Yukihiro Takahashia prominent musician, percussionist, singer and fashion designer passed away on January 11, 2023 at the age of 70. The co-founder of the Yellow Magic Orchestra was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2020 and made many hospital visits while recovering from surgery.
According to Takahashi’s management, Takahashi has been resting at his home in Karzuizawa, Nagano Prefecture since November 2022. However, according to the Japanese daily Sponichi, he contracted pneumonia in early January, which caused his health to deteriorate. Takahashi died due to aspiration pneumonia caused by his neurological condition.
Tributes pour in for Yukihiro Takahashi, who died at the age of 70.
Yukihiro Takahashi was born in 1952 in Tokyo. He started his career as a musician while still in high school. He was motivated by his older brother, Nobuyuki, and started playing drums with college musicians while still in 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, achieved considerable fame in Japan. Yukihiro Takahashi’s 1977 solo album, Saravah!, was produced by Ryuichi Sakamoto after the trio disbanded.
Haruomi Hosono enlisted Yukihiro Takahashi and Sakamoto in 1978 to record his album Paraiso, which was billed to Hosono and the Yellow Magic Band. That same year, the three musicians founded the Yellow Magic Orchestra. Given Takahashi’s fame and scope 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) January 14, 2023
RIP Yukihiro Takahashi. He sadly passed away late last night.
YMO was truly light years ahead. Can you believe this is 1979?!? 🤯 pic.twitter.com/M43s2xetnO
— Louis La Roche 🌴 (@iamlouislaroche) January 15, 2023
Takahashi contributed to 23 solo albums.
Yellow Magic Orchestra became known for their album Yellow Magic Orchestra, a well-known example of the synthpop genre, which combines computer technology, synthesizers and video game sounds. The fact that the album has charted on both the Billboard 200 and the Billboard R&B Albums shows its popularity.
Yukihiro Takahashi told Dublab in 2020:
“I never expected music from the 1970s in Japan and city pop, which I have no relationship with, to become popular in the United States. I also find it odd 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 performers are typically quite technical, and even when trying to imitate Western music, the voices always sound distinctly Japanese. People in the West who listen to such recordings probably think they have a kitschy charm.”
Yukihiro Takahashi has made seven albums with Yellow Music Orchestra and 23 solo albums. Life Anew, his most recent 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.