Yukana Panel at Anime Matsuri 2023

Yukana Nogami (aka Yokana) as photographed at PMX 2007

Yukana Nogami, widely known in the anime industry simply as “Yukana”, is an accomplished Japanese voice actress whose vocal versatility has given life to a myriad of characters since her debut. Her vast career stretches across genres, making her one of the most recognizable voices in anime.

Some of her most esteemed roles include:

  • C.C. in “Code Geass”
  • Teletha “Tessa” Testarossa in “Full Metal Panic!”
  • Honoka Yukishiro/Cure White in “Futari wa Pretty Cure”
  • Meer Campbell in “Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny”
  • Kanna in “Inuyasha”
  • Isane Kotetsu in “Bleach”

Anime Diet had the privilege of interviewing Yukana at PMX Long Beach back in 2007, marking one of our earliest interactions with the anime voice acting community. Fast forward to 2023, we were fortunate enough to reconnect with her at her guest panel at Anime Matsuri. Her unwavering dedication to her craft and her lasting impact on the industry make Yukana an icon and a true ambassador for anime. Below is the entire transcript of her panel including some interesting fan interactions, humorous and touching anecdotes as well as some sound clips of her incredible voice acting skills.

Sat, 08/12/2023

Yukana arrives

Yukana 00:06
はいこんばんは。 皆さんようこそいらっしゃいました。 Good evening.  Welcome to everyone.

Translator 00:10                                            
Welcome everyone!

Translator 00:25
Yes, please remember that there should be no photos in this panel. I’m really sorry about that. Yeah. Thank you.

Yukana 00:36
とても広いところだけど、みんなゆっくりお話できそうで嬉しいです。So, it’s a very big place, but I’m happy that everyone is able to have time to talk.

Translator 00:45
So it’s a very big venue, but I’m glad that we can all have more time to talk together.

Yukana talks Houston, Buc-ee’s and Whataburger

Translator 01:08
How was your stay in Houston?

Yukana 01:10
あの、暑いです。 えっと、まだ初めて来たばかりで、あの、着いたばかりで、まだ遊んでないから、これから少し街を歩きたいです。-  Um, it’s hot. This is my first time here, and since I just arrived, I haven’t had time to really go out yet.  So I just want to walk around the city for a while.

Translator 01:28
So it’s her first time in Houston and she just got here yesterday so she hasn’t had time to like look around but we’ll have time to go and go sightseeing after this. Is there any place that you would recommend for her to visit in Houston?

Translator 01:52
I’m sorry? (It’s difficult to hear the audience member’s question)

Translator 01:57
Give the gentleman there the mic.

Audience Member 1 02:03
You’re in Texas, so you need to go to a Buc-ee’s.

Audience 02:05

Translator 02:07
(Confused) A buck, a buck-e…?

Audience Member #2 02:08
It’s a gas station. A great gas station.  You need to go there to know what kind of gas station it is.

Translator 02:19
Oh, okay… Buc-ees…?

Audience 02:22
(Audience laughter while translator explains to Yukana)

Yukana 02:22
ありがとう! Thank you! (laughing)

Audience 02:22

Translator 02:31
Any other suggestions…?

Yukana 02:31
じゃあ、行ってみるよ! Well then, let’s go there (Strong laughter) 

Translator 02:37
(Laughing) She’ll go there.  She’ll try going there.

Yukana 02:38
(slight laughter) あとは?Anything else?

Audience Member #3 02:39
 Uh, Whataburger…?

Audience 02:39
(Audience Laughter)

Yukana 02:43
うん、食べてない。Yeah, I haven’t eaten it.

Audience 02:46
Random audience commentary

Translator 02:47
She hasn’t tried it, but we’ll make sure to get her a Whataburger.

Yukana 02:52
I will try!  (In English)

Translator 02:52
 It’s only in Houston, right?

Audience 02:58
Audience commentary explaining locations of Whataburger restaurants.

Yukana 03:03
うん、そう, 行ってみたいです。ありがとう. あとは?I see, I’d like to go there. Thank you. Any place else?

Translator 03:13
We have other suggestions, places to visit, aside from, of course, NASA. (laughter)

Yukana 03:24
じゃあ何か,う…? Well, any other questions…?

Audience Member #4 03:28
There’s the Gerald Heinz waterfall, which is very popular spot in Houston.

Translator 03:34
(Translating to Yukana the suggestion)

Yukana 03:41
うん。素敵な意見をありがとうございます。Thank you for the wonderful recommendations.

Translator 03:42
Thank you for that very magnificent recommendation. (slight laughter)

Yukana 03:47
(Speaking to the Translator) あの、連れて行ってもらえるようにお願いしてみます。 Um, I will try asking the staff to take me to those places.

Translator 03:50
I’ll try to ask the staff to take me there. Thank you.

Translator 03:56
Okay, again for the newcomers, welcome to the Yukana panel. Just a reminder that photos are not allowed and your opinions matter. 

Yukana 04:11
何か聞きたいことある?Is there anything you want to ask?

Translator 04:12
Is there anything you want to ask Yugana -san? This is a live Q &A.

Yukana 04:18
はい。はい、はい、はい? Yes. Yes, yes, yes? (playfully spoken) [Anyone. Anyone, anyone, anyone?]

Yukana as a Tokyo Tour Guide

Audience Member #5 04:23
I’m going to Japan in October and I want to see if she can recommend anything to Tokyo since definitely one of them.

