(Translated by sumire from an article in hm3 vol. 3/hm3 DX Weiss special issue)

Takehito Koyasu

In order to search for your roots, first, we'd like to ask you to talk about your childhood.

When I was a kid, I was a baseball boy! I didn't do anything but baseball--even when I was just playing, I played baseball. I didn't come across anything else.

Just like Hoshi Hyuuma. (laughs)
*the hero of the famous baseball manga "Kyoujin no Hoshi" ("Star of the Giants")

Yes. It's because my entire family played baseball. My dad played sandlot baseball, and my mom played softball. Actually, at the time, my mother had entered a softball class. So, from a very early age, without even knowing what was going on, I was dragged along to my mother's softball games. So, when I got older, she put me in Little League and things like that. We won countless victories. I look soft now, so you can't even imagine it, can you?

By the way, what position did you play when you were in Little League?

Number three, third base. It's a position of glory, isn't it? I must have been a star, a rising one. (laughs)

What kind of child were you in elementary school?

Way ahead of everyone else in physical education and arts and crafts--that kind of child. So I was often held up as an example in front of everyone.

A leader-type of child?

No, I wasn't much for leadership, although I was a noticeable child. Even doing ordinary things, I shone. If you were to compare me to a star, would I have been a first-magnitude star?

(laughs) So you were always in the center of things.

They would have had to drag me out of the spotlight. (laughs)

Until what age did you play baseball?

Until my first year of junior high school. Actually, when I was in the fifth grade, my father passed away. At that time, I started to go astray. But in junior high school, I tentatively joined the baseball team. But things like junior high school baseball teams are really very junior-senior-conscious, you know? Somebody I would have talked to normally up until then would get like, "I'm your senior!" I didn't like that, and I got on bad terms with the upperclassmen, so I finally quit baseball and started down the road to evil. So that's why I refer to my junior high school years as "the trash period."

Tell us your delinquent stories from that period.

My delinquent stories? 'Cause I have lots of dangerous ones. I almost killed someone, you know. If he had died, I would have gone straight to the reformatory. I'm glad he lived. Thanks to his not dying, I was saved. (laughs)

So, you didn't go to school at all.

No, although I was a delinquent, I did at least go to school. I'd stay while they took attendance and then leave. I didn't go to class; I did just as I liked. I'd skip school and do things like go to movies. But in my movie-watching period, I hardly fought or anything. It was more fun like that.

Did you spend all three years of junior high school like that?
*Unlike most American schools, in Japan, students spend three years in junior high and three years in high school.

That's right. Every year I missed about one term, so my student's report was shot to hell. At that time, while watching all those movies, I had already decided that I wanted to become an actor, so I figured my school record didn't mean anything. But leave it to my mom to scold me. She said, if you're going to do as you like, graduate from high school first. So, for the time being, I decided to go to high school. So, at the end of ninth grade, I worked incredibly hard to raise my grades to a certain level, but in any case, my student's report was so bad, it was impossible for me to get into an ordinary high school. So, I ended up going to a technical high school, the kind of place where all the bad kids gather. (laughs) It was really something else. People called it "the reformatory" because there was an iron fence around the whole school. I did an interview and things for the entrance examination, but afterwards, the teacher said, "I don't look at grades. I only take the bad-looking ones." Looking around at the other students, they really did look that bad. So I decided, in this environment, to be quiet.

Did you really stay quiet?

Yes, I was a good student. I was afraid of the teachers, too, so I went to class properly, too. I say I went to class, but that doesn't mean I got anything out of it. I just showed up in class and didn't listen to anything. But I made a lot of friends. We used to go to amusement parks a lot. And family-restaurant-hopping. (laughs) We even took an hour to go to one place because someone said a cute girl was there. (laughs) It was like my "youth" had finally arrived.

Does the erotic story come at this point?

The "erotic story" was in junior high school. I was in the eighth grade.

Pardon? Oh, in the eighth grade. What was? (laughs)

It was in the eighth grade. But my partner was a ninth-grader. As they say, the bad ones start early. That's why, when I entered this profession, I was really worried. People will say this and that about me if photos from my past come out, I thought. But the voice-acting world was all right. It wasn't that bad. But it was because I burned all my photographs from that period. I even went to friends' houses.

You erased your past, didn't you.

Yes, I did. Thanks to my actions, no evidence remains.

(laughs) After you entered high school, your ambition of becoming an actor didn't change.

It didn't change. I kept going to movies, too. I saw everything that came out, regardless of genre. And so, among those, by chance, there was an animated movie. It was "Sayonara Ginga Tetsudou 999." I ended up thinking, acting with just your voice is pretty good, too. Thinking about it, I abandoned the idea of acting where I would show my face and decided to become an actor using only my voice. But I was told I shouldn't do anything until I got out of school, so I didn't do anything for the time being.

In reality, when did you start taking action to become a voice actor?

Close to my high school graduation. A friend knew of my current agency, and so I applied here. It was around the third term of my senior year. I kept it a secret from my parents, though. And after that, I watched a lot of cartoons and researched voice actors.

And, like that, you got into the agency and became a voice actor.

That's right. But I really didn't know anything. I had to learn starting with theory. Since I hadn't been crazy about cartoons from the very beginning, I was all the more new to it, which was good, because I was able to absorb all kinds of things.

How has this past decade been for you?

I have the feeling there have been all kinds of unreasonable things. I can't say what, but various things. *heartmark* My high-and-low relationships were stricter than they are now. But that's not to say things were unpleasant from a work standpoint.

Are things still like that?

No, I guess that was when I was about 27. I decided enough already, I'd try doing things as I liked--I'd show them "the real Koyasu," something like that. If it was no good like that, then so be it. But when I tried it, everything was fine. (laughs) "What was that all about? I should have done that sooner," I thought. Well, it probably worked because of everything that had accumulated before then. Since then, I've had my way. (laughs) I've been allowed to do things the way I want to. Really, I can't go so far as to bend myself out of shape to do something. So, although I've been sad in the past, I'm very grateful to the people who have accepted me the way I really am.

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