This article is from the archive of our partner .

A Japanese composer, whose reputation went from deaf musical genius to hearing musical liar in the space of a few days, has confirmed that he isn't fully deaf following a damning interview with his ghostwriter.

Mamoru Samuragochi, 50, confessed last week that he had not actually written all of his critically-acclaimed works ahead of a tabloid article in which Takashi Nigaki, a music teacher at a prestigious music institute, said he has been ghostwriting for Samuragochi for 18 years. Nigaki added that he believes Samuragochi can hear, saying "At first he acted to me also as if he had suffered hearing loss, but he stopped doing so eventually." Now, Samuragochi is agreeing that he is not actually deaf. 

In an eight-page handwritten confession, Samuragochi admitted that he had regained some of his hearing over the past three years.

Takashi Niigaki. AP/Eugene Hoshiko

"It has recovered to an extent where I could sometimes grasp words when someone speaks clearly and slowly close to my ears, though it sounds muffled and skewed," he writes. According to CNN Samuragochi, who says he is "deeply ashamed of living a life of lies," is going all the way with his mea culpa: 

Stating that he planned to apologize to the public in person soon, Samuragochi added that he was prepared to have his hearing medically tested, and would forfeit his government-issued disability certificate if found ineligible. The eight-page letter also contained apologies to tsunami victims, for whom his most famous symphony had become an important symbol of resilience, and to Japanese Olympic figure skater Daisuke Takahashi, who planned to perform to another ghostwritten work in Sochi.

The Japanese Skating Federation said that they will remove Samuragochi's name from the program, but that the music will be used. Samuragochi says Takahashi's upcoming competition prompted him to make the revelation now. 

The scandal, though it may be ruining Samuragochi's good name, has actually been pretty great for his album sales, according to the Associated Press

Despite astonishment and outrage to the ghostwriting scandal, music credited to Mamoru Samuragochi is surging in sales. "Hiroshima" was No. 1 in classical CD sales in the latest Oricon weekly ranking and surged to No. 27 overall in Japan, selling more than 2,000 copies over the past week.

His label, however, said it will stop selling the albums, and his publisher said last week it is canceling an upcoming release of his scores. And here we thought nobody was paying for music anymore.  

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to