Fumiyoshi Shioya (Anium Premium Vol. 4 2019)

汐谷 文康

How was the shooting today? Shioya: It was fun. Taking pictures with the natural scenery in the background, taking pictures outdoors is something I haven’t had before, so I really admired it.

It was good. Do you have any aspirations? Shioya: Am I dreaming about it? Well… Ah! I’m really yearning to go on an overseas trip now, and when I get the chance, I’d like to go abroad when I can speak English to some extent. I’ve never been there, so I’d like to go to England.

It’s a beautiful dream. Is there anything you want to do as a voice actor? Shioya: I like my work regardless of the format, so I want to be a person who can do everything from the stage to animation, games, and dubbing. Since I was a child, I have always been a shy person, but I really liked being exposed to expressions, and I had a dream of becoming an actor who could handle everything. Even during art appreciation parties at school, I was the only child who seemed to be the only one who was seriously watching while the other children didn’t seem to be interested.

Did that kind of childhood experience make you want to express yourself? Shioya: It wasn’t until I entered high school that I started to think about doing acting. I had no confidence at all, so I thought I would never be able to do it.

Are you the type to give up too quickly? Shioya: From that point on, I started watching anime with all my might, and at the same time I started to be conscious of the voice actors. At that time, I was watching an anime called Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion and playing the game “.hack//G.U.” On the other hand, in the game, I was playing a rough guy, like a yankee, so the gap between the two government offices was impressive and I was very surprised. I realized it for the first time when I saw the end credits. “A voice actor can play so many roles with just his voice.” I became so interested in the profession that I wanted to become one myself.

You wanted to try various things. Shioya: I think so. It’s really fun to be able to become someone other than yourself. There was a drama club in high school, so I tried it out. From then on, I became more and more addicted to theatrical performances. Actually, I wanted to be an illustrator before aiming to become a voice actor, so I joined the art club first. When I first joined the club, I found the five-minute play put on by the drama club really interesting, so I decided to join the art club as well. After that, I became more and more drawn to theatre, and narrowed it down to just the drama club.

Is that so. Shioya: However, in the first place, I was not very good at appearing in front of people, so that was the first barrier. When I stand on the stage, all my nervousness goes away, and I can concentrate on play the role (smile).

Is that so. You still do that when you act. How are you not nervous? Shioya: As expected, I was nervous until just before the performance, but once I started acting, the tension disappeared, and I started having fun. It’s a special environment, so I think there’s a tension that’s different from theatre. I wonder if it is.

When you talk, your voice sounds quiet and calm. What kind of roles do you usually play? Shioya: Certainly, government offices such as gentle characters and quiet characters that make use of the feeling of the voice of the earth. I have many opportunities to play the role of a borrower. After that, I play a character who has two sides, that is, the self I show, and my true self are different. There are many things.

It seems difficult to create a character with two sides. Was there a role that was difficult for you? Shioya: In other words, it’s the role of twins who hold a grudge against each other. The children are just quarrelling because of the environment around them. So, it was a struggle to play “I hate my brother” in that situation.

So that it. On the other hand, you haven’t played many screaming or energetic roles. Do you want to? Shioya: Well… I haven’t played many, but in a work that hasn’t been released to the public yet, I’ve been playing a character whose emotions are quite bare. I was able to re-record the scene several times. I think it turned out to be a good one because I was able to record it carefully, which is rare at the scene these days. I’m looking forward to it. I would be happy if you could do it (laughs).

There are things you take care of when you play a role. Shioya: Basically, I imagine things like how the character has lived up to that point, or what happened in the past, and think, “I’ve lived like that, so I’m sure you’ll think this way. What kind of action will they take?” Shioya: I try to synchronize with the character’s feelings. I think there is a sound that comes out of that feeling. For example, if I have a character who hates the other person, I think about why they hate that person, and try to make sounds by emphasizing and sympathizing with that character. Since I was originally in the drama club, I think that I value acting as a base. I have a great admiration for natural acting, and I want it to be vivid, like, “Oh! There are people like this!” Whether it’s playing a two-dimensional character or standing on stage, I’m very conscious of it, and I always want to be in sync with it and create a play that has a vivid presence just by being there.

