In a story that expands well beyond the realm of video games and into the Japanese national news, deaf composer and national icon Mamoru Samuragochi has just admitted that he hired a ghost writer for the past 18 years and has been taking credit for music that was not his.
Labeled as a modern day “Japanese Beethoven,” Samuragochi has come out saying that he paid a ghost writer to complete all the songs that have won him acclaim over the last 18 years. In the video game world, this includes several compositions with Capcom for Resident Evil: Director’s Cut and the breakthrough video game, Onimusha: Warlords.
His work, especially with Onimusha, earned him a lot of praise as the game set a standard in 2001 for what video games were capable graphically and audibly with the new technology of the PlayStation 2. Man, that was a sweet console!
It might not be as impressive today, but at the time, this opening cutscene was out of this world. Creating a massive scale battle and recreating a living actor in CG, Takeshi Kaneshiro, was only capable in our dreams at the time. Let’s take a look back.
Beyond video games and into national news, a piece attached to his name ,“Sonatina for Violin,” will be used by Sochi Winter Olympic figure skater Daisuke Takahashi, who has refused to change the song in the face of this scandal. Why bother working out an entire new routine with the opening ceremonies just around the corner?
His most famous piece, “Hiroshima Symphony No 1” was written in 2003 and was dedicated to the victims of the atomic bomb dropping in 1945. It picked up prevalence in an NHK produced documentary on the survivors of the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake, and people throughout flocked to the CD by the tens of thousands for comfort.
Must be a shame for Samuragochi to have his passion destroyed by the limitations of his body, and then have to live with the guilt of taking credit for someone else’s work magnified by the fact he was lying to the people whose lives he touched. It’s hard to really point fingers because it is both dishonest and tragic.
Instead of scolding him, let’s take a minute to finally recognize Takashi Niigaki, the man who really created the Onimusha Warlords musical score. He enters video game history a little too late for our liking, and it was his musical score which helped push video games into a new age.
With that, let’s hope that Capcom doesn’t leave us hanging too long waiting to bring this series back to the forefront. Oh wait, they already did as a cheap little browser game. Oh Capcom…