Jun Kasama (Voice Newtype Vol. 77 2020)

笠間 淳

While active as a voice actor and narrator, Jun Kasama has written original scripts and performed readings on his own distribution program. His raison d’être as an actor is to make people notice the obvious happiness. We approach the thought of talking about himself as a device.

How did you spend your school days? Kasama: I love to sing, and when I was in high school, I used to sing along with my friends on the street. I wrote and composed the lyrics myself and was in a band in college. The faculty is the Faculty of Education. At the welcome party for new students, I was involved in the operation as one of the core members, and I liked creating something as a team and producing results.

When you became aware of your work as a voice actor? Kasama: It all started with “Neon Genesis Evangelion,” which was on air when I was in the first and second years of junior high school. But it wasn’t until I entered the workforce that I actually decided to take up the challenge of becoming a voice actor. After two or three years of employment, I wonder, “What have I been doing? Can I say that I have enjoyed my life?” It became like this. After that, I started attending the office’s training school while working.

And debuted in 1 year. Do you have any memorable memories from that time? Kasama: When I first made my debut, the big thing for me was the presence of my friends who studied together. Every time I had a drink with my fellow actors, we would talk about the play and discuss our goals. I made my debut in my late twenties, so compared to people who have been active since their teens, I always felt like I was lagging behind. But there is no other way but to work hard. If I was behind them, I would always think, “I will do my best to overtake them.” In a sense, my negative emotions may have been my strength to move forward.

What do you think is the charm of a voice actor that attracts Kasama-san so much? Kasama: I can’t decide, there are too many elements I like (laughs). When I receive a letter from a fan who listens to my plays and sings and says, “I was able to do my best,” I am extremely happy. I also think of it as a repetition of transcendence. When I can feel my own growth, I feel that I am glad that I continued. It’s difficult to ask why I’ve continued to do this, but on the contrary, I think the best answer is “I’m continuing now.”

I think Amehiko Kuzonoha from “The Idolmaster SideM” is the character that helped many people get to know Kasama-san. What kind of person is Amehiko to you, Kasama-san? Kasama: I think it can be said that this character was a turning point in my career as an actor. Of course, I have equal affection for all the characters, but it was an opportunity for many people to see my expressions, and there aren’t many characters I’ve been with for such a long time. In terms of what an actor should be and how to create a role, it was Amehiko who laid the foundation for that. It is precisely because it is necessary to create roles not only in plays but also in various channels such as singing and dancing that I’m able to express myself as a living human being.

How do you feel about the producer’s support? Kasama: I remember saying at a live performance before, “I can be Amehiko because the producers are my producers.” Whether you are a student or a member of society, I want you to think that you are a producer the moment you touch the work. I think that’s a wonderful thing. It would be nice if we could all walk together like that, like playing an epic RPG.

In the streaming program “Jun Kasama’s Tasogare Koshodo,” you read the original script aloud that you created together with the viewers. Kasama: At the root of my way of thinking is an actor is the idea that it’s more fun to work together than to work alone. And I hope that will lead to confidence in the viewers. In this day and age, happiness is causing inflation, so people rarely praise me. For example, no matter who can play baseball, not everyone can become a major leaguer. But I think that the fact that I took a step forward and accomplished something should definitely be praised by someone. Having the setting sent to the program turned into a work and read in front of everyone is sure to be a great experience of happiness for that person. So, I want you to satisfy my desire for approval.

I have never heard of any other program with such a stance. Kasama: Probably not (laughs). I’m nothing more than a device to make everyone feel happy, and I think that’s fine. Everyone worked hard, sent letters even though they were nervous, saved money and went on an expedition… It’s nothing more than a device that amplifies that step many times and makes you feel happy. If you are not happy, you will not be able to receive my expressions. I want you to feel happy. That’s what I’m here for.

Have you ever thought about being a voice actor during the corona crisis? Kasama: I’m still thinking about what I can do in a situation where even the places where I can express myself are limited. What an individual can do is limited, but it would be great if I could help everyone look forward. Personally, the amount of time I spend facing myself has increased dramatically. It made me realize that humans depend so much on other people. Self-restraint opening is also changing at the post-recording site, there was a transformation. I think that the cast and staff communicate more often than before. I thought everyone was lonely.

Is there anything you want to challenge in the future? Kasama: Write a feature-length script and have an acquaintance of an actor perform it. Also, playing the main character in anime. Up until now, I’ve often assisted the main character or acted as a watcher. But I also really want to play the main character someday. What I want to do privately is build a garage house where I can park my car. On top of that, I think it would be nice to have a café by the time I become a grandfather.

What kind of voice actor will you be in the future? Kasama: Someday, I want to meet a character who has a definite line like the seniors I respect so much. I want to be a voice actor who can live with one character for a long time.

Finally, please leave a message for all the fans. Kasama: Again, I’m nothing more than a device for you to feel happy in your daily life. I would be very happy if you could bring this device to your side and use it as an opportunity to feel happy. Hopefully, it will be a device that you can keep by your side for many years to come.

Column: Little Happiness: The presence of others

It was the first time in a while that I was able to talk with various people at the post-recording site. And I was able to do a play. I was very happy just to be able to feel the presence of others. During the stay-at-home period, I cried while hugging my cat (laughs).

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