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Japanese rock singer Yuki Katsuragi dies of cancer after returning to stage for last time

Yuki Katsuragi is seen performing her song "Rose" at Narita International Culture Hall in the city of Narita, Chiba Prefecture, on May 17, 2022. (Mainichi/Haruka Ito)

TOKYO -- Japanese rock singer Yuki Katsuragi, known for her hit song "Bohemian" (1983), passed away on June 27. She was 73.

    The vocalist was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, but had a strong desire to resume her activities while fighting her illness, and even stood on the stage with all her might about a month before passing. Katsuragi was an artist who spent her life expressing her unwavering passion for singing.

    Katsuragi was diagnosed with primary peritoneal cancer when she got examined at a hospital in April last year, after her musician friend had an emergency hospitalization for subarachnoid hemorrhage. Metastasis to other organs was also found. She had been hospitalized and treated with anti-cancer drugs since May 2021.

    However, on May 17 this year, she performed at a concert in the Chiba Prefecture city of Narita, where some 20 units singing Showa era (1926-1989) popular music gathered. Katsuragi returned to the stage, which she had longed for, and delivered her songs to her fans for the first time in about a year.

    Before performing that day, Katsuragi appeared in front of reporters in a wheelchair to respond to an interview. She explained, "I think I was able to do my best thanks to everyone who told me I definitely needed to come back (to the stage) and that they'd be waiting for me." She added, "I was born to sing, so I feel like I'm in my element being able stand on stage (again)."

    Although her words conveyed the joy of being able to sing again, it was quite worrisome that her voice had become faint and thin.

    But when Katsuragi appeared in front of the audience, she sang her signature piece "Rose," which is about love and the joy and suffering of life, in a clear and powerful voice. Though she only sang once, her voice left a lasting impression. It was a performance that deserved to be called a "superb song."

    (Japanese original by Haruka Ito, Cultural News Department)

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