Ryuichi Sakamoto Composed Anthem for Tokushima College before He Died

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Ryuichi Sakamoto

The school song of a new vocational college in Kamiyama, Tokushima Prefecture, has been credited to the musician Ryuichi Sakamoto, who died on March 28 at the age of 71.

According to his record company, it was the world-renowned artist’s last composition.

Although the song was unfinished, Kamiyama Marugoto College of Design, Engineering and Entrepreneurship, had received Sakomoto’s permission to perform the piece at its inaugural entrance ceremony on Sunday.

The school announced that Sakamoto was the composer of the anthem at the ceremony at around 1:30 p.m., before his death had been reported.

“Sakamoto, who is battling cancer, composed the music on his computer despite his poor health,” Curriculum Director Naoki Ito said in tears.

An instrumental version of the unfinished composition was played at the ceremony, during which anthem lyrics by singer UA were projected on a screen. When the piece had finished, the attendees erupted in applause.

The school, which has 44 inaugural students, is the first vocational college to open in Japan in 19 years. It approached Sakomoto last year to ask if he would compose its anthem.

According to the school, the Oscar-winning composer was reluctant to hand over the unfinished song, but agreed to do so to celebrate the arrival of the new students.

The school, which plans to complete the song, posted a statement on its website on Monday saying: “We regret to hear of the passing of Sakamoto. We were hoping that one day he would get to see our students sing the anthem. We will treasure the song.”

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