Shioya-san, who came to Tokyo from Iwate prefecture to pursue his dream. Shioya: At the vocational school, I made my debut as a voice actor in an environment with 200 classmates.

What were you doing before the vocational school? Shioya: When I was in the first grade, there was a school festival, and we had the opportunity to perform a recitation drama together. There was a moment when the main character’s acting and my narration were in sync, and I was in the zone. I was told to magnify and express the vision flowing in my mind, so that I could let the people around me imagine the scene as it is. I was able to concentrate and talk. It felt good, and the first time I encountered that feeling was when I was in vocational school. After that, I was selected as the main character, and the play was about a Native American tribe, and it was a romantic piece about the reunion of two lovers who had been separated due to persecution. It’s hard to get out. In particular, I was really worried about the last scene where they run away and then hug each other. Because they don’t actually hug each other. It’s just that there’s a moment when it’s strange to be able to do it. I don’t know myself, but maybe I have no choice but to do it until I can (laughs).

I think you started acting because you enjoyed theatre, but you didn’t go on to become an actor. Shioya: Well, I still don’t have confidence in myself.

No, I think you’re handsome enough… Shioya: No, no, no! I had no confidence in my appearance at all, so I admired acting, but I never thought I would make it my job. However, it is a profession that does not have a very public image. Actually, I thought, “Ah! Once I knew about voice actors, I was single-minded about becoming one. When I was in junior high school and high school, I was enthusiastic and thought, “I’m not a person who ends up in the countryside like this!” My mother seems to have had an experience in the past when she wasn’t allowed to what she wanted to do, so she wanted me to do my best and willingly agreed to my move to Tokyo.

Its seems that you became homesick after moving to Tokyo. Shioya: I’m sorry (laughs). It was also my first time to take a train. It was really hard and stressful to be jolted by a crowded train every day. I was homesick for about half a year like that, but after that, I made some friends. I was able to do it, and there were a lot of like-minded people around me who were aiming for the same goal, so life in Tokyo became fun. So, it was frustrating to see my friends being praised more than me, but it was fun because we could work hard together. We were rivals, but we were like friends.

When you became a voice actor, did you have a real feeling? Shioya: Since it was an extension of my vocational school, it may not have changed that much. At our office, there was a rule that newcomers must perform on stage for two years, so in the beginning there was a lot of stage rehearsals. That’s why I feel that I’ve been doing theatre as long as I’ve been doing voice acting.

Did you have a hard time during the audition? Shioya: You’re going to have a hard time! Most of the audition manuscripts are excerpted from the dialogue. I can’t do it… If there is an original, I read it myself and check it, but if there isn’t it, I have to completely imagine the flow before and after. It’s not written in detail, so it’s very difficult to express the character with just one word.

Have you ever felt that a play didn’t go as planned and that it wasn’t fun? Shioya: Sometimes it’s hard. It’s the same when I think I can’t express my character well, but there are many times when I get stuck in the rehearsal of the play. “Wow, it’s going to be hard.” I’m rarely satisfied with my acting, and although there are times when I think I have passed, I am never able to give a perfect score. Even if I have a vision in my head that says, “I want to perform like this!” It’s hard to pass auditions, and when I’m not working, my feelings gradually become trapped inside myself. I’m sorry to those who are fans, but there are times when I want to quit… I’m sorry.

What do you do when you’re not acting? Shioya: When I read manga at home, I naturally end up reading out loud. Also, sometimes I do muscle training. I have a thin body, so if I don’t support the muscle around my stomach more, I don’t I will be able to produce a firm voice. It’s not practise, but as I said earlier, I still don’t get many chances to be in sync with nature, so I’m doing what I can to be able to meet those moments.

When you became a voice actor, did you set a limit within yourself that if you didn’t make it this far, you would give up?  Shioya: “Idolmaster SideM” Oh, I felt it while I was taking the audition. In this work, auditions were held over a long period of time, and new voice actors were often hired, so I thought that if all of them failed here, there would be no next time. “If I miss this chance, I will quit.” I realized that I have to think about my future after the event is over. I’ve made up my mind.

