Yukihiro Takahashia prominent musician, percussionist, singer and fashion designer died on January 11, 2023, at the age of 70. The Yellow Magic Orchestra co-founder was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2020 and made many hospital visits throughout his recovery from the operation.
According to Takahashi’s management, Takahashi has been resting at his house in Karzuizawa, Nagano Prefecture since November 2022. However, he had pneumonia in early January, which worsened his health, according to Japanese daily Sponici. Takahashi died as a result of aspiration pneumonia caused by his neurological disorder.
Tributes are pouring in for Yukihiro Takahashi, who has died aged 70.
Yukihiro Takahashi was born in 1952 in Tokyo. He began his career as a musician while still in high school. Motivated by his older brother, Nobuyuki, he began drumming with college musicians while still in junior high school. Takahashi began working professionally as a studio musician at the age of 16, and in the 1970s, after playing for the Sadistic Mika Band, he achieved considerable fame in Japan. Yukihiro Takahashi’s 1977 solo album, Saravah!, was produced by Ryuichi Sakamoto after the trio disbanded.
Haruomi Hosono engaged Yukihiro Takahashi and Sakamoto in 1978 to record his album, Paraiso, which was billed to Hosono and the Yellow Magic Band. In the same year, the three musicians established the Yellow Magic Orchestra. Given Takahashi’s reputation and breadth of work, Twitter was flooded with condolences as soon as word of his death broke.
RIP Yukihiro Takahashi. pic.twitter.com/lwEBlikAnE
— Synth History (@synth_history) 14 January 2023
RIP Yukihiro Takahashi. He sadly passed away late last night.
YMO really was light years ahead. Can you believe it’s 1979?!? 🤯 pic.twitter.com/M43s2xetnO
— Louis La Roche 🌴 (@iamlouislaroche) 15 January 2023
Takahashi contributed to 23 solo albums.
Yellow Magic Orchestra became known for their album Yellow Magic Orchestra, which is a well-known example of the synthpop genre, which mixes computer technology, synthesizers and video game sounds. The fact that the album charted on both the Billboard 200 and Billboard R&B Albums shows its popularity.
Yukihiro Takahashi told Dublab in 2020:
“I never expected that music from the 1970s in Japan and city pop, which I have no relationship with, would become popular in the United States. I also find it peculiar that my music, as well as that of [others like] Akiko Yano and Haruomi Hosono are all classified as city pop.”
He continued, noting:
“In the 1970s, Japanese artists were inspired by Western fusion and pop. Japanese artists are typically quite technical, and even when they try to imitate Western music, the voices always sound distinctly Japanese. People in the West listening to such recordings probably seem , that they have a kitsch charm.”
Yukihiro Takahashi made seven albums with Yellow Music Orchestra and 23 solo albums. Life Anew, his latest album, was released in 2013. Takahashi’s previous projects include The Beatniks with Keiichi Suzuki, Sketch Show with Hosono, and Pupa with Tomoyo Harada and Hiroshi Takano, among others.