Yukihiro Takahashi, the musician best known as the drummer and lead vocalist of Yellow Magic Orchestra, passed away on January 11, 2023 from aspiration pneumonia due to a brain tumor. He was 70 years old at the time of his passing. He announced in 2020 that he underwent surgery for a brain tumor, and had been receiving treatment since then.
Takahashi was born in Tokyo, and was already working as a studio musician while he was still in high school. During college, he first performed as the drummer for Sadistic Mika Band, and the band later toured in the United Kingdom and other countries.
He then formed Yellow Magic Orchestra with Haruomi Hosono and Ryuichi Sakamoto in 1978. The group’s pioneering technopop sound with synthesizers became popular not only in Japan, but also on overseas tours. Their hits include the song “Rydeen” and the 1981 albums BGM and Technodelic. In addition to drumming and singing for the group, Takahashi also spearheaded their stage fashion.
Takahashi also had a successful solo career, and he later formed other groups such as The Beatniks duo with Moonriders’ Keiichi Suzuki, the pupa band with Tomoyo Harada and Ren Takada, and the METAFIVE band with Keigo Oyamada (Cornelius). Outside music, he found success as a fashion designer and starred in films, notably those directed by the late Nobuhiko Obayashi such as Shigatsu no Sakana, The Discarnates, and Labyrinth of Cinema.
In anime, Takahashi composed the song “Families” for Nadia – Secret of Blue Water. He also contributed to the soundtrack of Appleseed: Ex Machina and wrote songs for Ghost in the Shell Arise and Mr. Osomatsu. Yellow Magic Orchestra’s songs have appeared on the soundtracks for the Only Yesterday, Maria Holic, and Sound! Euphonium anime.