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Published: Thursday February 13, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Thursday February 13, 2014 MYT 11:22:44 AM

Japan's Beethoven insists he used to be deaf until three years ago

TOKYO: The fraudulent composer dubbed “Japan’s Beethoven” said he was “deeply ashamed” about his nearly two decades of deception, but insisted that he did use to be deaf.

Mamoru Samuragochi said his impairment had improved in recent times, but when he first paid part-time music school teacher Takashi Niigaki to pen works in his name, he had been unable to hear.

“I feel deeply ashamed of myself for living a false life,” Samuragochi said in a hand-written statement.

“I also apologise to Niigaki, whose life went wrong because of complying with my demands for 18 years.

“In recent years, I have started to be able to hear a little bit more than before ... since about three years ago I can hear words if people speak clearly and slowly into my ears.

“It is true that I received a certificate proving I had a hearing disorder and that I couldn’t hear anything up until three years ago,” he said.

The scandal broke last week when Samuragochi, who is credited with being behind an anthemic tribute to the tenacity of Japan’s tsunami survivors, admitted he had been paying someone else to write his music for nearly two decades.

A day later, Niigaki came forward to hold a lengthy press conference in which he revealed he had earned just seven million yen (RM232,575) for writing more than 20 pieces and claimed Samuragochi’s hearing disability was an act.

His lawyers said yesterday they had also been duped by his pretence.

“We had explained to journalists that he was mostly likely deaf, because he had an official certificate showing he was hearing-impaired,” they said in a statement.

“We had also taken on board what a sign language interpreter had said and what our own impressions were. As a result we were wrong.”

“I’m determined to quit telling lie after lie. I swear by heaven and earth that what I write here today is the truth,” Samuragochi’s statement said.

“I feel I am finally ready, so I promise I will make my direct apology publicly sometime soon.” — AFP

Tags / Keywords: Regional, world

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