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#55 March 5, 2024
Death of Two People
This year, I lost two people who were dearest to me. On November 19th, my mother passed away at the age of 96, and Ryuichi Sakamoto on March 28th at the age of 71.
I met Sakamoto in 1986 after I returned from my year in New York. Aki Ikuta, a childhood friend of mine and producer of Yellow Magic Orchestra, brought us together. Sakamoto’s “Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence'' was released in 1983, followed by “The Last Emperor'' in 1987, in which Ikuta appeared in the role of a Japanese doctor. Young people of Japan and beyond were raving about Sakamoto’s music and every action he made at that time. Once when we were walking the streets of Los Angeles, crowds were quickly formed and flocked toward him, and we were completely caught up.
However, in 1988, Aki Ikuta, who gave me the opportunity to meet Sakamoto, perished in an accident in Mexico, where his car fell off a cliff in Perta Vallarta. It was such an unacceptable, untimely death. It felt as if an angel had suddenly disappeared into the sky.
I learned from Sakamoto that it was possible for Asian people to turn over the whole world. Spending time with him always gave me a sense of confidence and assuredness. I don't think I would be where I am today, if not for the time we shared.
My mother was a caring, stylish person. Likewise, Sakamoto’s mother, who was a hat designer, was kind and really fashionable.
The two people are now gone. And I'm traveling the world alone at the end of 2023, in bitter cold China, feeling that their deaths have taught me what I’ve got to do, ultimately.