Ryuichi Sakamoto plays what may be his last concert following cancer diagnosis

Ryuichi Sakamoto has played what could possibly be his last concert following his cancer diagnosis.

Last year, the lauded composer and founder of the Yellow Magic Orchestra, was diagnosed with cancer for the second time in a decade. Sakamoto was originally diagnosed with throat cancer in 2014, which is now in remission, but shared details of a rectal cancer in 2021.

At the time, the composer stated his ambition to still make music “for a little while longer” while “living alongside cancer,” and this month he hosted a new livestreamed concert, titled ‘Ryuichi Sakamoto: Playing the Piano 2022’ and made up of four separate performances spliced together.

Reflecting on the concert in a statement on his official website, the composer said: “My strength has really fallen, so a normal concert of about an hour to ninety minutes would be very difficult.”

He concludes: “As a result, I’ve recorded it song by song and edited it together so it can be presented as a regular concert – which I believe can be pleasureable in the normal way. Enjoy.”

Watch footage from the concert below, alongside a message from Sakamoto, in which he said: “I don’t have the energy to do live concerts… This might be the last time that you will see me perform in this manner.”

Last month, Sakamoto announced ’12’, his first non-soundtrack studio album in nearly six years.

The album is set to arrive on January 17 via Milan Records, and follows up 2017’s ‘async’. It was recorded throughout 2021 and 2022, with each of its dozen tracks titled after the dates they were written.

Sakamoto has stayed busy since ‘async’ arrived in 2017, recording soundtracks for a range of film and television projects. Those have included the 2019 Black Mirror episode ‘Smithereens’ and last year’s Netflix film Beckett. Last month, Sakamoto released a soundtrack for the Netflix anime series Exception.

This month also saw the release of a Sakamoto tribute album titled ‘To The Moon And Back’. The compilation, released via Milan Records, includes reworks of Sakamoto’s songs by Thundercat (whose “remodel” of ‘Thousand Knives’ was released recently), Devonté Hynes (Blood Orange), Fennesz, the Cinematic Orchestra and more.