Anime fans are always seeking more about the characters they love. This leads several to explore more about the voice actors who are also called “seiyu (声優)” in Japanese terms. The seiyu industry is filled with several talented artists who have made quite a name for themselves by proving worthy of all the fame over and over again. These voice actors work hard to bring our favorite characters to life in the most dynamic manner. Even for them, things are not always glitter and gold as they are targeted to hate or dismissal following scandals. Although some of these seiyu controversies are well defined, some make one wonder how little privacy and lack of freedom these celebrities have.
Fanbases support their idol celebrity to grow. The same fanbase can be threatening and dangerous shall the celebrity does something they do not like. There have been repeated incidences of fanbases canceling their idols over something as trivial as a relationship status. Controversies as such are happening all the time. However, what we bring forward are the top ten seiyu controversies that left fans in a state of complete awe seeing their favorite voice actors act out of insensitivity and ignorance and the after-effects of these incidents.
Kaito Ishikawa makes inappropriate remarks: 2020
Ishikawa is known for playing several popular anime characters like Tobio Kageyama from Haikyuu!! and Genos from One Punch Man. The voice actor’s deep voice makes him a perfect fit for characters with deep and serious personalities. Right after entering the seiyu industry, Kaito Ishikawa won the rookie award and, ever since, has been doing extremely well in his field of expertise.
However, the voice actor’s journey has not always been a golden road, as he faced some major backlash after a controversy in 2020. During a radio broadcast, a certain discussion regarding alcohol struck, to which Ishikawa responded, saying that he does not drink sake, Japanese traditional alcohol, as he is limiting his carbohydrate intake. He also indicated that women should not drink sake as it contributes to weight gain. Fans did not like his response, and we’re completely infuriated at it. Following this, he received multiple hate threads. He was also fired from an anime he was cast in titled “Miki no Mikoto”, which (ironically) is a sake-centering anime.
Namikawa Daisuke and his case of adultery- 2017
The name of Namikawa Daisuke is immensely popular in the seiyu industry as one of the oldest and also as one of the most skilled voice actors. His career is filled with multiple versatile and successful roles, including Hisoka from Hunter x Hunter and Toru Oikawa from Haikyu!! The voice actor is looked upon by several younger and budding artists in the industry for his glorious history.
Even someone as skilled and renowned has seen his days of dark. Namikawa Daisuke has been married since 2001. In 2017, he was reported to be cheating on his wife with another woman. As the scandal surfaced, it was found that he had been in fact cheating on his wife with the same woman since 2004. The two were often on and off their affair. Things got even worse when it was revealed that the woman was actually a minor back in 2004 when the affair had just begun. Namikawa Daisuke confirmed all allegations to be true and had to release a public apology for committing adultery.
Nobuhiko Okamoto Caught Cheating on his wife- 2020
Among youthful voice actors, one is Nobuhiko Okamoto. He is known for his ikemen voice. You may recognize the voice actor’s voice from hearing Bakugou Katsuki from My Hero Academia or Takumi Usui from the Kaichou wa Maid Sama anime series. While he was flourishing in his voice acting career, Nobuhiko Okamoto was met with a huge scandal involving his personal life.
In March 2020, Bunshin magazine spotted the voice actor going into a love hotel with another woman. After the picture went viral, another rumor about him being married rose. All the doubts were clarified when the voice actor released an apology statement. In the statement, he also announced that the rumors regarding his marriage with Ogame Asuka were true. For a brief time, the voice actor received several hate comments until the scandal calmed down.
Tatsuhisa Suzuki Cheats on LiSA- 2021
The power couple of the seiyu industry announced their marriage in 2020. Both Tatsuhisa Suzuki and LiSA have a tremendous fanbase. Tatsuhisa is most popularly known for voicing top tier characters like Ban in Seven Deadly Sins, while LiSA is extremely well known as a singer (Gurenge- Demon Slayer Opening). The couple is adored by several and has its own fanbase. Perhaps this is why what came next became one of the biggest seiyu controversies.
In July 2021, Tatsuhisa Suzuki was seen with a woman who was not his wife. Once the rumors were out, there were reports from their neighbors that the same woman was also seen visiting the voice actor when LiSA was not around. Clearly, Tatsuhisa Suzuki’s infidelity was caught by a Paparazzi. This woman was a fan of the voice actor. However, what came afterward was one of the biggest downfalls for Suzuki. First, the couple went into a hiatus. Suzuki attempted suicide but was luckily saved. Following this huge scandal, the voice actor also subbed out of several anime, including Tokyo Revengers and The Misfit of Demon Academy.
Ai Kayano And Her Visit to the Yasukuni Shrine- 2021
The Yasukuni Shrine has been a big site of controversy ever since it was revealed that the shrine actually enshrined several war criminals from World War II. Most victims of these war criminals were Koreans and Chinese. This shrine has been a subject of huge controversy multiple times, and this time, Ai Kayano was caught up amidst it.
