81Produce Asks Fans to Stop Harassing Voice Actors
posted on by Jennifer Sherman
Voice talent company 81 Produce, the agency of Takuya Eguchi (My Love Story!!'s Takeo, Re:Zero's Julius) and Wataru Hatano (ReLIFE's Kōshi, STARMYU's Sakuya), issued a request to voice actor fans on Tuesday. The request relates to recent extreme actions of fans such as the stabbing of 21-year-old singer and songwriter Mayu Tomita (pictured at right, no relation to the former AKB48 member of the same name).
The company asked fans to stop waiting for its voice actors when they enter or leave buildings, following them, and taking pictures without permission in public places and places where voice actors are performing or recording. 81 Produce said that such behavior not only causes trouble for regular people and the surrounding area but is also the possible cause of major incidents. The company thanked fans for supporting voice actors but warned that extreme actions can lead to problems for fellow fans, voice actors, and related companies.
Tomohiro Iwazaki (28), Tomita's attacker, was sentenced to 14 years and six months in prison on Tuesday. Iwazaki allegedly admitted that he had stabbed Tomita last May due to her returning a gift he had sent her, without clearly explaining the reason why. He had allegedly been waiting for her at the station to ask her about the gift.
Tomita was in critical condition after receiving nearly two dozen stab wounds on the neck and chest. She later regained consciousness, and is continuing her rehabilitation. She testified in court behind a screen, sharing that she has had difficulty singing or eating due to partial paralysis of her mouth, and that she is also having trouble with her eyesight.
While she was testifying, Iwazaki interrupted Tomita and shouted, "Then you should kill me." He was removed from the courtroom. Before the verdict was handed down, Iwazaki apologized to Tomita and her family, and promised to learn patience in prison. The presiding judge commented that Iwazaki's attack took away Tomita's dreams, and that Iwazaki "must learn to control himself and abide by society's rules while he is in prison."
Anime director and Ordet animation studio founder Yutaka Yamamoto (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Fractale, Wake Up, Girls!; pictured at left) also commented on the incident on Tuesday. While he agreed with the widespread condemnation of the attacker, he also believes Tomita made a mistake.
"For people who work as idols (and similar professions), carelessly blocking a fan is a bad idea," Yamamoto said. "And you can't help how it looks when you return a present." He went on to say that he takes an attitude where he is ready to fight back at any time. He thinks Tomita was at a higher risk because she was unprepared.