Yesterday, Mamoru Samuragochi, dubbed “Japan’s Beethoven” because of his deafness and wildly popular classical music, released a statement through his lawyer confessing that he has been using a ghost-composer to write his most iconic pieces for the past ten years.
“Samuragochi is deeply sorry as he has betrayed fans and disappointed others… it is totally inexcusable and he deeply regrets (what happened),” the lawyer said. “He is mentally distressed and not in a condition to properly express his own thoughts.”
This apology has set off waves of apologies.
Today, his ghost-composer, Takashi Niigaki, held a press conference, according to ABC, claiming that he does not even believe that Samuragochi is deaf and that he “cannot even write musical scores.”
“I continued to write pieces under Samuragochi’s instruction, knowing that he was deceiving the public, and releasing the music. I’m Samuragochi’s partner in crime,” Niigaki said. “In the end, I was an accomplice.’
“I am deeply sorry,” he said, according to The Japan Times, apologizing for deceiving the musicians “who gave brilliant performances” of the compositions.
Even the Japanese press have begun apologizing, as “major Japanese news media outlets expressed regret about failing to uncover Mr. Samuragochi’s deceit,” given how highly Samuragochi was revered among the Japanese.
“We want him to explain his behavior,” said the Asahi Shimbun, Japan’s second-biggest-selling newspaper, according to the NYT, “but the media must also consider our own tendency to fall for tear-jerking stories.”
Lastly, Japan’s national public broadcaster, which ran a documentary featuring Samuragochi touring post-tsunami disaster areas, issued apologies to viewers. Samuragochi’s record label, Columbia Music Japan, also apologized.
Authentic apologies, according to Dov Seidman, must meet these criteria:
- They must be painful. If an apology doesn’t create vulnerability and isn’t therapeutically painful, it’s not an apology at all.
- They must be authentic and not an excuse.
- They must probe deep into the personal or organizational values that permitted the offense.
- They must encourage feedback from the aggrieved.
- They must turn regret into a real change in behavior.
Both Samuragochi and Niigaki have apologized. Whose, so far, is more authentic? Are both parties equally responsible?
It is worth noting that the trigger to apologize on Niigaki’s part was due to Japanese figure skater Daisuke Takahashi’s decision to perform his men’s Olympics singles short program to “Sonatina for Violin,” a piece that Samuragochi confessed was written by Niigaki. Niigaki “could not bear the thought of skater Takahashi being seen by the world as a co-conspirator in our crime.”