Outspoken Audience Member 04:33
Oh. Oh. Oh.  It’s dripping water on me!  (Audience Member commenting about water dripping from the ceiling).

Translator 04:51
Oh, it’s raining here… Oh (nervous laughter) Okay.

Yukana 04:55
そうね、東京タワー。Let’s see,  Tokyo Tower…

Translator 04:55
Tokyo Tower (laughter)

Yukana 05:02
東京タワーとスカイツリー。Tokyo Tower and Sky Tree.

Translator 05:03
And Tokyo Sky Tree.  It’s another tower, but like taller than Tokyo Tower yeah it’s in Asakusa…

Yukana 05:14
あと、えっと、もしワンピースが好きだったら、ワンピースのスポーツジムがあるよ。Also, if you like One Piece, there’s a One Piece sports gym.

Audience Member #5 05:23
Oh… a gym?  Yeah…

Translator 05:25
If you like One Piece, there’s a sports gym, there’s a one piece sports gym….

Yukana 05:31

Translator 05:35
In Shibuya.

Audience Member #5 05:38
Yeah, I got it.  I’m gonna write it down…

Yukana 05:39
あとは、何か、海軍に入れるっというテーマがあるスポオーツジムがある。 There’s also a sports gym where you can be a Marine (from One-Piece).

Translator 05:54
So it’s like you know in sports gym there’s a membership style so that one you will be one of the pirates if you enter that if you become a member of that gym it’s that kind of like you know one-piece team sports gym.

Yukana  06:15

あとは、何かあるかな? Anything else?

Audience Member #5  06:24
What about desserts? I love desserts. I want to eat some, probably like a bakery… a nice bakery over there.

Speaker 1 06:32
うん、そしたらきっと、今はすぐわかんないけど、コラボカフェみたいなのがあって、アニメーションのコラボしてるカフェがあって、メニューとかがそこにしかないのがあるから、コラボカフェっていうので調べてみたら出るんじゃないかな。それ多分いろんな時にも、10月じゃなくても。Yeah, I don’t know about right now, but there’s something like a collaboration cafe, it’s an animation collaboration cafe. They have menu items that can only be found there. It should come up if you look it up,  it’s called a collaboration cafe.  They take place at various times, but not just in October.

Translator 06:59
So in Japan there’s a lot of collaboration cafes with certain anime titles so it doesn’t just apply to like if it’s going in October.  It happens all year round, so she’s sure that there is some cafe, usually it’s like an anime cafe – this is not sponsored by the way. So there’s a lot of cafes that collaborate with, for example blue lock or or demon slayer (or something like that). So you would be able to find one.  Try searching for a collab cafe. Yeah, you will be able to like eat stuff there that is themed with the characters for example.  Yeah so that’s a good suggestion.

Yukana 07:51
あと何かある?- Anything else?

Translator 07:56
Other questions?

Yukana talks her voice acting process

Audience Member #6 08:04
What was your most difficult role as a voice actor?

Yukana 08:17
どれも難しいし、どのキャラクターも、でも、楽しいし、とりたてて難しいものは、あんまり無いかな。あの、天才なわけじゃないわよ。でも、あの、その、どれも一番最初監督とか原作の人とかがイメージしているものがどうやって形にしてあげられるか先ず考えます。それを私の音、私の体で一番そのイメージに近いもの、そしてそこさらに私の私だから足せるものを探します。Hmmm…  All of them are difficult, and all of them are fun, although I don’t think there are many that are particularly difficult. You know, I’m not a genius. But, umm, first of all, I think about how I can give shape to what the director and the creators of the original work have in mind. Then, I search within my own voice and my own perspective to find what I can contribute that’s closest to their envisioned image and what I can uniquely add from my own essence.”

Translator 09:29
So every –  thank you for the question – Every character is difficult, but at the same time, every character is also, she also has fun doing them. So at first, when the director or the creator of the original work has this image of a character, for example, she thinks about that character, about how she can materialize that character with her own voice, with her own body.

Translator 10:08
So she gets off that sound of her voice that she thinks is closest to the image of what the director or the original creator has, but only she can voice.

Yukana 10:27
そして難しいことを要求されると燃えます。And when challenging tasks are required, I get fired up.

Translator 10:37
So she’s the type who, when you’re asked to do something difficult, it’s the harder she tries. So she’s that type of person.

Yukana 10:53
です。大丈夫かな。I hope that answers your question.

Translator 10:55
Does that answer your question? Thank you. Okay, next question.

Audience Member #7 11:03
Have you had any voice rolls that (are) very difficult on your throat? I mean like, do you go low, high as in like (stretching the limits of) your vocal cords..?

Yukana 11:24

そんな私は、自分はね、これくらいですけど、ロウトーン 「おーん」。(laughter) –  As for me, you know, I’m like this—my voice has a range that includes a low tone like “oooon,” (laughter)けう「おーん」-  The “keu” sound, like “oooon.” (spoken with a low groan)

[Translator notes – “Keu” is an onomatopoeic sound in Japanese often used to depict a low, groaning, or moaning sound. It can represent various emotions or situations, such as pain, discomfort, fatigue, or dissatisfaction. In the context it represents a sound effect that the speaker is describing as part of their voice acting range.]

