Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Ryuichi Sakamoto
Went to Ryuichi Sakamoto's place yesterday. I don't get to see him very often since he moved from Tokyo back to New York. Ryuichi is one of my favorite musician/activists and is a great inspiration to me. He's very smart and is called kyoju (professor in Japanese) by his friends and is always thinking and studying. He's an outspoken anti-war activist and an environmentalist. I met Ryu Murakami through Ryuichi. Ryuichi was also responsible for getting me involved with the effort to invite the Dalai Lama to Japan. (They are good friends.)

The last time I saw him, we were both using Windows machines and this time we both had 15" Powerbooks. I showed off TraktorDJStudio and gave my blogging spiel. Ryuichi has a cool web page and is on a blog called codeblog but I tried to convince him to dive into it himself and get the full blown blogging community experience. I walked him through the tools and my favorite sites. Ryuichi sends out emails to a list several times a week with his thoughts on the environment and war and I think that having a strong voice in the blog space would be really cool for him.

I also got to see Sora-san and Neo again. The last time I saw Neo, he was still a little kid. It made me feel old seeing him so big. ;-)


Ryuichi Sakamoto's music is inspirational. His collaborations with David Sylvian et al, are some of the most memorable pieces of music I've ever heard.

You have seriously impressed me now Joi. Sakamoto-san is one of my all time hero's - and I don't have many... I hope he does find the time to set up a blog...

Hi, Joi.

I'm afraid Ryuichi Sakamoto's nickname isn't Hakase, but Kyoju (professor in Japanese).

I saw a demonstration of Traktor DJ Studio and tried it a little at a musical instrument shop in Ikebukuro the other day.
It looked and sounded nice, but ableton Live is more atrractive to me.
I have Cycling '74 Max/MSP, but it's very difficult to me when trying to make cool sounds. :-(
I've heard that you used to play as a DJ, but do you still do it sometimes?
I'm very interested in what you play when you do DJ.

Ooops! You're right oguradio. It's Kyoju. I fixed it. Sakamoto-san! Why didn't you find the mistake. ;-)

I've never tried ableton Live. Does it work on the Mac?

I used to DJ. I sometimes still do it for fun. My playlist? I am thinking of making a web page for that. ;-)

Hello, again.

Ableton Live works on both Macs (OS 9 and X) and Windows PCs and demo versions are available at the following url.
By the way, Haruomi Hosono, who is a member of an electronica unit called "Sketch Show" and one of Ryuichi Sakamoto's friends, reportedly likes to use it.
I saw his live performance last friday evening at Roppongi and he probably used it at the time. It sounded nice.
If you are interested in the software, maybe it's a good time to buy one for less, because "Ableton Evolution UC-33 Special Bundle Offer" is available until September 15th (coming soon!) at a price about 25% less than MSRP.
UC-33 is a MIDI controller with a lot of knobs, pads and sliders and I found it to be a so-so product in terms of smoothness of moving knobs and sliders, the size and feeling of its pads by actually operating it myself at a shop, because I wanted to make sure how is the quality before buying it.
I decided not to buy it this time in the end because of personal matters, but I think this offer by ableton is not so bad.
Also, the latest version of Live is 2.1.2 and it has been announced that those who are purchasing Live from now on can freely upgrade to the next version 3 with many interesting new features, part of which is also announced at ableton's website.

My #1 favorite dramatic movie is 'Merry Christmas Mister Lawrence'. Ditto the book-The Seed and the Sower by Laurens van der Post.

"Strafer Jack"Celliers, the soldier(Bowie) teaching prison camp commander Yanoi(Sakamoto) christian nonviolence is the most moving portrayal since Gregory Peck. Camp sargent Hara(Takeshi) re-deploying the lesson to Captain Lawrence and Celliers in return is one of cinemas most bittersweet moments.

I've collected many of Ryuichis's recordings and find him a most outstanding musical painter.

Give him my regards when you see him and tell him we are all praying and keeping the faith. There are few, if any Muhatma Gandhis or Martin Luther Kings in todays conflicts, and there seem to be only Yanoi types instead; so well portrayed by Mr. Sakamoto.


