Photo/Illutration Ryuichi Sakamoto with members of the Tohoku Youth Orchestra in Fukushima in 2019 (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Award-winning composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, despite a long battle with cancer, is to perform in public for the first time in three years when the Tohoku Youth Orchestra for which he serves as musical director will give a series of concerts in March.

Sakamoto, who is 70 and first found fame with the Yellow Magic Orchestra, will play the piano.

He was diagnosed with oropharynx cancer in 2014. He later returned to work, but then found in 2020 he also had rectal cancer.

The musician announced in January 2021 he would undergo surgery followed by a long recuperation. He is still receiving treatment.

The orchestra is comprised of students from areas devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster. Some are still in elementary school while others are already in college.

Sakamoto, who scored the soundtrack for the 1983 movie "Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence," in which he starred along with David Bowie, has thrown his energies into performing with the Tohoku Youth Orchestra in recent years.

The orchestra had been performing on a regular basis, but was forced to cancel concerts in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The orchestra will perform in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, the hardest hit areas in the 2011 disaster, from March 22 through 24 before taking the stage at the Suntory Hall in Tokyo on March 26.

The orchestra will also collaborate with Sayuri Yoshinaga at the Miyagi, Fukushima and Tokyo venues, and with Non at the Iwate venue.

The two actresses will perform recitations.

For more information about the concerts, visit the official website at (