Yukana 11:42
Or、「キュン」アニメ祭り高いのも低いのも私の声で私は高い声も低い声も、うーん、何だろう、何だろうな、こんなにたくさん使う人はそんなにいないし、私はいろんな高さの音を出すのはとても楽しいし、それを楽しんでもらえるんだったら、すごく嬉しい。私しかできないことの一つかな。と思うので、あと男の子の声とかね、怖い声とか、あの、そういうのも含めていろいろできるのは、声のお芝居ならではの楽しみだなって思います 。Or「kyun」-  “Anime Matsuri” (spoken in cutesy young girl voice). I can do both high and low pitches comfortably, and you know, not many people use such a wide range. I find it really enjoyable to produce different pitches. If others can enjoy that too, it makes me very happy. I think it’s one of the things that’s unique to me. Additionally, being able to do various things with my voice, like boys’ voices or even scary ones, is something you can only enjoy through voice acting.

[Translator notes: “Kyun” is an onomatopoeic term in Japanese that represents a feeling of heart-fluttering or excitement due to something cute, endearing, or touching. It’s often used to describe the sensation of having one’s heart skip a beat in response to seeing or experiencing something adorable or heartwarming. This term is commonly used in anime and manga culture to express moments of emotional resonance]  

Translator 12:51
So, Yukana -san can go low, like you heard, like Keu, and also she can do high tone voices. So, every character she has fun in doing them, even the higher the tone of the characters, the more fun she has in doing them. But also, like she can also do low tones, like a small voice, voice, or scary voice.

Translator 13:25
So she can do a lot, and that’s part of being a voice actor in Japan. And it’s also the fun part of being a voice actor in Japan.

Yukana 13:38
Is (that) okay? (in English)

Translator 13:41
Is that okay?

Audience Member #8 13:49
Do you ever feel like you can’t do a voice a certain day?

Yukana 14:09
ううん… あの…例えば、朝「おはようございます」みたいな役をやって、その次に「おおおおお」ってやって、その後に「わぁあああああ」みたいな役をやっても別に平気です –。Not really… Ah… for instance, let’s say, in the morning, I do a role like saying “Good morning,” (said in a sharp high pitched voice) and then later, I switch to “ooohhhh,” (spoken in a strong slightly deep voice) and finally, I do a role like saying “waaaaahhhh.” (vocalized as a sharp slight yell). It’s all perfectly fine for me. So, whether it’s a high-pitched or a low-pitched character, or even using my usual voice in the evening, I don’t feel like there’s any day when I can’t manage a particular voice.

Translator 14:33
So basically, like in the morning, she can do a high pitched, high tone character. And then in the afternoon, she can go low. And then in the evening, she can use her like normal voice. So she doesn’t feel like it’s very hard to like voice any character at all.

Yukana 14:57
そういうこともある。そういう日も実際にあります。That’s right. There are times when that happens. There are actual days like that.

Translator 15:01
So there are actually days that she voices characters like those range of voices in one day. So there are actual days that she does that. So yeah.

Translator 15:16
Thank you for the question. Thank you. Next question?

How Yukana Became a Voice Actress

Audience Member #9 15:31
Okay, so did you start out as a voice actor or did you do something before this and then fell into voice acting?

Yukana 15:52
別のことやってましたよ。I was doing something else.

Translator 15:52
She was doing something else.

Yukana 15:56
高校生。High School Student. (In playful voice)

Translator 15:56
She was a high school student.  (laughing)

Everyone 16:02
Laughter of Yukana, Translator and audience.

Translator 16:19
So she was kidding. She was in high school when she started out as a voice actor, so she was doing voice acting jobs while going to high school. So technically she is still doing something else, but that was a joke, okay?

Yukana 16:41
高校生のときにオーディションを受けて、ヒロインの声とあとその作品の主題歌を歌うということになって、それが一番最初のお仕事。When I was a high school student, I auditioned and got my very first job. I was cast as the heroine’s voice, and I also ended up singing the theme song for that work.

Translator 17:04
So her first job as a voice actress was she took the audition. She auditioned for the two voices, the heroine and also to sing the main theme song of that title. So that was her first job as a voice actress.

Yukana 17:28
だから、えっと、最初にセリフのキャラクターのオーディションがあって、少し選ばれた何人かの中から、その後に歌のオーディションがあって、で、歌のオーディションでそのまま決まりました。あの、私の、私の番でもう決まっちゃった。So, well, initially there was an audition for the character’s lines.  After that a few people were chosen, then there was a singing audition.  It was immediately decided, during the singing audition, that I would receive the role.

Translator 17:58
So at first, like, she auditioned for the voice of the heroine, so they were told to, like, say a few lines of the character, and there were other candidates for that character. But for the audition for the song, when she applied for that, she immediately got accepted when it was her turn.

Translator 18:27
So they decided that it would be her to sing the main theme song of that title.

Yukana 18:33
うん、それが最初です。Yes, that was the beginning.

Translator 18:35
Yeah, that was her first experience as a voice actress. Thank you for the question.

Yukana 18:45
さっきの、さっきね、そこの3列目の彼が手を挙げてた。Earlier, I mean just now, that guy in the third row over there raised his hand.

Translator 18:46
Third row?

Yukana’s roles in Blazblue and Dragalia Lost

Audience Member #10 18:59

Yukana 18:59
Hello (In English)

Audience Member #10 18:59
Of course it’s nice to meet you. What I’d like to ask is that since you voiced as Isanami from Blazblue Central Fiction and many fighting game players were playing as your character.

Audience Member #10  19:13
I’d like to ask how did you get the voice role as Isanami for Blaze Blue trilogy series of the game?

Yukana 19:31
えっと、ある日電話がかかってきて、イザナミをお願いしますと言われました。Um, well…one day I received a phone call, and they asked me if I could voice Izanami.

