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  • 12 February 2014, 9:45

Japan's 'Beethoven' Says He Can Hear Again

A composer dubbed Japan's 'Beethoven' has revealed he has regained some of his hearing just a week after admitting he had paid someone to write music in his name.

Mamoru Samuragochi was heralded as an inspirational genius for composing despite allegedly losing his hearing.

In a hand-written statement he said he had suffered hearing loss and was not able to hear when he began paying a part-time university professor Takashi Niigaki to write music under his name, a collaboration that went on for 18 years.

"I feel deeply ashamed of myself for living a false life," Samuragochi wrote.

"I also apologise to Mr 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.

Mr Niigaki revealed he had earned just seven million yen (42,000) for writing more than 20 pieces and claimed Samuragochi's hearing disability was an act.

Samuragochi said he would appear in public soon to apologise and offered to have his hearing tested by experts.

German composer Ludwig van Beethoven began suffering hearing loss from about age 30 and withdrew from public performances while continuing to write music. He was almost totally deaf for the last decade of his life.

Samuragochi gained international fame for his Hiroshima Symphony, a tribute to the victims of the 1945 atomic bombing of the Japanese city.

Meanhile Japanese Winter Olympics medal hopeful, figure skater Daisuke Takahashi, said this week the revelation that Sonatina for Violin had not been composed by Samuragochi would have no bearing on his use of it during his short programme on Thursday in Sochi.

"I wasn't sure whether I could still use this music or not," he told reporters. "I didn't know the background when I chose it; I just liked the music.

"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."

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