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Japan's Beethoven says he regained hearing years ago

THE MAN once lauded as Japan's Beethoven has said he can partially hear in a new disclosure following the revelation his Hiroshima symphony and other famed musical compositions were ghostwritten.

Despite astonishment and outrage at the ghostwriting scandal, music credited to Mamoru Samuragochi is surging in sales. Hiroshima was No 1 in classical CD sales and surged to No 27 overall in Japan, selling more than 2000 copies over the past week.

In his eight-page handwritten statement, released to the Japanese media through his lawyer, Samuragochi said he had regained part of his hearing three years ago. He apologised for the row and for failing to explain to his fans sooner.

The scandal erupted last week when his ghostwriter revealed he wrote music credited to Samuragochi for 18 years.

Samuragochi said: "(My hearing) has recovered to the level I can catch words when someone speaks close to my ear clearly and slowly, although it still sounds a bit muffled and distorted."

He stood by his identity as a Hiroshima native and insisted his parents were survivors of the 1945 US atomic bombing.

Samuragochi, 50, confessed to the collaboration the day before a tabloid magazine published an interview with the ghostwriter.

Takashi Niigaki, a 43-year-old lecturer at a music college, said he has believed all along his partner could hear, given the way the pair discussed his compositions.

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