Translator 19:44
So she just got a phone call one day and then they asked her to do the voice of Izanami.

Translator 19:52
Audition then? (to Yukana)

Yukana 19:53
全然。Not at all.

Translator 19:53
Then yeah. It wasn’t an audition. She was chosen for the role. (slight laughter)

Audience Member #10 19:59
Thank you.

Translator 20:00
Thank you.

Audience Member #10 20:02
I love Blaze Blue (unintelligible) 

Yukana 20:08
うん。ありがとう。Yes.  Thank you. (Implied: I appreciate that).

Translator 20:13
Thank you for the question. Okay, other questions?

Audience Member #11 20:18
So I was a massive Dragalia Lost fan when that game was still around. So I was curious of the characters you voiced in Dragalia Lost. Which of those were your favorite?

Yukana 20:51
Dragalia Lost ナームだよ。Yeah?  そう.. そうね。ナームという役とメーネという役とかいくつかあったんだけど、ナームちゃんはとても可愛くて大好き。I’m Nahm! (spoken in the character voice) Yeah..? I had roles like Nahm and also Meene, among a few others. But, Nahm-chan is very cute, and I love her a lot.

Yukana does the voice of Nahm from Dragalia Lost (Notte in the North American release) at Anime Matsuri.

Audience Member #11 21:21
So, um, Dragalia Lost , yeah. She voiced, um, Nahm and Meene. But Nahm was very cute, so she likes her a lot.

Yukana 21:38

スキップチケットをあげる! I’ll give you a skip ticket! (Spoken in Nahm’s voice)

Yukana 21:41
そうそう、ナームちゃんの感じはすごい好き。で、メーネというのはもう少し大人の役だったり、ネファーリエっていう女王様の役もありました。すごく懐かしい。ありがとう。That’s right, I really like Nahm-chan’s vibe. And then, Meene’s role was a bit more mature, and I also had the role of Queen Nefaria. It’s really nostalgic. Thank you.

Translator 22:05
It feels a bit nostalgic hearing about Dragalia Lost. And like, so there’s Nahm who is very cute. And then there’s Meene who is very like adult like. And then there’s Nefaria who is the queen. So yeah, she, she, it feels rather nostalgic hearing like thinking about these characters.

Translator 22:28
It’s been a while.

Yukana 22:29
ありがとう。Thank You

Translator 22:30
Thank you very much.

Translator 22:33
Okay, next question.

Audience Member #12  22:40
What is the most exciting or I guess maybe the strangest thing she’s seen since being here so far?

Yukana’s epic battle with a hotel air conditioner

Yukana 23:13
 あ、あるよ。えっと、ヒューストン暑いでしょAh, I see… Well, Houston is hot, isn’t it?

Translator 23:20
So Houston is hot….

Yukana 23:25
ホテルのお部屋は涼しいでしょ。Then the hotel room is cool, isn’t it?

Translator 23:29
Then her hotel room is very cool.

Yukana 23:32
 お部屋の設定温度がすっごく寒いの。The room’s set temperature is really cold.

Translator 23:40
The hotel room air conditioning is very very cold.

Yukana 23:45
それで私は温度を上げたの。So I raised the temperature.

Translator 23:50
So she raised the temperature.

Yukana 23:55
そしたら、朝食を今朝食べてお部屋に帰ったら、寒くなってたの。Then, after having breakfast this morning and returning to the room, it had become even colder.

Translator 24:07
So she raised the temperature, she went to have breakfast, and then when she came back to her room, it became colder than before.

Yukana 24:16
それで、また私は温度を上げたの。So, I raised the temperature again.

Translator 24:21
So she raised the temperature again.

Yukana 24:25
でもきっとまた、明日下がってるんじゃないかなって思う。But I have a feeling it might be lowered again tomorrow.

Translator 24:29
She feels like tomorrow it’s gonna be colder again, like how it happened today.

Yukana 24:35
そう、だから、えっと、クリーニングの方と、エアコン争奪戦をしています。 あの、なんていうの、えっと、温度、温度の調節を競争しています。So, well, I’m in a battle with the cleaning staff over the air conditioning. Um, you know, we’re competing to adjust the temperature.

Translator 24:55
So she’s having this battle with the cleaning lady on the temperature of her room.

Yukana 25:04
これはヒューストンに来て一番、多分帰るまで、何度もバトルがあるというふうに予想しています。I’m expecting that this will probably be a frequent battle that I’ll have, at least until I leave Houston.

Translator 25:16
So she feels like it’s gonna be a long battle between her and the cleaning lady until she goes back to Japan, the battle of the air conditioning.

Yukana 25:28
今一番面白いことです。This is currently the most interesting thing.

Translator 25:31
That’s what she found most interesting and funny here in Houston.

Translator 25:38
Thank you. Other questions?

Audience Member #13  25:46
How many conventions have you been to, and when you came to America were you nervous at first?

Translator 26:01
Do you mean like overseas conventions or in America only?

Audience Member #13 26:07
Yeah, like American conventions…

Yukana 26:09
考えさせて… Let me think…

Translator 26:12
She’s trying to remember how many times.

Yukana 26:25
多分5回か6回だと思うんだけど… I think probably around 5 or 6 times, but…

Translator 26:28
It’s around five to six times.

Yukana 26:33
実は私は今、日本語を喋っていますが、実はニューヨークに住んでいました。 Actually, I’m speaking Japanese now, but the truth is, I used to live in New York.

Translator 26:47
She’s talking in Japanese right now but actually she’s lived in New York.

