#27 – Sakurai Takahiro

Name: Sakurai Takahiro (櫻井 孝宏)
DoB: 13 June 1974 in Okazaki City, Aichi
Agency: Intention

Time for some male seiyuu.

My numero uno for a long time has been Sakurai-san, who’s had a colourful career thus far; peppered with many successes and that one big controversy back in 2006 that forced a public apology and a brief hiatus.

Testament to the longevity of male seiyuu careers, Sakurai continues to be a regular leading man 14 years after his first lead role as Ukiya Shun in Gatekeepers (2000). He has also voiced female characters twice, in Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru and Musashi Gun-doh. Check out MAL for a more extensive credits list.

My personal top 5 Sakurai roles:
1. Yaichi in Saraiya Goyou (House of Five Leaves, 2010)
2. Kusuri-uri (Medicine Seller) in Ayakashi: Samurai Horror Tales (2006)
3. Oshino Meme in Bakemonogatari (2009)
4. Miyuki Kazuya in Daiya no Ace (2013)
5. Leon Oswald in Kaleido Star (2003)

Translating Sakurai-kun’s Seiyuu no Wa feature from April 2014. I really liked working on this; he gets straight to the point and wastes few words.

1. Please tell us how you became a seiyuu.
When I was a kid I’d seen a seiyuu on TV who said something along the lines of ‘With just one voice, you can express yourself in many different ways’ – those words had a great impact on me since I had always thought that Doraemon existed for real and that that was its real voice. Also, when I was in junior high someone in my Japanese class said to me ‘you have the voice of a seiyuu’, and I started to wonder about the possibilities.

2. What was your debut anime?
It was Bakuso Kyodai Let’s & Go!!

3. Of all the shows you have acted in thus far, is there any character that has left a particularly strong impression?
Cloud Strife. This was a stroke of luck…

4. Please tell us if any of the characters you are voicing now share any similarities to yourself.
There probably are similarities, but I wouldn’t know them myself.

5. From all the shows you’ve been in, please tell us about any one scene that left a particularly strong impression.
A scene from PEACE MAKER Kurogane that took place on a roof, not sure which episode it was. It was a sorrowful scene where I had to cry out in regret when faced with the death of my sister. For some reason my memories of this particular scene remain crystal clear. Maybe because I had a hard time speaking in the dialect required..

6. Please tell us any horror stories or memorable tales from the recording studio.
There was once where I screwed up on my recording schedule times – I was watching the third season of LOST at home instead.

7. Are there any seiyuu you see as rivals or as someone to aim for?
Seiyuu I admire include Nakao Ryusei-san, Cho-san, Fujiwara Keiji-san, Onosaka Masaya-san, Okiayu Ryotaro-san, Seki Tomokazu-san and Takayama Minami-san. I don’t really feel passionately about something like ‘rivalry’.

8. If you weren’t a seiyuu, what do you think you would be doing now?
I’d probably have taken over my parents’ rice business. That might have been good for me too.

9. What’s the hardest thing you’ve experienced as a seiyuu?
Accents and dialects. This is true even now. To me, speaking Kyoto-ben and Osaka-ben is akin to playing the piano using only the black keys.

10. On the flipside, what’s the happiest thing(s) that has happened to you as a seiyuu?
That I can look like, and wear whatever I like.

11. Do you like singing? What has left the biggest impression when it comes to singing thus far?
I like listening to music more. I have good memories of going to the karaoke with friends and singing WANDS and Ozaki Yutaka as a group.

12. From all the radio shows you have hosted, were there any mails that left an impression on you?
“Your normal voice is really ordinary, isn’t it?”

13. Is there anything you take particular care about when you’re acting?
I don’t really think about this.

14. What kind of roles would you consider your specialty?
Characters that have some kind of ‘problem’. Weaklings. Roles that are difficult to imagine.

15. Tell us what goals and dreams you have as a seiyuu?
I would like to continue being a seiyuu for as long as possible.

16. To the people who are aiming to become seiyuu, please give them a word of advice.
It’s a fun but difficult job, so be well-prepared. Value your relationships and connections. Be humble.

17. Apart from the shows that you’ve been in, are there anime that you like to watch?
Tom and Jerry, Urusei Yatsura, Mobile Z Gundam, Legend of the Galactic Heroes.

18. As a viewer, what kind of anime do you like?
Sad shows, lonely shows, sorrowful shows.

19. What kind of child were you?
I was a naughty kid with a plain, shy personality.

20. Please tell us what TV programmes do you often watch?
GameCenter CX, Tamori Club, Ame Talk!, Cambria Palace.

*GameCenter CX is a variety show where they play retro video games.