Interesting person and musician. Which are the "classics" of Sakamoto? I'be interested in starting collecting some cd.

Hello, My name is Vicky from Sydney Australia. I only recently discovered some of Ryuichi's music. Since I have never seen a CD here in Australia, its been hard to find, I managed to hear a few and I must say, I am dying to hear more, I think the music is so very inspirational, I write music, and sing myself, and its very inspiring to hear such talent. I wish I could tell him that myself. Never ever stop! let the music flow for all time, and let it fill the world with beauty.

I have recently gotten the Soundtrack to "Merry Xmas Mr. Lawrence" and "Illustrated Musical Encyclopedia" on CD and they are great! Thank you Ryuichi for the great music....Joi...please tell Mr. Sakamoto to do a concert in Toronto, Canada...


My! Those of youwho are discovering Sakamoto's music have a long way to go!!!! And such a beautiful one! It depends on what are yousearching, but you'll see you can find almost any type of music. For instance - a dive into electronics as in his collabrotion album with Alva Noto "Vriooon" or a classic piece as in "Life" or "BTTB"; some pop (whatever that is..) in "Sweet Revenge" or "Beauty" name it! He's the best! Love and peace to you all from Portugal.

Just watched "Femme Fetale". Sonically appropriate...engaging harmonies (thank G_d there's a few around who hear well)..very compelling clone of the truly plodding "Bolero" (Ravel must have lost a bet). The F. Horn with the repeating phrase is a very good audio bit. Where was it lifted from? Sounds like the WW, Brass, and Str sweetening over quite believable samples. If I'm wrong about that, I apologize. Very much dug the etherial sound used in the hallway (outside the hotel room). Also I heard a 'forced' nod to Pino Donaggio in a couple of string pasages (hope it was not your idea....that pedestrian, over the top glop). Nice work.

y'a t'il quelqu'un en France qui aime Sakamoto?


..Am trying all avenues to obtain Sakamoto's e-mail.. we are filming a documentary - teaching dance in a prison for males aged 13-19 in Highland N.Y. ... it has been successful so far and an extreemely moving experiece. Susan Slotnick, the extraordinary teacher, loves Sakamoto's music and wants to use it. We need to get in contact .. don't know if this is the proper channel but..

My name is Susan Slotnick. I teach dance to incarcerated young men. I use Ryuichi Sakamoto's compositions to accompany the dancers because of the themes of saddness and hope that I hear in his music.
I also want the young men to be exposed to music that they would not normally listen to so that something new can happen for them in the midst of t repetitive prison life.
I am asking for help in reaching Mr. Sakamoto or his representives so that I contact him about a documentary film that is currently proposed about my work in the prison facillity. My Email is

I have admired Ryuichi-san's work for a long time and think that "Forbidden Colours" is one of the most amazing pieces ever. Anyone who worked with David Sylvian, i.m.h.o. has to be excellent.
There was an interesting article on Ryuchi in the UK's Financial Times magazine a couple of weeks ago. Just like Sylvian he is one of the great talents in music but appears to be totally modest.
I've often wondered what he felt about being in the movie "Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence". I don't want to put a downer on this remarkable site but if anyone is interested in reading the true story of the "Sergeant Hara" of the film - he was based on a real-life WWII prison camp guard -a brutal beast whose name was "Mori" - please take a look at my writings under the paragraph "The Evil Gunso Mori" on the following link:
Mori was hanged at the Far East War Crime Trials in 1946 in Singapore. Unfortunately, there was no such story of redemption for him...
Anyone interested in more information on this please contact me.

I'm born and raised in the LA area and am a big fan of David Bowie. I went to see Merry Christmas Mr. Lawerence that's where I first saw Ryuichi and was blown away, so I started looking up all kinds of info on him have seen all the films he's been in and have been a huge fan of his works from his movie scores to his days in YMO. I also made my mother and aunt big fans too. Now I think even more of him with his anti war stand and hearing from people that have meet him say he's real down to earth. I just wanted to say I really think he's great.

Just want to say, that Ryuichi's music is as beautiful as music was ment to be...
When I put one of his cd's on, it all turns quiet in me...