Yukana 26:54
えっと、そんな長くないけど、1年半くらいかな、一人でマンハッタンに住んでいました。 Um, it wasn’t that long, but maybe about a year and a half. I was living alone in Manhattan.    

Translator 27:02
So yeah, it wasn’t that long, but it was about one year and a half. She lived alone in Manhattan.

Yukana 27:12
だから、アメリカに来るのはそんなには緊張しないです。So, I don’t get too nervous about coming to America.    

Translator 27:18
So she’s not very nervous about coming to America actually, because she’s lived in New York before.

Yukana 27:27
うん、ただ、ちょっと私の英語がブロークンなところがあるので、 えっと、ちゃんとした会の時には、あの、通訳さんにお願いするというのをポリシーにしています。Yeah, but since my English is a bit broken, I have a policy of asking for an interpreter during formal meetings.

Translator 27:39
So she thinks her English is broken. I don’t believe so, but anyway, she’s really good. But in like conventions like this one, or official work she relies on translators or interpreters to help her with the language, with English.

Yukana 28:06
そうなんの… Yeah, it’s like that…

Translator 28:06
That’s her policy.

Yukana 28:07
そう.. もしかして間違えちゃうかもしれないから、第一、なんか例えば、悪気はないけど何か傷つけてしまったりしたら、なんか、せっかく遠くから会いに来てくれるのに、なんかちょっと悲しい気持ちになって欲しくないので、あの、ちゃんと通訳さんにお願いしようと思っています。でも街であったら喋るかもしれないけど、だからお買い物とかホテルの人とか、私は一人ですぐ電話したりしてます。You know, just in case I might make a mistake, for instance, unintentionally saying something hurtful, I wouldn’t want you to feel even a little sad after making the effort to come all the way here. So, I’m thinking of asking for an interpreter to avoid that. But if we were to meet in town, I might still try to talk. So when it comes to shopping or hotel staff, I often call them immediately since I’m alone.

Translator 28:52
So yeah, she’s afraid of making mistakes and then like hurting the feelings of everyone. So like some of you might have come from far, like you’re not from Houston, you came from, I don’t know, California or somewhere. And then you’ll just go home like with your feelings hurt. She doesn’t want that. So she made it her policy to just rely on like translators and interpreters. Yeah, but she does speak English like outside. Like for example, when she goes shopping and then at the hotel. Yeah, if there’s a problem, she immediately calls the front desk.

Yukana 29:47
そうなんですよ。何となく答えになりましたか?Yes, that’s right. Did my answer somehow cover your question?

Translator 29:51
Did that answer your question? Was it okay? Okay. Thank you for the question.

Yukana 30:00
何かありますか?Is there anything else that you would like to ask?

Yukana 30:17
ファーストタイムの人いる?Are there any first-timers here?

Yukana 30:17
まず1回目の人優先でいい?Is it okay to prioritize those who are attending for the first time?

Translator 30:17
So let’s let’s let the first time people to ask questions

Audience Member #14 30:27
So we know that Yukana-san played a lot of characters both in animation and in games. Do you feel like there is specifically a difference when you play animation characters or in game characters? Do you do different things when you do this?

Yukana 30:54
あの、技術的にはあります。Um, technically, yes.

Translator 30:59
So there’s a difference in technique.

Yukana 31:02
何故ならば、相手がいて話す収録、アニメーションとかね。会話をする、のと、 ゲームは、あの、例えば、クリックしたら喋る、と、必ずしも会話になっているわけじゃない、のと、例えばゲームの会話の相手がプレイヤーでしょ、だから、物語の中だけ同士で話をするもの、と、物語とあなたで話すものは少しお芝居の仕方が違います。Because when it comes to recording dialogue for animation or other forms of media, there’s someone else to interact with, to have a conversation with. For games, it’s like when you click, the character speaks, and it’s not necessarily a real conversation. Also, in the case of game dialogues, the player is often the conversation partner. So, there’s a slight difference in how acting is approached between something where you only talk with fellow characters within the story and something where you interact with the story and yourself.

Translator 31:55
So in animation, when they record lines, they usually record in groups. So they would have other people, it’s like you’re having a conversation in real time. But when in game, for example, when you click this, when you click, right, or you push a button, and then she says the line. Or there’s also the interaction between you and her character. And also in games, there’s the interaction between her character and another character, and the player and her character. So there’s a lot of dynamics in the game that is different from animation.

Translator 32:45
So that’s the difference. Is that okay? Okay. Thank you for the question.

Translator 32:54
Okay. Other other questions?

Audience Member #15  33:03
Do you have a favorite song to sing and would you mind singing it to us for a moment?

Yukana 33:15
歌っていいかはわかんないけど、好きな歌なんだろう、みんな好きだよ、みんな好きだよ。何がいいのかな、例えば?I’m not sure if it’s okay to sing, but it’s probably a song you like, right? Everyone likes it, everyone likes it. What’s a good one, for example?

Translator 33:34
Well… She actually likes a lot…. many songs…everything…

Yukana 33:43
どんな?What do you mean?

Translator 33:44
What kind of song do you…?

Speaker 3 33:46
私の持ち歌ってこと?Are you asking about the songs I can sing?

Audience Member #15  33:51
Any of the openings that you sang… I’d love to hear your voice for a minute.

