Sunday 16 August 2015

World's First Voice Acting Museum Opens in Tokyo

Anime fans who are specifically interested in the voice acting side of the business, or fervent fans of particular voice actors, should add a new destination to their next trip to Tokyo: the SeiyuuMuseum (seiyū means voice actor), located in Sasazuka, Tokyo, west of Harajuku. It is affiliated with the voice acting studio 81produce and commemorates its 35th anniversary.
Inside, anime fans can find a wealth of scripts dating back over the five decades of Japanese televised animation history, including from hit shows such as Mobile Suit GundamOne Piece, andChibi Maruko-chan. The museum also includes scripts from tokusatsu series and Japanese dubs of foreign series.
Scripts for The Laughing Salesman and the tokusatsu series Chōriki Sentai Ohranger, Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger, and The Mobile Cop Jiban
Some of the scripts on display contain annotation from voice actors, such as where to breathe and how to deliver certain lines. Tōru Ōhira (Homer in the Japanese dub of The Simpsons), Hiroshi Ohtake (Parman No. 2 in Pāman) and Nachi Nozawa (the Japanese dubber for Bruce Willis) are among the actors represented.
Ōhira's script from the 1988 Mission: Impossible TV series
The museum also exhibits autographed (and sometimes illustrated) papers and a voice actorchronology.
There are displays featuring the other side of many contemporary voice actors' careers — pop singing — including these exhibits of i☆Ris and Wake Up, Girls! (from the anime of the same name).
There is also a display on a new audio drama produced by 81produce that adapts Shidenkai no Taka ("Violet Lightning Hawk"), a World War II fighter pilot manga from 1963.
If this seems like a shrine to voice actors, the museum includes an actual Voice Actor Shrine. It venerates a Sony C-38B Condenser Microphone from Half HP Studio which has been breathed into by an estimated 60,000 voice actors since 1995.
On the shrine's walls hang ema (wooden prayer tablets, although in this case they're paper) carrying messages from fans, voice actors, and other industry insiders.
The museum also sells voice actor-related merchandise, like CDs and books. Seen here are T-shirts with original drawings by Takuya Eguchi (Takeo from My Love Story!!, Ryōma from Love Stage!!).
Finally, on the building's sixth floor (the museum is on the second floor), 81produce has opened 81 Live Salon, a performance space for voice actors to deliver script readings in. On August 8 and 9, it kicked off with a performance by Aimi Tanaka (Umaru from Himōto! Umaru-chan), Satowa Tanaka (Choroma and Masuyo in Kill la Kill), Katsuhiro TokuishiYūki Yonai and Arthur Lounsbery(Kaito in High School Star Musical).
Left to right: Yonai, Lounsbery, Aimi Tanaka
The Seiyuu Museum is located at Shibuya Ward, Sasazuka 1-52-18. It is open from 11 AM to 4 PM from Tuesdays through Saturdays. Other anime-related museums in Tokyo include the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka and the Suginami Animation Museum in Ogikubo.

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