Japanese Musician Touted as ‘Modern Beethoven’ Exposed to be a Fraud

Japanese Mamoru Samuragochi had it made. He was a famous musical composer in Japan, the story of how he overcame the barriers caused by his deafness drew parallels to legendary German musician Ludwig van Beethoven and skyrocketed him to fame. His compositions featured in the soundtracks of Japanese movies (Remembering the Cosmos Flower, Orpheus’ Lyre) video games (Resident Evil, Onimusha: Warlords), and the backbone of a major figure-skating routine back in the Sochi Olympics.


Japanese His world began to fall apart when the true composer of his songs, Takashi Niigaki (a part-time music teacher in Tokyo at the time) revealed the truth to the world. He alleged that Mamoru had paid him a fee of 70,000 USD for nearly two decades in exchange for his composing services. Takashi composed over 20 songs for Mamoru, including the classical hit ‘Symphony No. 1 Hiroshima’, dedicated to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb victims.

Whenever Takashi would feel skittish about this deal, Mamoru would threaten to kill himself and blackmail him into continuing the scam. Niigaki only came out when a Japanese figure skater and Olympic medallist Daisuke Takahashi expressed his desire to perform a routine with a Samuragochi composition in the backdrop. Niigake feared that this would put Daisuke’s as well as Japan’s international reputation in jeopardy. The biggest revelation? His deafness, which had been his USP among Japanese listeners, was fake.


Initially Mamoru Japanese attempted to cover this up, by claiming that ‘his hearing was slowly returning’. As the news gained traction, however, he began to face pressure and speculation from all sides and was forced to come out in the open and make a public confession (through his lawyer, not in person), where he admitted that while had had a hearing disability in the past, he had recovered enough of his hearing Japanese in previous years to no longer be considered legally deaf. His Hiroshima Citizens’ Award was revoked, and he was pressured into returning his disability certificate.

In the 6 years since, Mamoru’s name has been tainted among Japanese music circles, while Takashi is currently having a successful career, having performed at Hiroshima and Tokyo, and composed a symphony as well as a concerto. In our country, where frauds, ripoffs, and perceived lack of talent are the cause of major controversy in the music industry, it is up to the artists to learn from and be wary of indulging in incidents like these, where an artist sacrificed his artistic integrity and personal sense of ethics for a moment in the spotlight, but was eventually left much worse for the wear.

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