Staff and Yukana 33:55
(Briefly they discuss to themselves)

Yukana 34:06
えっと、残念だけど、なんか多分、本当は許可を取らないときっとやったらいけないから、前もってわかってたら聞いてきたよ。ごめんね。ってゆうのどうしたらいい?Um, I’m sorry, but I think maybe, in reality, I probably shouldn’t do it without getting permission. If I had known beforehand, I would have asked. I apologize. What should I do about saying that?

Translator 34:29
So we might get in trouble because of copyright. I know she’s just no one singing, but there are legal steps that we need to take before singing us all. But if she knew beforehand, she would have asked for permission to sing a song. So yeah, we apologize that she can’t sing.

Yukana 34:59
大丈夫..? え?さっきの歌?ええ、今まで歌ってきた?それはみんな好きだよ!ねえ、それはみんな好きですよ。Is it okay?  Huh? The song from earlier? Oh yes, the one I’ve been singing so far? Everyone likes it! Hey, everyone likes that song.

Translator 35:19
So she, out of all the songs that she has sung, of course she loves everything that she sang.

Yukana 35:29
そうね。そうね。そうだね。That’s right. That’s right. Indeed.

Translator 35:32
She can’t choose (slight laughter).

Translator 35:36
Okay, thank you for the question.

Question from Anime Diet

Jeremy – Anime Diet 35:42
I’m apologize that this question is going to be a little bit long, but I want to set up a little context. About 16 years ago, you said in an interview that you had a health condition as a child that doctors said may lead to a short life. You said that was really pivotal in leading you into wanting to become an actress, and part of that was that you wanted to create a lasting legacy. Looking back over what you’ve accomplished, what are your thoughts on that now? And is there anything that you’re still feeling you are striving for?

[The reference for this question is our Yukana interview at PMX Long Beach in 2007]

Yukana 36:42
答えになるかわからないけど、直接の答えになるかわからないけど、えっと、あの、全ての体の思うようにいかない人に対して言ってるわけではなくて、完全に個人の話ね。うん、そう私自身、私だけの話。I’m not sure if this will answer your question directly, but, um, you know, it’s not something that I’m saying to people who aren’t able to do everything their body wants them to. It’s not about individuals who can’t control their body entirely. Yeah, it’s about myself, my own story.

Translator 37:03
So just disclaimer that she’s going to be talking about herself so she’s not referring to any person with physical disabilities or whatever. So she’s going to be talking about her personal experience. Just to be clear.

Yukana’s reason to become a voice actress

Yukana 37:28
私の話ね。私は小さい頃に少し体が弱くて長く生きられないと言われたことがあって、ずっとそう言われていて、で、その出来事は私を絶望させたりもしたけれど、絶望したりもしたけれど、その出来事があったから頑張れたことがとてもたくさんあって、今はそのことがなかったら、ここにいないんじゃないかなと思っています。When I was little, I was told that my body was a bit weak and that I might not live for a long time. I was told that for a long time. And that event made me feel despair at times, but it also gave me the strength to persevere. There are many things that I was able to overcome because of that event. Now, if that hadn’t happened, I think I might not even be here.

Translator 38:12
So yeah, so when she was younger, she had a very weak  body and she was told many times that she won’t live long and that made her really hopeless. But because of that, she did her best, which brought her here today. So if she didn’t have that experience, she wouldn’t be here standing before you today.

Yukana 38:45
終わることをとても強く意識したから、頑張ったことがたくさんあって、今のうちに何をするべきか。小さい頃からたくさん考えました。Because I was very aware of the possibility of things ending, I put a lot of effort into many things. I thought about what I should do now, what I should be doing, from a young age.

Translator 39:09
So yeah, because she was told that she wouldn’t live long, she was very conscious that everything might end at this very moment. So at a very young age, she was already thinking hard, “what to do next? what to do next?”

Convincing her family

Yukana 39:28
で私がさっき高校生でデビューしたという話をしたのですが、私は20歳まではなれないと言われて、ずっと育っていたから。私の家はとても厳しくて、こういったいわゆる芸能活動を絶対に賛成する家ではなかった。だけど、人生最後だと思ったから、全員に一つだけ生きているうちにわがままを聞いてください。と言ってオーディションに参加した。そしてそれから人生が変わった。So, I mentioned earlier about making my debut as a high school student, right? I was told that I couldn’t pursue this until I turned 20, so I grew up with that notion. My family was very strict, and they weren’t supportive of what’s typically considered entertainment activities. However, because I felt it was my last chance in life, I asked everyone to indulge me once while I was still alive. I said that and participated in the audition. And from then on, my life changed.

Translator 40:21
So she talked about debuting as a voice actress back in high school. That’s because she was told that she wasn’t going to live until 20. So she came from a very strict family who is against show business. But because of her situation, like she wouldn’t be able to live longer than 20. She told her family that please listen to this is the only thing that I will ask you. This is my only selfish request. But because of that, because of her, of that request, her life changed after that.

Yukana 41:11
だから今ね、その予定をとても過ぎてもまだ生きている。So now, you see, I’ve surpassed that plan and I’m still alive.

Translator 41:20
So even if she’s already passed her, what do you call this? Like expiration date. (slight laugh) But she’s healthy, as you can see.

Yukana 41:33
 だから生きてるうちにみんなに直接会いたくて。So, I wanted to meet everyone in person while I’m still alive.

Translator 41:39
So she wanted to meet everyone as well, she’s still alive. So yeah, she’s very happy to meet you all.

