Hidekazu Yoshida, a celebrated critic of classical music known for his sometimes merciless reviews, died at his home outside Tokyo on May 22, his family said. He was 98.
The cause of death was acute heart failure. Yoshida lived in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture.
Yoshida was credited with establishing critiques of classical music as a serious form of review and was known for his sincere approach to art.
He was sometimes unyielding in his criticism, even to world-famous musicians.
Yoshida called a recital given by the renowned pianist Vladimir Horowitz in Japan in 1983 "a cracked antique" in his review. "I could find only a fragment of the legendary Horowitz."
Although the agent for the Kiev-born American pianist subsequently sent Yoshida a tape of his performance on a different occasion, the critic refused to listen to it.
"I cannot compare unless it was performed live," he said.
Horowitz returned to Japan three years later to give a critically-acclaimed recital.
Yoshida, a Tokyo native, graduated from what is now the University of Tokyo, with a bachelor's degree in French literature.
He began his career writing about Mozart in a magazine.
Yoshida had a great following in classical music circles, with his luminous writing style backed by his vast knowledge of not just in music, but also fine arts, performing arts and literature.
He wrote a column on music for The Asahi Shimbun from 1971 to 2011.
Yoshida won the Osaragi Jiro literary prize for his collection of works, a rarity among music critics, in 1975, and the Order of Culture, one of the most prestigious awards in Japan, in 2006.
He also played a leading role in the early introduction of music education by opening a music school for children with his contemporaries.
Unlike others involved in the project, Yoshida's goal was to help Japanese become familiar with classical music and make classical music part of their daily lives, rather than nurturing world-class performers from Japan.
He established the Mito Chamber Orchestra in Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture, in 1990, with Seiji Ozawa, the noted conductor, serving as musical consultant.
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