After that, I think you played a named role in “Idolmaster SideM”, did you feel any pressure? Shioya: Of course. Until then, I had enjoyed this work as a fan, and I had auditioned several times, but I failed many times. At the end of the audition where I was asked to create a voice for the character, I was accepted for the role of Sora Kitamura, and when I found out that I would be involved, I was really nervous. Sora Kitamura usually has a stick at the end of his sentences. Even with a stick, I think the impression changes greatly depending on how you act. He’s not a very lively character, but he’s not particularly dark, so I had to bring out that exquisite side, but during the fist recording, he was said to be too lively, and on the contrary, dark. It was difficult to adjust. It was just like threading a needle.

I think you’ve been exposed to a lot of things recently, such as appearing live on “The Idolmaster SideM” and appearing on the radio. Did you feel reluctance to stand in the public eye? Shioya: That was not surprising. I have loved singing and dancing ever since I was a child, and when I danced at elementary school’s athletic meet, I was very enthusiastic. I danced with all my might, so I was asked to take the lead, and I had experience standing in front of people in theatre, so I didn’t have much resistance.

I think you often co-star with people of the same generation, but do you ever see voice actors as rivals? Shioya: When people from the same industry get the same audition, they are people competing for the role, so of course there are times when I think of them as rivals, but when I’m involved in the same project, I feel like I’m on the same stage. Since I’m a colleague to them, I have never tried to be cold to them because they are rivals. I feel like it’s a good synergistic effect. When there are many people of the same generation on site, it creates an atmosphere like a boys’ school.

When you audition for a character with people with the same voice quality, etc. is there anyone you often meet? Shioya: In my case, most of the people who have decided on the roles that I want to play are Nobunaga Shimazaki-san, Kensho Ono-san, and Miyu Irino-san. They’re people I’ve always admired, so I hope someday I’ll be able to surpass them in acting.

If you look at those three people, what do you think is missing? Shioya: I’m still inexperienced, and I think I’m not very good at it. However, it is often not communicated. When it comes to voice acting, you have to express your emotions only with your voice, so it becomes more pronounced and sometimes you can’t express yourself well. In order to pass the audition, I think precision is required, so I want to improve it even more.

Were there any characters whose synchronicity was relatively fast? Shioya: I play the role of a young man who helps out at a candy store in a certain drama CD. I work as a shopkeeper in the area, and I get to interact with the local children, and I feel that their appearance resembles me in some way, and I feel that I was able to act naturally without creating a role.

Is it difficult to play a role that you have no experience with it? Shioya: Yes (laughs). Today, while I was filming, what caught my attention was a tall person sitting on the bench, wearing a knit hat and fluffy boa fleece. He’s out in the city during the daytime on weekdays, so he’s probably not an office worker, but he might be a boxer (laughs).

You see that far! Shioya: Ahaha (laughs). I’m not good at putting it into words. I thought that there might be better nuances in what I’m saying now. I want to be able to express myself better.

Shioya-san, are there any worries you are currently having? Shioya: Am I worried? This may sound a little rough, but voice actors have auditions, and it depends on whether or not you get selected. The vague anxiety about whether I’m doing well as an actor is always with me, especially in an industry with a fast cycle, so I must constantly try to update myself so that I don’t get left behind. I have a feeling that I really like this world, so there are times when I feel uneasy, but when I’m working, it’s fun, and I want to experience that joy again.

That’s how you feel. Shioya: That’s right. There’s no point in thinking about the future, and I believe that by living hard in the present, that effort will naturally lead to the future. But I think this industry is a world where even negative personalities can become unique. I believe that if you can find it and communicate it yourself, you can become a good actor.

Was there a ga between you and the voice acting industry that you envisioned? Shioya: To be honest, I didn’t think it would be this difficult. But at the time, I hadn’t entered the industry yet, and I had no experience, so I didn’t know. At the audition, I thought, “It’s not glamorous at all!” (laughs). I had a glamorous image, but that’s not the case. Everyone is frantically chasing the momentary brilliance and fun that comes after all the hard work.