Why Yukana attends conventions

Yukana 41:52
だから、なるべくアメリカのイベントも、他のイベントもいつも今ね、世界中に応援してくれる人がいて、私を好きな人がいて、私を好きだって言ってくれる人に私は生きてるうちにみんなに会いたいから来たよ。 So, I try to attend events in the United States and other places whenever I can. Right now, all around the world, there are people who support me, who like me, who say they love me. That’s why I came, because I want to meet all of them while I’m still alive.

Translator 42:21
That’s why she goes to American conventions, she goes to conventions around the world, because around the world there are many people who like her and she wants to meet those people who say they like her while she’s still alive. That’s why she’s here in front of you all.

It’s important to meet in person

Yukana 42:49
やっぱね、直接会わないとねって思うの。人は人間は直接会うのはとても大事だって私は思っている。Exactly, you know, I think it’s important to meet in person. I believe that for humans, meeting face to face is really crucial.

Translator 43:02
So she thinks that she has to meet the fans, for example. So that’s her kind of principle in life, that human beings, there should be interaction in person.

Translator 43:34
Thank you for your question.

Audience Member #16 43:37
You do know that a picture lasts forever, right?

Audience Member #16 43:43
I’m just saying, you know…. if you can. If the company lets you, we should take a group picture with everyone here.

Yukana 43:51
えっと、私の会社の人が決めています。ので、えっと会社の人がいいって言ったら。えっと、どうしようっか、あの、今は会社の人が決めていて、あの一応一緒に撮れないんだけど、例えば全員とかだったらできるかも。Um, the decision is made by the people at my agency. So, if the people at my agency think it’s a good idea… um, what should I do? Right now, it’s the agency’s decision, and we can’t really take pictures together. But, for example, if it was with everyone, it might be possible.

Translator 44:23
So right now, like during the panel, it’s kind of hard to take a picture, but after the panel with everyone, we can take a picture.

Yukana 44:38
ね、それはちょっと、きっと、スタッフが話し合いを。Right, we’ll need a bit… probably the staff would need to discuss it.

Translator 44:46
So she’ll talk to her manager. Thank you. Other questions?

Audience Member 44:58
Hi, so I noticed that you voiced a Hokusai from FGO. And I was wondering if you did play the game, did you ever roll for your character and actually get your character?

Audience 45:09

Yukana 45:26
 あのですね、イベントの北斎は持ってます。あれは努力で取れたから持っていますけど、ガチャの北斎は、いません。Well, you see, I have the Hokusai from the event. I managed to get that one through effort, so I have it. But the Hokusai from the gacha, I don’t have.

Translator 45:44
So she has the, she worked hard for the event, Hokusai, but for the Gacha Hokusai, she doesn’t have, unfortunately. Thank you for your question.

Yukana’s Typical Day

Audience Member #17  46:04
Hi, I apologize if I was to ask this earlier, but what’s the typical day like for you? And then how many hours do you kind of allocate towards voice acting? And do you have like the manager that manages or like looks out for any upcoming roles? And or do you do it yourself?

Yukana 46:44
つまらない答えなんだけど、その日によって違います。It’s a boring answer, but it’s different depending on the day.

Translator 46:50
So it’s gonna be a very boring answer but it really depends on the day.

Yukana 46:59
お仕事は忙しいときはすごく忙しいし、でもお仕事が忙しくないときに、自分を磨くことも私はとても大事だと思っているから、その為の時間を取るようにしている。そのための時間を欲しいからくださいと会社の人には言ってます。When work is busy, it’s really hectic, but during times when work isn’t as busy, I believe it’s important to improve oneself. So, I make sure to set aside time for that purpose. I tell the people at the company that I’d like to have that time for myself.

Translator 47:29
So it depends on the days, so there are days that she’s really busy, but when she has free time, she tries her best to improve her skills. So she asks her manager to give her time to life for self-improvement.

Yukana 47:50
 何かの、例えばどこかに出かける、何かを見る、何かの技術を得る、スキルを得るには時間がかかるから、だからフリーの時間ということで、自分で欲しいスキルをつかみに行くための時間をたくさん欲しい。For things like going somewhere, seeing something, or gaining a new skill or technique, it takes time. So, during free time, I really want to have ample time to pursue the skills I want to acquire on my own.

Translator 48:20
So for free time, there are times that you go out or you go shopping and there are times that you a lot of time to improve your skills. So for her, she asks her manager to give her free time to like skill up, brush up her skills in voice acting.

Yukana 48:44
うん、何か習い事したりとか、うん、そういうこと。もちろんです。Yeah, like taking lessons or something like that. Of course.

Translator 48:56
So it’s not just voice acting so she also goes out to like learn other things.

Yukana 49:06
例えば、例えば、それはあの、例えば美術館に行くというのもそうだし、例えば乗馬を習うとか、そういうことももちろん大事だし、なんだったら、美術を習うとか、何かいろんなことをできるようになったり、運転が上手になるとか、車とかバイクとかね。For example, going to an art museum is one thing, and learning horseback riding, things like that are definitely important. Even taking up art classes or learning various things, improving driving skills, whether it’s with cars or motorcycles.

Translator 49:34
So for example, learning other skills such as riding a horse or art or being a better driver. So those kinds of skills, she allows her time to improve her skills on that.

Translator 49:57
Okay. Thank you for the question.

Translator 50:07
Are there other questions?

Audience Member #18 50:10
Yeah, do you do any warm up exercises or any sort of training to help with your enunciation or your technique in between roles or outside of your roles?

Yukana 50:35
 多分ね、多分多分してると思うんだけど、私がとても無意識に多分しているから、あんまり自分で、その、努力をしているという自覚意識がないの。Perhaps, I think I might be doing it unconsciously most of the time, so I don’t really have a conscious awareness of putting in specific effort into it myself.

