Mamoru Samuragochi, who was lauded as "Japanese Beethoven" for composing hits despite being deaf, recently made headlines after he admitted that he hired a ghostwriter instead of penning his own music. Takashi Niigaki, the writer, additionally doubted the 50-year-old star's hearing impairment as he "saw no signs that he couldn't hear."
On Tuesday, February 11, Samuragochi released a statement in which he apologized for "betraying" his fans and addressed Niigaki's accusation. "I want to apologize deeply to the many the people I betrayed and hurt. I am now deeply ashamed of living this way, kidding myself," he wrote.
He went on to reveal that he indeed could hear as he regained his hearing three years ago. "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," he continued.
"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 insisted. He closed his statement with a promise to apologize in public in the near future.
Samuragochi, who claimed that he lost his ability to hear at the age of 35, gained international fame for his "Hiroshima Symphony" which is a tribute to the victims of the 1945 atomic bombing. Last week, he admitted that he had been paying Niigaki to write his music for nearly two decades. The partnership between the two composers ended last year.
"I started hiring the person to compose music for me around 1996, when I was asked to make movie music for the first time," Samuragochi said last week, as cited by NHK. "I had to ask the person to help me for more than half the work because the ear condition got worse."
Niigaki received 7 million yen (about $69,999) to write more than 20 pieces for Samuragochi. The pieces include one that's being used by figure skater Daisuke Takahashi for his short program at the Sochi Olympics.
After the scandal broke, Takahashi said he "wasn't sure whether [he] could still use this music or not." He added, "It wasn't something I was aware of. I hope this problem will be solved, but I am still happy to be able to use this music for skating."