Toru Funamura, composer of popular Japanese songs, dies at 84

CULTURE

Toru Funamura, a celebrated composer of popular Japanese songs such as "Yagiri no Watashi" (Ferry at Yagiri), died Thursday, his office said Friday. He was 84.

Funamura, a native of Tochigi Prefecture, whose real name was Hiroo Fukuda, died at a hospital in Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture. The cause of death was heart failure, according to Nippon Columbia Co.

Funamura learned piano and composition at the predecessor of Tokyo College of Music. "Wakare no Ipponsugi" (Farewell at Lone Cedar), which he composed for ballad singer Hachiro Kasuga and was released in 1955, became a hit song.

Over his career as a composer spanning more than half a century, Funamura composed over 5,000 songs, including hit songs "Osho" (Shogi King) by Hideo Murata, released in 1961. "Yagiri No Watashi," sung by Takashi Hosokawa and released in 1983, won a prestigious award.

Funamura held a number of key posts in the music industry, including as head of the Japan Composer's Association and of the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers.

He was awarded the Medal with Purple Ribbon in 1995 and Person of Cultural Merit in 2008 before being given the Order of Culture last year.

==Kyodo

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