Ryuichi Sakamoto diagnosed with cancer for the second time

The Yellow Magic Orchestra founder says he hopes to continue making music while "living alongside cancer"

Ryuichi Sakamoto, lauded composer and founder of the Yellow Magic Orchestra, has been diagnosed with cancer for the second time in a decade.

Sakamoto was originally diagnosed with throat cancer in 2014, a disease that he reveals is now in remission.

In a new note posted on his website, the composer detailed his new diagnosis of rectal cancer, stating his ambition to still make music “for a little while longer” while “living alongside cancer”.

“I was relieved after the throat cancer that I had in 2014 went into remission after six years,” he wrote. “However, unfortunately, I have been diagnosed with cancer again—this time, rectal cancer. The news was disheartening, but thanks to the excellent doctors I met, the surgery I underwent was a success. I am now undergoing treatment.”

He added: “Amid the overwhelming hardships that the medical institutions and healthcare workers face during this unprecedented pandemic, the sincerity with which everyone involved cares for their patients is nothing short of admirable. I want to express my heartfelt gratitude.

“Due to these circumstances, traveling long distances for work will be difficult. Still, I will continue to work as much as I can while in treatment. “There may be instances where I have to cancel work.”

Sakamoto continued: “I sincerely apologise for any inconveniences this may cause to those who are involved in ongoing projects. From now on, I will be living alongside cancer.

“But, I am hoping to make music for a little while longer. Thank you all so much for your continuing support.”

Sakamoto formed The Yellow Magic Orchestra in the late 1970s, and has worked alongside artists including Brian Wilson, Iggy Pop and David Byrne.

His latest album came in the form of 2017’s ‘async’, which has been followed since by a number of reissues from the orchestra’s back catalogue.

In 2019, the composer scored Black Mirror episode ‘Smithereens’.