Dear Joi Ito !
Thank You very much !!
If Ryu looks at Henry T.Laurency site,he would be able to change this world. This is not a joke.(!!!) He should take a few days of holidays and read Laurency. Laurency is very very important for Ryuichis development. Gott gebe uns Segen !!! Please RUN !!!

Ryuichi is the apostle of refinement. His aesthetics shows very clearly that he belongs to the spiritual aristocracy of this world. He is master of colours. (sound-design and his sophisticated harmonies) And how he shapes his melody, it shows that Ryuichi has a very special kind of emotional intelligence…(higher emotional) If you look movie “SUSPIRIA” from Dario Argento, you can find that kind of subtle magnetism ,close to Jean Cocteau and Sakamoto. If you hear Sakamotos soundtrack for Furyo (sound-design) and if you listen to his collaboration with David S.(Davids solo works) and V.Astley, you can notice that his expression is completely Rosicrucian.Ryu,David S. and Dario Argento are 3 Rosicrucians. Unfortunately, they are not aware of this fact. I know one composer who does very similar music to that what Ryuichi does. Ryuichi would be very shocked. Her name is Lorelei and she is Imperator of R+C order. Unfortunately, she is also the most beautiful woman in the world… P.S. Ryu is reading Laurency???P.S.2 Sorry,my English is a bit funny.

I saw a face
It was a face I didn´t know
Her sadness told me everything about my
Yes Fratres et Sorores, those guys are R+C. Bring them back home! (They deserved that)
Protheus F.R.C.

Once i my dream i heard the most beautiful music that one can imagine. When i woke up I thought: "I heard it! Now I can die!" ( I was so happy... ) It was an imaginary collaboration between ELISABETH FRASER from Cocteau Twins and RYUICHI SAKAMOTO. There is something wrong in this world. You can't motivate people to work together. Is it really so hard ? LOVE AND FREEDOM, ALEX

Hello to all,

Regarding Merry Christmas Mr Laurance! is the piece of music associated with the Movie only available on the actual soundtrack recording? i believe it was released as a single? but unable to find a reference to it seperately..
I need to hear that music again...

Ryuichi is the greatest musician of XXI century, since he made MC, Mrs Lawrence, her name stay in my mind and heart. The genious appear to me and a new music world begun. In Brasil have a lot of affectionate fans. like musician the revolution make see more things about composition and harmony. Thank you Sakamoto. Thank you Joi Ito to this manifestation. Viva a música mundial. É claro sou brasileiro, mas e daí, a linguagem musical de Sakamoto está além de seu tempo, e para aqueles que o desconhecem.... sorry, estão perdendo uma luz de genialidade infinita. Quisera poder ver nos rincões de meu nsensato país, escolas de musicas abrangentes e fiéis aos músicos geniais que existem espalhados neste planeta.

Hello there I am a great fan of Ryuichi Sakamoto and have been since I heard Yellow Magic Orchestra too long ago. I have a vinyl disc recording of Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence and have played it often. My love of his music was rejuvenated when Mototronic was released and since then I have been on a mission to collect his CDs - not as easy as it would seem hard to find in Australia and I have had to order some on the internet.
However what I am searching for now is sheetmusic for the piano. My 16 yo daughter has discovered his music and wants to play some of his work for her senior music performance at school. Does anyone know where we can buy the sheetmusic. Thank you Libby & Rosie

yes, i've also been wanting to get a hold of official sheet music from Ryuichi's beautiful piano pieces. hopefully someone will grant our wish.

From Ryuichi Sakamto:

here are some..

"/04" CD

"/04" music book


"BTTB" music book

Dear Ryuichi,
one question please:
with synth did you use on your "Beauty" in the song "Chinsagu no Hana"? A Yamaha CS-80? This song became my musical credo for all the time. It´s a pity, that I don´t understand the lyrics.
Best greetings from Vienna,
Wolf-Christoph Müller
P.S.: If you spend the time for answering, thnax a lot in foreward!

I think on "Chinsagu no Hana" he used Fairlight CMI and Prophet. Or ??

Alexandar has wright ! If Ryuichi reads Henry T. Laurencys books, he will be able to change this world. / ! ! ! /

Valerie Allegra de Mani

p.s. ! ! !

