Mamoru Samuragochi (佐村河内守) is a formerly famous and world renowned music composer.
He “composed” the music for the Resident Evil series and a moving tribute for the victims of the Hiroshima nuclear bombings. He was lauded throughout the world, that is until a secret was exposed about him that reverberated throughout the world.
Mamoru Samuragochi was born on September 21, 1963 in Hiroshima. Both of his parents had been exposed to nuclear radiation from the bombings at the end of WWII. At the age of 4 he began playing music. He loved music. During high school he began to suffer from severe migraines, and began to lose his hearing. By the time he was 35, he was completely deaf. Yet, despite these setbacks he persevered and taught himself how to compose music, without going to any music school.
In 1998 he worked with the game giant Capcom to compose the music for the highly successful Resident Evil and Onimusha series. These tunes were lauded for helping to create the creepy and haunting atmosphere in those games. But he reached real popular fame when he released “Symphony No. 1: ‘Hiroshima'” in 2003. It was a tribute to the victims of the atomic bombings, including his own parents.
In 2008, he was awarded a citizen’s award by the Governor of Hiroshima for his artistic work. In March of 2013 he was the subject of a 50 minute TV documentary called Melody of the Soul: The Composer Who Lost His Hearing. This also documented his trip to the areas affected by the 2011 earthquake and nuclear meltdown. There his Hiroshima work became a theme song of survival.
In the documentary scenes of how his condition would leave him crippling in pain on a bed at his home, showed how he continued to persevere each day. He was a national idol and gave hope to a nation that had been rocked to its core. It was a beautiful story of human strength, goodness, perseverance, and hope. But…
On Febuary 5th, 2014, viewers of the Sochi Olympics were interrupted by a sudden news break. It was a press conference held by an Adjunct Music Professor of Toho Gakuen School of Music in Tokyo, named Takashi Niigaki (新垣隆). He made an earth shattering announcement. Samuragochi was neither deaf nor was he a composer. Niigaki had composed all of Samuragochi’s work. He claimed that Samuragochi couldn’t even read music.
Niigaki claimed that he was finally coming out with the truth because Japanese Olympic skater Daisuke Takahashi was to perform to Samuragochi/Niigaki’s “Sonata for Violin”, and Niigaki could not bear to see this world-class skater perform to this fraud before the world.
On February 12th, Samuragochi released a written statement that mostly confirmed Niigaki’s claims. He admitted that he had paid Niigaki to ghostwrite his work, and that he was not totally deaf. He still claimed that he was partially deaf and had a disability certificate (he later admitted that he had returned the certificate). Following the revelation, the city of Hiroshima revoked the award given Samuragochi.
Rather than slink away into ignominity and shame, a month later Samoragochi came out swinging back in his own press conference. He ditched his shades, long hair, cane, and glove that he claimed was because of his “condition”. Samuragochi claimed that Niigaki had lied as well. He insinuated that Niigaki’s true reasons for revealing the truth was less patriotic as much as it was greed. He stated that over the years, Niigaki kept on demanding more and more money for his work. Finally, Niigaki must have realized that he could make more money by going public. Samuragochi said that he had hired a lawyer to sue Niigaki for defamation.
The drama of Samuragochi and Niigaki continues to this day, and no one may ever know the full truth. The one thing this revelation did was further demoralize a country that has already been through enough.
It makes one think, is a lie that gives hope better than a truth that evaporates it?