'Japan's Beethoven' admits he 'regained hearing'

File photo: Mamoru Samuragochi Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Samuragochi's popular piece, Hiroshima Symphony No 1, is dedicated to victims of the 1945 atomic blast

A composer dubbed "Japan's Beethoven" has admitted he is not totally deaf, amid an ongoing scandal over his use of a ghostwriter.

Mamoru Samuragochi said in a statement to Japanese media that he regained some of his hearing three years ago.

Samuragochi shot to fame in the 1990s and is most famous for the piece Hiroshima Symphony No 1, dedicated to those killed in the 1945 atomic bomb.

But last week Takashi Niigaki said he composed music for Samuragochi.

The music teacher said last week that he had worked with Samuragochi for nearly two decades and had composed his critically-acclaimed works, including Hiroshima Symphony No. 1.

Mr Niigaki also said that he saw "no signs" Samuragochi could not hear.

In his statement on Wednesday, 50-year-old Samuragochi said his hearing had improved and he could follow conversations under certain conditions.

"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," he said.

"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."

Samuragochi said he would be issuing a public apology. "I feel deeply ashamed of myself for living a false life," he said.

His now defunct website stated he was taught how to play the piano by his mother when he was four and began playing Beethoven and Bach when he was 10.

He reportedly lost his hearing when he was 35 but continued to compose music, apparently relying on his "absolute pitch".

His Hiroshima Symphony No 1, completed in 2003, became a major classical music hit, selling more than 100,000 copies in Japan.

German composer Ludwig van Beethoven suffered from hearing loss before he became completely deaf.

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