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Japanese lyricist Rokusuke Ei dies

Rokusuke Ei Image copyright Kyodo News
Image caption The famed Japanese composer died in his home, according to relatives

Prominent Japanese lyricist Rokusuke Ei has died at the age of 83.

Of Chinese descent, he was best known for his work on the 1963 worldwide smash hit Sukiyaki, which protested against continued US military presence.

The song was released in 1961 and topped the US Billboard charts, selling more than 13m copies worldwide.

Relatives said Mr Ei suffered from Parkinson's disease and prostate cancer and died peacefully at home.

An established author and radio broadcaster, Mr Ei published several books, including a novel about death and illness which sold more than 20m copies.


Sukiyaki the song, not the dish

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Yummy beef stew but it's not the same Sukiyaki by Rokusuke Ei
  • Japanese title "Ue o Muite Aruko" (translates as: "I look up at the sky as I walk")
  • Lyrics by Rokusuke Ei, composed by Hachidai Nakamura and sung by Kyu Sakamoto
  • Became one of the most successful singles of all time, selling more than 13m copies worldwide
  • English title Sukiyaki has nothing to do with the famed Japanese sliced beef stew
  • Mr Ei wrote the song on his way back from a student demonstration protesting against the presence of US troops in Japan
  • You may not understand the lyrics but you'll recognise the tune: it has been covered by English artists and adapted with different lyrics

Fans in Japan paid tribute to the late star on Twitter, with many expressing their sympathy by remembering his iconic works.

"From early on, he had a great success in Japan's electrical wave media and music industry," reminisced radio personality Jon Kabira.

"While it's sad to see my great mentor depart, it has a sobering effect on me."

Other users shared lyrics and links to his songs.

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