Shioya-san, what kind of position do you feel you have in the voice acting industry? Shioya: Honestly, I’m still inexperienced, so even after five years, I still don’t think I’m mid-level, and even so, I can’t pretend to be a newcomer forever. When I first entered the field, there were a lot of things I didn’t know about acting and manners, and I was troubled a lot. I had seniors who supported me, so I want to be a senior who can reach out to juniors in the same way.

You were helped by your seniors, weren’t you? Shioya: Yuusuke Kobayashi-san, who is a senior at the school, and I have performed on stage together, and I have played the role of a close friend, but there were many things that I could not do… So, even in the rehearsal hall, when I had a displeased expression on my face, he probably guessed it, and asked me various things, like, “How was your performance so far?” and gave me a lot of advice. I want to be close to my juniors in the same way.

That’s what I think. This magazine will reach you at the end of the year, but how was this year? Shioya: I feel like I have been able to do a lot of things this year. There were a lot of challenges. I was able to write the lyrics for that song, and I got more radio work than before, so it was a year when the number of places people could see me increased.

Are you good at speaking on the radio? Shioya: It’s not too late to come to a conclusion, so I’m often asked, “So, how was it in the end?” That’s why I always think that being able to concisely and accurately convey my thoughts is a challenge for me.

I will continue to support you in your future endeavours. So, what kind of year do you want 2020 to be? Shioya: Yes. Anyway, I want to be able to express my feelings honestly. Even if it takes a lot of work, I want to do it properly without my time. I want to be a person who can properly respond to what is being asked of me and can present even more options. I wonder if I can do this. I really thought, “Wouldn’t it be weird if I did that?” But I think this industry is a place where individuality is very much questioned, and even when I’m working as Fumiyoshi Shioya, I’m sometimes told, “It’s okay to put in more fun.” I feel that there are hints for growth in children, so I would like to incorporate more play next year.

Do you feel that you have grown since your debut? Shioya: It’s a little bigger than when I debuted. I don’t think I’ve gotten better, but… but I really feel that there must be things I couldn’t express if I wasn’t myself at that time. I wonder if it’s good. I’m moving forward recklessly and can express myself better. I think it would be great if I could act while valuing the goodness of my character.

Is that so. What kind of person do you want to be from now on? Shioya: I will be 27 years old, and I think that being a voice actor, or actor, in which the personality of a person is reflected in the play, and naturally the attractive side of the person is reflected in the play. So, it may sound like a cliché, but I always want to be an attractive and wonderful person. I want to be that person who thinks of how I want to be.

Nice, isn’t it? Finally, please give a message to the readers. Shioya: Actors and voice actors are in the world because the audience is watching them, and they can exist because they are watching them. I often think about the fans when I can meet them in person during events and recitations, but what I feel at that time is, “Many people actually watch the play…” When I receive feedback like, “This play was really good!” With the joy of being able to share the same thing with the fans, I was filled with the thought, “I got it right!” Anyway, I don’t want the people who support me to be disappointed, so I’d like to repay them with my behaviour and acting so that they can feel that I’m glad they supported me. I’m sure there are times when you want to support this person instead of me. I personally think that it can’t be helped, so I don’t mind if you recommend a completely different one. However, at random times, I thought, “This person is really good. I hope I can be an actor that everyone remembers.”

You said that you are not good at output, but were you able to convey what you wanted to convey? Shioya: Well (laughs), what I want to say it that I’ve become ready for when someone cheers me on. I always want to do my best so that I can receive it, so if you’d like, please continue to support me forever!

This interview gave us a glimpse of various aspects of the always humble Shioya-san. Shioya: Thank you very much.

Bonus: about the signature (While writing the cheque signature). Great sign, don’t you think it’s fashionable? Shioya: I have to write my signature with “Idolmaster SideM. Think hard at your part-time job when you can’t say “I got it.” Thank you very much. I have free time… It wasn’t that I was bogging down! (laughs).


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