Sayaka Kanda interview

Cinema Today
June 14, 2017
See the original post here.

Her first dream in life was to be a voice actor

Text: Masakazu Isobe
Photos: Hiromi Takano

See video footage of this interview here.

Based on Farewell to Yamato, the immortal masterpiece released in 1978, Space Battleship Yamato 2202, Soldiers of Love depicts the crew of Yamato who returned from Iscandar on a new journey for the peace of space. Sayaka Kanda plays the voice of the goddess Teresa in this work. While continuing to take on acting roles and participate in musicals, Kanda’s dream from childhood was to be part of the voice actor industry. We asked for her thoughts on Space Battleship Yamato and her fellow actors, and talked about her recent marriage.

Taking charge of the ending song for Chapter 2

Interviewer: What was your reaction when you were cast in the role of Teresa in this latest Yamato series?

Kanda: Yamato is a work from before I was born, and I had the impression of the adult generation passionately singing the theme song in karaoke. In fact, the reaction was greater than for any work I’ve been involved in so far. I realized again what a high-profile work it is.

Interviewer: How did you approach the role of Teresa?

Kanda: It was a character I couldn’t just make up on my own, so we talked about various things. What is the meaning of a divine existence in 2202, and how distant is it from human beings? The director said the word “divinity”, but I don’t have much experience as a God so I didn’t give it a lot of intonation. It was a performance of subtraction.

Interviewer: Teresa doesn’t appear in Chapter 2, but you were involved in the ending theme song, Mirror of the Moon.

Kanda: There is the famous opening song, which everyone knows. In the sense of the original, I think the ending theme song is also very important. It leaves you with a lingering view of this magnificent world and leads you into the next, so it occupies a necessary role. I sing it as Teresa, but as with the role itself (a sense of distance between humans and God), it was difficult to adjust the perception. Since the Japanese lyrics are so beautiful, I thought it was a song that I’d like to sing again on another occasion.

I want to make voice acting work one of my pillars

Interviewer: In the past you’ve said that the profession you most wanted was to become a voice actor.

Kanda: I was an only child, but I liked games a lot. I knew of the existence of voice actors from a young age and I longed for it very much. In a way, my first dream in life was to be a voice actor.

Interviewer: I heard that you went to a voice acting school.

Kanda: I thought I should study it so I could immediately raise my hand when there was a chance for some voice work.

Interviewer: After going to voice acting school and making your debut in the entertainment world, were there still some difficulties?

Kanda: I had no hesitation. It was a training center for professionals, and I was impressed by how it highlighted the usefulness of practical skills. On the contrary, it was very good to have that experience.

Interviewer: Does it feel like your strong thoughts are becoming a reality?

Kanda: Honestly, even though I attended a training school, I didn’t think voice acting would become a pillar of my work. After that I became involved with Frozen, including narration, and I was able to start doing voice work. At the same time, there was a very big response to being cast as Teresa in 2202, so I realized how precious it is to be part of this work as a character voice.

Interviewer: Do you intend to actively pursue more voice acting work?

Kanda: For me, stage work is very important as well as recording songs, so I pray that the voice acting work will become a pillar.

Interviewer: What kinds of things do you keep in mind for that purpose?

Kanda: If someone watching the work gets a sense of incompatibility from my voice, the view of that world collapses, so I need to raise my skills some more to keep that from happening. That’s also true of musicals, but one person is not a specialty there, so in order to enter into that world I must be aware of my own ability. Naturally, you have to pass an audition. So in order not to miss a chance, I want to keep up on my academic efforts.

Various changes due to marriage

Interviewer: You’re a big success in the music and voice acting industries, but you also recently got married, and the impression upon both your public and private lives is substantial.

Kanda: Various things have changed for me. Getting married brought on a sense of responsibility, and there’s a feeling of relief that I’ve never experienced before. Not much time has gone by since I got married, but I think it’s a very good thing.

Interviewer: Does your marriage add something to your work?

Kanda: That’s right. When I was alone, I worked for my own desires and outlook. When you have a family, you think about working hard for your partner. Even if something bad happens, you can feel better when you get home, and there’s a sense of security that allows you to reset and go to the next job. It’s completely different from being alone.

Interviewer: The theme of this work is “love.” Has there been a moment recently where you felt a similar love?

Kanda: There was a bad moment for me the other day. I didn’t talk about it at the time, but my husband and my two dogs – a long coat Chihuahua and a Chinese Crested – were always there for me. I felt love then.

Reunion with Daisuke Ono

Interviewer: This work continues through seven chapters, and I’m excited to see what’s going to happen.

Kanda: That’s right. Even I don’t know how it will develop and there are many things not yet known, so I’m looking forward to what kind of form Teresa will take, just like the fans.

Interviewer: It’s also a highlight for you to co-star with voice actors you respect, isn’t it?

Kanda: I accompanied Daisuke Ono (the voice of Susumu Kodai) at the Voice Actor Awards for 2014. He received the leading actor award, and I was given the leading actress award for Frozen. He was sitting next to me, a complete newcomer, and kindly said, “Next I’ll see you at work.” It was very impressive to be reunited with him on this work.

Interviewer: You’re enthusiastic for the future.

Kanda: I think it’s a luxury to be able to play the same character over a long period like this. I want to express a fully-dimensional figure everyone can firmly accept in the space of their imagination that lies between the lines and the illustrations.

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