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Voice Actress Hiroko Konishi Reveals Industry Disagreements About Ojarumaru Role

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge
Also alleges manager attempted to lure into a mixed bathing trip with director Akitarō Daichi

Voice actress Hiroko Konishi took to Twitter on June 1 to discuss why she left her starring role as Ojarumaru in the long-running children's anime Prince Mackaroo. Konishi voiced the character for the series' first 270 episodes before the role was taken over by Chinami Nishimura. According to Konishi, she left the role after a dispute over her voice recording used for Ojarumaru dolls and other merchandise.

Konishi wrote that she was not officially notified that her voice was going to be used for these products, and when she found out, she contacted her agency's office. She was told by her "voice mama" "Matsumoto P" that her inquiry was "cheeky" and that she would not be able to work in the animation industry unless she kept quiet.

After that incident, Konishi says she didn't receive any more information about the recordings, and the staff of the Prince Mackaroo anime suppressed the incident. After 18 years, a similar incident occurred involving NHK, the network that broadcasts Prince Mackaroo. Konishi's agency claims to have evidence in the form of spoken conversations, phone and e-mail messages, and bank transfer records. The agency submitted documents to NHK and is waiting for a response.

She added that she is patiently waiting for an apology. She added that she now has nothing to fear, and she believes it is important for the public to be aware of the situation.

Konishi also revealed her own experience similar to the story told by former Niji No Conquistador idol group member "A-san" in allegations against now resigned pixiv representative director Hiroaki Nagata. Konishi wrote that Prince Mackaroo and Ninja Girl & Samurai Master director Akitarō Daichi would be present at a mixed bathing hot spring resort that she was invited to via her manager. She said that she was lured through her manager Hara, but she would not go on such a trip. "He seems to have thought he could drink and get a little entertainment," she wrote. She added that she has heard a lot of stories about this type of manager.

Mixed bathing resorts do not allow swimsuits or wearing towels for coverage, so both parties would be expected to be nude. Mixed bathing is increasingly uncommon in Japan, and resorts offering the traditional baths have shut them down at a growing rate.

She said the saddest part of the incident was how her mark was removed from Jubei-Chan 2: The Counter Attack of Siberia Yagyu, another anime directed by Daichi. She said a character in Jubei-Chan The Ninja Girl - Secret of the Lovely Eyepatch was originally modeled after her, and her hometown of Kawagoe also inspired the work. When the sequel anime was being made, Konishi said that her role in developing the work was concealed.

Konishi last appeared as Ojarumaru in the anime film Eiga Ojarumaru Yakusoku no Natsu Ojaru to Semira in 2000 and last worked with Daichi on his net anime Dango Gonta in 2003. She may be best known for voicing Sae Sawanoguchi in Magic User's Club!, Sena Wakabayashi in You're Under Arrest, and Akane Kimidori in Dr. Slump.

Voice actress Atsuko Enomoto shared her #MeToo story in April, stating that she endured sexual harassment within the voice acting industry when she first debuted.

Sources: Hiroko Konishi's Twitter account, Japan Times (James Hadfield) via Nijipoi

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