Ryuichi Sakamoto (坂本 龍一, Sakamoto Ryūichi, born January 17, 1952) (Japanese pronunciation: [sakamoto ɽju͍ːitɕi]) is a Japanese musician, composer, record producer, pianist, activist, writer, actor and dancer, based in Tokyo and New York. He began his career whilst a university student as a session musician, producer, and arranger in the 1970s, first gaining major success in 1978 as one third of the electronic music group Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO). The band had worldwide hits such as "Computer Game / Firecracker" (1978), "Behind the Mask" (1978), and "Rydeen" (1979), playing a pioneering role in the development of the synthpop, techno and house genres.
He concurrently pursued a solo career, releasing the experimental electronic fusion album Thousand Knives (1978), and later released the pioneering album B-2 Unit (1980), from which "Riot in Lagos" influenced the development of electro and hip hop music. He went on to produce more solo records, collaborate with many international artists, and pursue a wide variety of projects, in different genres ranging from electronic to classical and world music. He composed music for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics opening ceremony, and his composition "Energy Flow" (1999) was the first instrumental number-one single in Japan's Oricon charts history.
As a film composer, he has won an Academy Award, BAFTA, Grammy, and two Golden Globe Awards, and has received three BAFTA nominations and four Golden Globe nominations. Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (1983) marked his debut as a film score composer and as an actor, and its main theme was adapted into the single "Forbidden Colours" which became an international hit. His most successful work as a film composer was The Last Emperor (1987), after which he continued earning accolades composing for films such as The Sheltering Sky (1990), Little Buddha (1993), and The Revenant (2015). On occasion, Sakamoto has also worked on anime and video games, as a composer as well as a scenario writer. In 2009, he was awarded the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from France's Ministry of Culture for his musical contributions.
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