Veteran Japanese folk songwriter Kyohei Tsutsumi has died

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Kyohei Tsutsumi, a veteran composer of popular Japanese songs that impacted the country’s music scene in the 1970s and 1980s, has died of aspiration pneumonia, sources familiar with the matter said on Monday. He was 80 years old.

Tsutsumi, real name Eikichi Watanabe, died at his home in Tokyo on Wednesday, the sources said. With a career spanning over half a century, he has composed around 3,000 songs, including the theme song of “Sazae-san”, the world’s longest-running animated television show and a household name in Japan that started airing in 1969.

The undated photo provided shows veteran composer Kyohei Tsutsumi while recording an album released in 1972. (Kyodo)

Tsutsumi has created a number of pop hits such as “Nantettate Idol” (An Idol No Matter What) sung by 1980s idol Kyoko Koizumi, affectionately known as Kyon Kyon, and “Blue Light Yokohama” by the singer and actress Ayumi Ishida. His recent works include “Ambitious Japan!” by Japanese all-male pop group Tokio in 2003.

In the same year, Tsutsumi received the Medal with Purple Ribbon, an honor bestowed on those who have contributed to academic and artistic developments.


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