FOR MR. RYUICHI SAKAMOTO / The greatest Apostle of Refinement /

In LVX, Valerie

o.k. Joi, it was a joke !
Sakamoto & Sylvian are simply the best !


Hi my mum asked me if i could find the sheet music to your song "Energy Flow" this seems to be the only song she wishes to known how to play on piano. so buying a whole book would be pointless and expensive im not sure if you will reply to this but i was wondering if you could possible provide the sheet music to Energy Flow without any expence on my part. Im not sure if you will even consider doing this for me but if it's not too much trouble any reply would be nice thanks.


can you please tell me, where can I buy/download Sakamoto's sheet music?

Send all your comments via email

thanks beforehand.

To buy his s.m. you have to travel to JAPAN...
Isn't it so Ryu ?

Alex 2

Ryuichi met Richard last time about twelve years ago ...

Another great sound designer ...

THE shadows fall about the way;
Strange faces glimmer in the gloom;
The soul clings feebly to the clay.
For that, the void; for this, the tomb!

But Mary sheds a blessed light;
Her perfect face dispels the fears.
She charms Her melancholy knight
Up to the glad and gracious spheres.

O Mary, like a pure perfume
Do thou receive this failing breath,
And with Thy starry lamp illume
The darkling corridors of death!


Ave People !

There are plenty of important composers who have a very good techique of composing. But what is so special in Sakamoto's case ?
He has simply the most beautiful sense for music-aesthetic. If you look on Sakamoto's work from that point of view, then he appears to be the most important composer of all times. Yes, you read right. Once more, THE MOST IMPORTANT COMPOSER OF ALL TIMES !!!!!

Another reference for Ryuichi:

He "should" watch Dario Argentos films ( Suspiria, Phenomena, Tenebre, Sleepless, The Card Player ... ) very carefully if he wants to find visual equivalence to his own work. ( And don't forget: Darios Gialo or Horror expression is just a mask ... )

Antonio de Mani & friends from Austria

Dear R,
stop smoking and take care of You !!!


To be the most important composer of all times must be pretty awful. One feels very alone.
We can only hope that people like David Sylvian are able to understand Ryuichi's potential even if they never studied classical composition.
Well, Ryuichi would say " don't study at the university, buy computer and make music "
It is not easy to be objective if you already ...

p.s Techodelic and B.G.M. are great albums ...

Well, my brother forgot to mention that he found today Ryuichi Sakamoto in William Gibson's latest book " Pattern Recognition ".
He, he, well done William !

Dear Ryuichi,

to read only Marvin Minsky & H. Moravec is very riskful.
There are so many other things...

Lotte from Vienna

Dear Ryuichi & dear people,

Help Michael Brecker !!!

desperately trying to find the music from the obscure film tokyo decadence / topaz. probably not the favorite of many fans, but if anyone would know ....

Dear Joi,

Thank you for being an emissary of sorts for Mr. Sakamoto. It is nice to have people like you linking us to artists who maintain low public profiles.

I recently saw the movie Babel, and the best thing about the film was the music in the last scene, which I just learned was composed by Mr. Sakamoto. Like many of the people here, I am seeking the sheet music for that particular piece ("Bibo No Aozoro"). If there's anything you can do to help me find it, I will be willing to pay for it. I live in New York City, if that helps Mr. Sakamoto any. Please contact me at

Thank you!

Yes Antonio,

I agree with you. Ryuichi sometimes feels very lonely. People like Ennio Morricone, David Sylvian & Thomas Dolby are able to understand Ryuichi's enormous talent but only partialy. Ennio would be able to notice his sense for beautiful melody and atmosphere. People like David Sylvian, Thomas Dolby and Richard Barbieri his sense for sound-design and beautiful harmonies ( beautiful modulations / changes ). Adi Newton from Clock Dva & Ralf Hutter from Kraftwerk would imediately notice his extraordinary sense for technodelic-groove ( CD "Futurista", Intro groove from maxi "Neo Plant", Steppin'into Asia, etc... ).
But who would dare and say together with me
" Ryuichi is not composer, he is an AVATAR, someone like Buddha or Christ " !?

