It is 17 January 2022 and that means that composer and musician Ryuichi Sakamoto celebrates his 70th birthday today. To mark the occasion and to offer encouragement to the revered musician as he continues his battle with cancer, his Japanese record label commmons has prepared a special anniversary website that explores his legendary career throughout the decades.
On the site, titled 10 Favourites – Ryuichi Sakamoto, a number of well-known Sakamoto lovers and friends will each introduce their personal 10 favourite Sakamoto compositions. Covering pieces from his 1978 solo album Thousand Knives to his 2021 compositions, these selections offer new perspectives on Sakamoto’s work, including the work of Yellow Magic Orchestra and many collaborations, leading to new discoveries and opening up new horizons.
Over the course of this year, you can expect new updates. In the first instalment, artist Shinro Ohtake introduces 10 songs by Ryuichi Sakamoto and explains what they mean to him. With a special hashtag, #私が選ぶ坂本龍一ベスト曲 (My choice of Ryuichi Sakamoto’s best songs) you can share your favourite song on Twitter and see what others are thinking. It might be inspiring you to discover something new by this renowned musician and composer.
Also this week, on the 19th of January, Sakamoto’s latest work Ieta will be released digitally. This new piano piece was written for a television commercial starring Haruna Kawaguchi for the contact lens brand CREO. Last year, Sakamoto’s official sheet music site published the score for Ieta, drawing attention for releasing the score ahead of the actual recording. The long-awaited release is the latest work from Sakamoto, who has continued composing even as he undergoes treatment for illness.