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Original “Doraemon” Voice Actor Tomita Kosei Dies at 84

Japanese newspapers reported that veteran voice actor Tomita Kosei has passed away last September 27 due to a stroke. The prolific and beloved voice actor was 84 years old.

Kosei’s agency Production Baobab published a short obituary last week announcing his passing. Their obituary, posted on the homepage of their website, translates to English as such:

“Our company’s Tomita Kosei (age of death, 84) passed away on September 27 in the second year of Reiwa (2020) due to a stroke.”

Kosei started out as a stage actor for the Gekidan Tougei theatrical troupe. His storied 50-year career in the anime industry was kickstarted in 1963 when he provided the voice to Higeoyaji (English name: Shunsaku Ban), a character that first appeared in Osamu Tezuka’s classic Astro Boy. Kosei then reprised his character for several times across Tezuka’s different works through the years, as Higeoyaji is a recurring character in the so-called “Osamu Tezuka Star System” (think of it as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but not quite so: it simply refers to characters that Tezuka reuses across his different works).

In 1973, he then voiced the beloved blue robotic cat Doraemon until he was replaced by Masako Nozawa that same year (this sudden switching of voice actors caused an uproar among fans at that time). He then went on to voice other notable characters such as Dr. Hell and Nuke in Mazinger Z, Inspector Ohtsuka in Shin Tetsujin 28, Dr. Saotome in Getter Robo, Alexander Bucock in The Legend of the Galactic Heroes, and Bouleuse Gotho in Armored Trooper Votoms, among many others. He also provided Japanese dubbing to English movies such as Rocky, Airwolf and Kung Fu Panda. His voice was also used in Tokyo Disneyland’s “Big Thunder Mountain” ride. In total, Kosei lent his voice to more than 50 anime films and series throughout his career. 

Source: Anime News Network

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