Ryuichi Sakamoto is one of my favorite composers. His has released dozens of albums ranging from synthpop to minimal classical music to re-imagined bossa nova. He has collaborated with artists including Brian Wilson, David Byrne, Aztec Camera and Iggy Pop, and received an Academy Award for scoring 1987's The Last Emperor. In recent decades, Sakamoto has been an important spokesperson for copyright reform and Japan's anti-nuclear movement. It grieves me to read that Sakamoto san has been diagnosed with throat cancer. He has cancelled all of his upcoming appearances as he concentrates on treating the illness and "regaining my health". Doctors identified the cancer in June, Sakamoto wrote, just weeks before he was due to inaugurate the first annual Sapporo International Art Festival. As guest director, he has been working on the 2014 festival for "the past two painstaking years". "Although I will be absent, all of the programs will be of highest quality - this I promise. I would like nothing more than for everyone to enjoy the festival in my place."