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Japan’s Beethoven’ Admits to Employing Ghost Composer

TOKYO - A deaf composer hailed as Japan's Beethoven has admitted he did not compose all of his music, including a piece that is expected to be used by a Japanese figure skater during the Sochi Olympics.

A representative for 50-year-old Mamoru Samuragochi apologized to fans in a statement, and explained: "The creative process involved Samuragochi suggesting the structure and the images of a composition to an specific individual and have that person formalize it."

Composer Mamoru Samuragochi poses with a CD of his music in 2011.
Composer Mamoru Samuragochi poses with a CD of his music in 2011. Kyodo via AP

In other words, someone else took ideas suggested by Samuragochi and composed the music. The statement did not name the other individual.

Nippon Columbia, the distributor for the artist's CDs, said it was "completely shocked and angered by the revelation."

The discovery of the deception also cast a shadow over Daisuke Takahashi, a bronze medalist in the 2010 Olympics who had chosen a piece believed to be written by the ghostwriter for his short program.

However, the athletes' management team released a statement saying that neither Takahashi nor his team was aware of the fraud, and did not plan to change the content of his program at the upcoming Sochi Olympics.

Born in Hiroshima in 1963, Samuragochi began to lose his hearing in his 30s while also gaining attention composing music for video games.

In 2003, Samuragochi wrote Symphony No 1 "Hiroshima" -- a tribute to the tens of thousands killed by an American atomic bomb at the end of World War II -- that earned him a special honorary award from the city.

"If there was an error, he will not longer meet the conditions for the honorary award, and so naturally it will be retracted," Hiroshima's mayor Kazumi Matsui said.