Masahide Sakuma of the Plastics Dies at 61

Masahide Sakuma of the Plastics Dies at 61
Esteemed Japanese musician and producer Masahide Sakuma, who was a member of the classic Tokyo new wave act the Plastics, passed away early in the morning on January 16 following a battle with cancer, his son revealed today (January 20). Sakuma was 61.

In a blog entry entitled "Goodbye World," which Sakuma posted back in August, the musician revealed that he had been diagnosed with end-stage scirrhous gastric cancer in April 2013. While it's difficult to parse in Google Translate, it seems that the cancer spread to his liver and spleen, and he was also suffering from a brain tumour. Subsequent blog posts ruminated on life in hospital and his impending death.

His son Otoya Sakuma announced his father's passing, writing a tribute on Twitter this morning. The funeral was a private ceremony, open only to close relatives.

The Plastics (or simply Plastics) were active in the late '70s and early '80s, gaining a worldwide audience thanks to their frantic brand of new wave pop that took cues from like-minded North American acts like the Talking Heads, the B-52's and Devo. In fact, the Plastics were eventually represented internationally by the manager of the B-52's after David Byrne received a demo tape from Plastics singer Toshio Nakanishi and passed it on.

After Sakuma's time with the Plastics, he remained active in the music world, producing bands like Judy and Mary, Glay, Elephant Kashimashi and Boøwy. He also worked on music for film and TV.

A compilation called Sakuma Drops will be out on March 5. It includes the new song "Last Days."