence and Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda, from his first acting and composing work to a revelatory glimpse into Sakamoto's later life as he continued his artistic pursuit after a cancer diagnosis.