Yukihiro Takahashi, drummer/singer/composer/songwriter for the legendary Japanese electronic group Yellow Magic Orchestra, died recently at the age of 70. His passing comes after a long battle with brain cancer which began in 2020.
Though his departure was sudden, Takahashi leaves behind a deep, worthy solo discography as well as being key part of the most influential Japanese music ensemble of all time. With his bandmates Ryuichi Sakamoto and Haruomi Hosono, YMO conjoined the ley lines of disco, funk, soul, punk, and folk into a sound that would come to redefine modern Japanese pop music.
Takahashi’s own career extends far beyond that of YMO’s; he was the drummer for the groundbreaking Sadistic Mika Band, and released his first solo album the year YMO debuted as a unit.
Many longer, more in-depth pieces have been written about the importance of Yellow Magic Orchestra and the people involved. Instead of going on about that, I would just like to highlight some personal favorites from Yukihiro Takahashi’s lengthy career.
As a young Asian-American getting into alternative, punk, and new wave, I was so excited to discover other Asians making such timeless music and looking cool as hell doing it. Thank you for everything Takahashi-san, you will be missed.