21. Tell us what your favourite book is.
Soten Koro. I was impressed by its concept of retelling the Sangokushi story in musical format.

22. Tell us what your favourite game is.
FINAL FANTASY VII. I’ll never forget the final view of Midgar before its destruction.

23. Tell us what your favourite movie is.
Dawn of the Dead, a George A. Romero movie. I’m glad I watched it when I was a kid.

24. Tell us about your favourite musician(s).
Flipper’s Guitar. I wanted to be in their shoes.

25. Tell us what your motto is.
Something like ‘Be yourself’ or ‘Just have fun’ maybe.

26. Tell us about any of your experiences with sports.
Volleyball, ping pong, lawn tennis, scuba diving. It was only to the extent of trying them out and not really getting fully involved.

27. Tell us what songs you often sing when you go to the karaoke.
I don’t go to karaoke.

28. Tell us what your favourite foods are.
Sushi, horumon, Chinese food.

*Horumon is beef or pork offal.

29. Tell us what foods you hate.
Red, spicy foods, tomatoes.

30. Tell us about the stores you often go to.
Isetan, interior design stores, antique shops, record stores. Anywhere between Setagaya and Shibuya.

31. Do you have any favourite snacks?
The simple stuff you find in snack shops. Not a fan of anything with fresh cream in them.

32. Do you drink? If you do, what sort of drinks do you like?
Highballs, shochu. I like spirits.

33. What did you do on your last day off?
I went shopping at an Adidas store.

34. If you had a whole week off, what would you do?
I’d travel. Doesn’t matter whether it’s in Japan or abroad.

35. Are there any hobbies that you’ve been obsessed with recently?
I’m starting to wear some of my old clothing. Also, buying cheap records.

36. Tell us about any qualifications you have.
A normal driving license. Open water scuba diving.

37. What challenges would you like to take on within the next 10 years?
Challenges that you can only take on because you’re an adult. Outside of voice acting activities, I’d like to work on the things I want to.

38. What type of girl do you like?
Gentle, sweet girls. I like the air that people such as Miyazaki Aoi-san, Kahimi Karie and Takahashi Mariko-san give off.

39. Which part of a girl do you notice most?
Her eyes.

40. Tell us the most expensive thing you’ve bought recently.
A coat made by Linton, a maker familiar to Chanel. (Gotta emphasize) It’s not a Chanel I bought!

*Linton Mills in Carlisle, UK supply Chanel and other fashion houses with tweed material apparel.

41. What is the one thing you most desire now?
Onsen, and Hawaii.

42. If you could bring only one item to a deserted island, what would it be?
Survival knife.

43. If you had 1,000,000 yen that you could spend as you wish, how would you use it?
A luxury trip. Or maybe a cheap, extended holiday.

44. Please tell us if there is anything that you do on a daily basis, habits etc.
Brush my teeth while I’m in the shower, water the plants. So boring…

45. Please leave a message for your fans.
I’ll be carrying on with my work as usual so please look forward to it. Do listen to my radio programme P.S. Genki desu. Takahiro, where I experienced the joys and hardships of creating a show from scratch.

46. (A question from a fan) Are there any differences between the way you approach a role that you won in an audition and a role that you were offered?
There’s a bit of difference in the level of joy I get from winning a role through auditions and from being offered something specific. But that only affects the method through which I get involved with a particular production; once recording starts I treat them all the same.

47. (A question from a fan) Are there any types of characters you would like to try out?
I’d like to do a messy character. I hope I get to try out a variety of characters in the future so I don’t get pigeon-holed (as an actor).

48. (A question from Hosoya Yoshimasa) How can I be like you, with a mysterious air and a presence that makes people interested in me?
I think Hosoya-kun is way more mysterious than I am. People are curious about you for sure, to be honest.

49. Please tell us which seiyuu you get along well with.
My friendships aren’t limited to the workplace, but I do get along well with Suzumura Kenichi-san, Fukuyama Jun-san, Irino Miyu-san, Kawada Shinji-san, Namikawa Daisuke-san, Sugita Tomokazu-san, Kaji Yuki-san and so on….oh and Hosoya Yoshimasa-san (lol). Who I’m most interested in at the moment though, is Hanae Natsuki-san.

50. Please leave a question for our next interviewee (Hanae Natsuki).
I’d like to ask Hanae-kun if there was any episode that made him think to himself ‘Ah, that’s embarrassing’.


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