Translator 50:57
She probably is doing warming up exercises or something but she’s unconsciously doing them. So it’s kind of like a routine that she does them without thinking already. It’s not like she’s okay I have to do this to prepare.

Yukana 51:25
なんかよくね、すごく努力していると、友達とか知り合いに言ってもらうんだけど、私はそういう感じじゃなくて、興味のあるものをもっと知りたいと思って見ているだけのつもり。Yeah, it’s interesting. When people say to me that I must be putting in a lot of effort, like friends or acquaintances, I don’t feel that way myself. I just think I’m watching things because I want to learn more about the things that interest me.

Translator 51:47
So her friends tell her that she is doing a lot of things, like she’s doing her best in a lot of things. But personally, she thinks that she’s not that kind of person. Like she’s not that hardworking. She just, like she takes interest in something, and then she learns it. So that’s how she just is for her. But for other people, she’s a very hardworking person.

Translator 52:20
I hope that answers your question.

Yukana 52:25
 多分。答えになったかしら?Perhaps, that actually answered the question, maybe? 

Translator 52:26
Okay, thank you. I think we have time for one more question, one or two more questions before we take a picture.

Translator 52:35
We have one at the back, one here. How many?

Audience Member #19 52:54
What is one thing that no one really asks you about that often that you really would love to talk about and maybe you hope someone would actually ask you?

Translator 53:04
I’m sorry, can you repeat that?

Something Yukana Rarely Gets Asked

Audience Member #19 53:07
So I know she does a lot of interviews and I know there’s something that probably doesn’t get asked and she hopes one day it does. What is that one topic she always want to talk about but doesn’t get the chance to talk about?

Yukana 53:41
そういうときもあるよね。でも今はそんなにないかな。でもさっきの例えばどうして私が遠くまで来るのか、みたいなこととか、話せるような機会があったのは、今日嬉しかったし、何かその、そういうことかな、今日はたまたま聞いてくれた人がいて、だけどそうそう。There are definitely times like that (when I was hoping for a specific question to be asked). But, I can’t think of anything, at the moment. But, I was happy that I was able to answer the question from earlier about why I traveled so far to come here. I think that’s the main one. There just happened to be someone that asked that question today, but yes, you’re right…

Translator 54:18
There are times that there are times like that that no one asks the question that she wants to talk about but like for example the question earlier about why she goes Her way a long way just to meet her fans for example She’s very happy that someone asked her that because she doesn’t she doesn’t have the chance that many chances to do that Yeah, so I hope that answers your question

Yukana 54:49
いや、前もって聞いてくれたら、じゃあ、前にお願いします今度は。ちょっと冗談だけど。先にわかってたら、これを聞いてって、今度オーダーします。If only you had asked me this question earlier… Alright, so, please ask this question to me next time. Half joking, of course, but if I know you’re going to ask this question next time, I’ll be ready to tell you “ask me this!”

[Translator’s notes: This is a joke that was a bit difficult to translate into English and relate to the context but we think this covers the gist of it]

Translator 55:04
This is a joke, but if you ask her beforehand to say a question that you want her to answer, then she would have said that question. But yeah, it’s okay, it’s just a little joke.

Translator 55:24
Okay, last question.

Audience Member #20 55:29
So I just showed up 20 minutes ago. I don’t know if this question has been asked, but I’m gonna ask anyways. Do you have a favorite anime or manga? Or… Is this question answered?

Translator 55:39
No, it’s not. It’s not. Okay, you’re good.

Outspoken Audience Member #2 55:46
We don’t talk about anime here man, that’s kind of cringe.

Yukana 55:51
みんな好きだよ。I love all of them!

Translator 55:53
She likes everything.

Translator 55:57
Thank you for coming.

Audience 55:59
Loud Applause

Translator 56:00
Thank you everyone for attending the Yukana panel. That’s all for today.

Yukana 56:14
どうしようかな?  じゃ… What should I do? Well then…

Audience 56:23
(At this time a member of the audience brings up a present of a signed message board from everyone in the audience)

Yukana 56:29
ワォ!え!これ!みんな!ありがとうございます!Wow! Huh! This! (From) Everyone!? Thank you very much!

Translator 56:36
Thank you everyone for the message board.

Audience 56:42
ありがとう!じゃあ、1分私の頂戴。お話してくるから。写真撮りたい人待ってて。Thank you! Well then, give me a minute. I’ll come back after having a conversation. Those who want to take a picture, please wait.

Translator 56:53
So yeah, we’ll talk to the manager, so please stand by. He’ll stand by. We’ll just talk about the feature.

Translator 57:07
Thank you guys.

-End of Transcript

Author: Jeremy

Jeremy was first introduced to anime with heavily edited versions of Mazinger Z (aka Tranzor Z in the US), GoLion (aka Voltron) and Macross (aka Robotech) while growing up in the 1980's. Since then his tastes have evolved into a fairly eclectic mix of anime with a soft-spot for underdog shonen stories, psychological/cyber-punk stories and select love comedies. Jeremy was also the head organizer of Anime Souffle anime club in Los Angeles. It was at an Anime Souffle meeting where he met Michael Huang and eventually was invited to join as a guest co-host for Scattered Cells Podcast episode #6 in February of 2007. Afterwards he became an official part of the Anime Diet crew.

1 thought on “Yukana Panel at Anime Matsuri 2023

Leave a Reply