Sounds strange ?

Wait a bit and you'll see ...

Kind regards

from the patagonia argentina, sea, rocks, snow, winter hard weather and beatiful spring time, and windy hot summer. thanx Ryuichi for the amazing sound you do to the world

Dear Ryuichi !

"The Woods" from Chick Corea is a beautiful peace. I don't like his new stuffs but on Mad Hatter he showed that he's able to create an amazing atmosphere. I don't no why but "The Woods" from Chick Corea somehow reminds me on your "Furyo". I know that Chick Corea heard about you because we spoked once about you and your work. But for Joe Zawinul the name "Sakamoto" is just one of a million of japanese names. It is pity that he never heard your music, because he is also very good sound designer ( unfortunately jazz-man and ...). What do you think about musicians like Jean-Luc Ponty, Andreas Vollenweider ( his first 4 albums )? Pittoresque or art ?

Greetings from Mia


Such beautiful and modern harmonies like in "In a Forest of Feathers" from Ryu you'll not find in the 20st & 21st Century music ( this is just one small example of his enormous genius )
Ryu is the greatest composer known to me either in person or by name. He has the most profound taste.
If we lose him we will lose MUSIC and without music we will also lose VISION and without vision there is NO WAY !


Interesting link for Ryu & his fans:

There are plenty of people ( for example many jazz musicians ) who believes that people like Herbie Hancock, Quincy Jones, George Duke & Ryuichi Sakamoto make funky-music only for money. The reason why those people believe in this is simply because they have not any feeling for funk or techno-funk groove. From this youtube video with Herbie & Quincy one can see absolutely clear how deep those guys are in it.

Hi Joi san, I'm Trisha from London UK. If you see Sakamoto san please tell him that I absolutely adore him and his music so much, and that I used 3 pieces of his piano music from BTTB as part of my mother's funeral service on Tuesday 12th June 2007, namely, 'Aqua', 'Energy Flow' and 'Railroad Man'. It all came together perfectly and it was beautiful and conveyed just the right amount of feeling for the occasion, and everytime I hear this music now, it will always be special for me. In fact, if I closed my eyes, I could almost imagine that he was actually there playing for me. Thank you Ryuichi...and hey, if you ever come to London, I would love to give you a nice day out. Come to my house, eat some Japanese food,(we're an English/Japanese family) and we live in a green belt area, so plenty of countryside, nature walks etc., it's nice and o tsukete, mata ne.


His all time favorite peaces of music are 'Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence' by Ryuichi Sakamoto and the music from the movie 'Taxi Driver' by Bernard Herrman.

Hi there
I am a painter in Toronto Canada of Italian heritage. I paint astrological charts of those who have influenced my aesthetics and make me the person I am.
I exhibit my paintings with Taksu Gallery in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: They are going to show the painting I did of Mr. Sakamoto's chart on plexi glass in circular formation at the upcoming Singapore Art Fair October 9-13, 2008. I wold like to send him a picture of the painting but I don't read Japanese and his site is refreshingly confusing for contact information. Do you know how I might send him a photo? It's not on my site yet...The piece has got such amazing response and I made it while listening to Mr. Sakamoto's repertoire, something I've owned since my teenage years...All the best and I hope you get to see the painting too one day. Ciao for now, Lori-Ann


Can anyone give me the lyrics to "Chinsagu no Hana" from the movie "The Japanese Story"?

Arvi (from Manila,Philippines)

I remember hearing him for the first time in the
early 90's in a little Northwest , Seattle coffee shop
I believe it was work he had done with David Sylvian...
maybe Orpheus, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Neo Geo....
he has been my phantom ever since. I am a digital
artist living in the U.S and of Korean descent....I
would be second generation. I was 7years old when
we came to the U.S. I have a great love for both Eastern
and Western cultures ....and all cultures ! His is a
sensitivity and aesthetic for music that I've never encountered
before. I was very happy to come across some photos
and information about Ryuichi Sakamoto.

from the patagonia argentina, sea, rocks, snow, winter hard weather and beatiful spring time, and windy hot summer. thanx Ryuichi for the amazing sound you do to the world
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