Ryuichi Sakamoto's music - your favorite/memorable skating performances


World-renowned Japanese musician/composer Ryuichi Sakamoto's death at the age of 71 was made public yesterday (he died of cancer on March 28, 2023 - this sad news was posted in the "In Memoriam" thread in OTBT subforum).

A past thread about skaters' performances to Sakamoto's music is in the Archives so I thought I'd create a new one to commemorate his contribution to figure skating.

Lu Chen's 1995 Worlds winning free skate to The Last Emperor, choreographed by Toller Cranston, may have been the first time I was aware of a program to Sakamoto's music. Lu Chen's wiki says "This program actually had a higher technical difficulty at the 1994 NHK Trophy as she doubled out the second triple Lutz at the World Championships." Jackie Wong tweeted a video of this performance (in Morioka, Japan in December 1994): https://twitter.com/rockerskating/status/1642567692103086084

Kana Muramoto/Chris Reed's 2018 4CC Free Dance to The Last Emperor & Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence with no commentary during the performance (I found this link posted in the thread on Chris Reed's passing :( in March 2020): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eOotG2jSdA

Please add your links to your favorite and/or memorable performances to Ryuichi Sakamoto's music in this thread.
Last edited:


Canadian ladies über
Canadian ice dance team of Petr/Janoschak used the Last Emperor music in 1990.



Well-Known Member
Thanks @Sylvia.

The first thought I had when I saw the news was Mai just skating to Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence so beautifully last week at Worlds. And then obviously Lu Chen at 1994 NHK.

I remember Miki also skated to Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence in 2005-6 but I have to revisit for a cleaner version. Didn't Jeff Buttle skate to (the more subtle selections of) The Last Emperor some time around 2005?


Skating season ends as baseball season begins
I immediately thought of Lu Chen's program when I heard of Mr. Sakamoto's passing. The Last Emperor is a very... complicated film, you could say, but the music is truly stunning. I'm surprised more skaters haven't used it, though "Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence" sees more action. Ryuichi Sakamoto played an unsympathetic character in The Last Emperor, to boot.

I hope more skaters give his original & soundtrack work another listen for programs in the future.

Canadian ice dance team of Petr/Janoschak used the Last Emperor music in 1990.

This is worth a watch for a couple laughs - I found it hard to judge if I enjoyed the program due to some hilariously questionable commentary from Jim & Peter (Carruthers). Jim opens with "skating to Pee Wee's fun house." :lol: And Peter points out their "oriental moves." Goodness.

It was interesting that Toller Cranston apparently choreographed this program, as well as Lu Chen's. I guess he was as much a fan of The Last Emperor music as I am. :)

Users who are viewing this thread

Do Not Sell My Personal Information