Fake Japanese "Beethoven" Mamoru Samuragochi faces damage lawsuit

TOKYO (AFP) - The fraudulent composer once dubbed "Japan's Beethoven" is facing a lawsuit over the cancellation of his tour after it emerged he lied about his work and relied on a ghostwriter, reports said Tuesday.

Mamoru Samuragochi faces a damage suit brought by concert organiser Samon Promotion, which is seeking 61 million yen (S$673,000) from him because it had to cancel his tour after he admitted in February that he used a ghostwriter for his major works, TV Asahi said.

Samuragochi's lawyer has told Fuji News Network that the decision to cancel the tour was made by the firm, and the musician cannot be held responsible.

The lawsuit is latest chapter in Samuragochi's story once lapped up by Japan's often sentimental media, which cast him as a tortured genius robbed of the ability to hear the beautiful music he made.

Samuragochi shot to fame in the mid-1990s with classical compositions that provided the soundtrack to video games including Resident Evil, despite having had a degenerative condition that affected his hearing.

But he was forced to admit in February that he used a ghostwriter, who claimed that the mock maestro was not hearing-impaired - and couldn't even write sheet music.

The musician had claimed that he became completely deaf but continued to work, notably producing "Symphony No.1, Hiroshima", a tribute to those killed in the 1945 atomic bombing of the city.

In 2013 he was the subject of a major documentary aired by NHK, which showed the musician touring the tsunami-battered Tohoku region to meet survivors and those who lost relatives in the 2011 catastrophe.

Viewers flocked in their tens of thousands to buy his Hiroshima piece, which became an anthemic tribute to the tsunami-hit region and its determination to get back on its feet, known informally as the "Symphony of Hope".

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