In a certain program, Ai Kayano revealed that she visited the Yasukuni Shrine. She even called the atmosphere of the shrine ‘calming’. When the program was released, her Chinese fans were completely enraged by her ignorance towards the matter. They took to hashtags and forums, demanding the voice actress be removed from any animation project that sits in China. After a heated couple of days, the angry fans finally calmed down after the voice actress issued an apology, and the episode was also removed from Twitter and YouTube. However, there was more waiting ahead for the voice actress. Ai Kayano was fired from the Chinese games Azur Lane and Arknights following the scandal.
Mitsuhiro Ichiki Bullying Scandal – 2012
Even among all seiyu controversies, this has been regarded as the biggest. Mitsuhiro Ichiki, rather than being a part of the controversy, was a victim of it. Ichiki is a very skillful and talented voice actor who has voiced Scarlet in Ozmafia!! and also Gonzaburou Tashiro in Sasaki to Miyano. Although the voice actor is doing great now, Mitsuhiro Ichiki was a victim of a major bullying incident back in 2012 that involved several big names.
The incident occurred before the premiere of Kokoro Connect. Ichiki was called to audition for an anime original character, and in the audition, he was made to say weird lines. It was found that the entire audition was a prank by the producer of the show, Yamanaka Takahiro. Later, the audition tape was released without of context questions to make fun of the voice actor as well as with narration by Terashima Takuma. Following this, Ichiki was made to promote the anime all over Japan, and failing to do so would land him into a punishment game. Things further escalated with the involvement of Terashima Takuma and Kanemoto Hisako, two voice actors who kept mocking him on the anime’s radio show. Later, Kanemoto Hisako was also part of a show where Ichiki was electrocuted as punishment “for fun”. During the show, she kept throwing jokes about his abilities and skills.
The entire case was soon identified as a case of bullying and abuse of power. Ichiki was supported by several other voice actors during this time, like Tomokazu Sugita, Kitamura Eri, and Ami Imai.
Ai Takabe Arrested- 2015
Ai Takabe is a budding actress and voice actress who had just started her career on the big screen. She was affiliated with Oscar Promotion during the time of the incident and was part of several anime like Kill Me Baby. However, in 2015, the actress/voice actress was arrested by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police as she was suspected of possessing psychotropic drugs (cocaine). On undergoing a test, she was reported to be positive. She was arrested twice for the same reason in 2015. However, she was released in 2016 as the police claimed that the suspected amount of cocaine had been gathered and the celebrity had attained enough social punishment to atone for her crimes.
The Japanese industry was not kind to the voice actress at all. She was removed from the Kill me Baby website and removed from Oscar Promotion after her first arrest. After her scandal, she was barely seen on screen for a long time.
Emi Nitta Rumoured To Be In an AV- 2016
Another Japanese voice actress who went through a terrible case of seiyu controversies is Emi Nitta. One may recognize the voice actress as Honoka from Love Live. The voice actress has done several huge roles and made a prominent spot in the industry with her professionalism and hard work. After the release of Love Live, a certain rumor brought the voice actress under the spotlight.
Emi Nitta was reported to have been seen in an adult video. Following the release of the rumor, the voice actress faced a lot of backlash from her fans, who put forward various reasons to point out why it was wrong. However, all the rumors were deemed untrue by Emi Nitta’s agency. It was later pointed out that all the false rumors were spread to hamper the promotion of Love Live.
Ayano Hirano’s Personal Life Issues Huge Scandal- 2011
The Japanese celebrities live in a fragile bubble of fame. Being constantly under the flashlights of a camera, nothing is private, and there is almost no freedom of choice, even when it comes to private affairs. Ayano Hirano began as a child actor and grew to be one of the most successful voice actresses in the industry. However, a major scandal sent an uproar through her fanbase when certain controversial pictures of the voice actress were leaked. The pictures feature Ayano Hirano in bed with another person, assumed to be Katsundo, a guitarist.
Things got worse for Ayano when someone from inside her agency spread the word that she had slept with all the band members. However, this claim was neither approved nor denied by any of the parties mentioned in the rumor. Following this, several fans sent her hate comments that led to a huge decline in her career that year.
Hiro Shimono Marital Status Leaked – 2021
In entertainment industries like Japan, a celebrity’s personal life is monitored very closely by fans. Revealing a committed status could play out extremely well or extremely bad for the celebrity. Hiro Shimono is a very popular voice actor in Japan who is often teased for looking quite young. The voice actor has a huge fanbase from voicing handsome characters like Dabi from My Hero Academia and Lucifer from The Devil is a Part-Timer.
The voice actor recently turned 40 last year. Fans have always taken a liking towards his chirpy nature and adorable personality. A certain paparazzi spotted the voice actor cycling through a park with a kid on his back. It was then revealed that Hiro Shimono had actually been married for ten years now and had kept his marital status hidden all this time. Fans were indeed shocked at first, but after he released a public apology, he was widely supported by several fans in Japan as well as overseas.
Seiyu Controversies – Conclusion
While fame is a glamourous vision, it also comes with the pain and constant fear of it being taken away at any moment. These ten seiyuu controversies in the past decade remind us once more how much weightage each word said by our favorite celebrities carries. While some are truly frustrating, at other times, these controversies make one wonder how certain big names have to constantly hide behind the curtains to avoid striking up a scandal.