As I’ve emphasized in the past, Japan is by no means a Christian nation. Estimates place the country’s Christian population at around 1-2%. So it’s no surprise that the anime industry employs only a handful that openly claim to be Christian.
But there are a few. The most famous might be Trigun creator Yasuhiro Nightow (who may no longer be of the faith). Another is semi-retired seiyuu, Michie Tomizawa. A relatively cursory search led to a writing Tomizawa gave about her faith, and I’m elated to share this with you.
Michie Tomizawa does little voice acting these days, but she was once very active. Among her most noted roles are Sailor Mars from Sailor Moon and Linna from Bubblegum Crisis. She retired before marrying in 2002, but still occassionally lends her voice.
She also seems to be an outspoken Christian. An unknown individual did some research, discovering a testimonial Tomizawa wrote in her church’s newsletter. He or she also found and translated an essay Tomizawa wrote under her married name, Michie Itou.
The entire translated writing is reproduced below (if anyone knows who did the translation, please let me know!) if you’re interested. If you don’t want to read it all, here are some of the key points:
- Tomizawa was not a Christian growing up, but attended Christmas night church services (I wonder how common that is in Japan).
- She felt pity seeing the image of Jesus Christ on the cross
- Tomizawa experienced rapid success in the entertainment industry, which led to pride, arrogance, and greed.
- Her personal life was also in shambles, including failed romantic relationships.
- It was Tomizawa’s husband who helped lead her to her faith.
- She discusses the love of Christ demonstrated through the cross, grace, and forgiveness, and quotes John 3:16-17.
- Tomizawa closes by emphasizing love expressed in the Bible and asking readers to read it on Christmas.
Here’s the entire essay:
It’s Christmas already, isn’t it? What kind of day is Christmas for you? When I was in elementary school, I wasn’t a Christian but on Christmas night, we would be gathering at church. I loved the lighting of candles, the singing of hymns, the saying of prayers, and listening to the pastor. Even in all the seriousness, I felt the love from God; Christmas was truly a special day out of the year. But still, having seen Jesus Christ hung from the cross in the front of the altar, my child-like mind always wondered, “How pitiful, how cruel! Why did such a terrible thing happen to this person?”
When I was 18, I went to Tokyo with the dream of becoming a voice actress. In half a year, I debuted on a NHK Educational TV Program as an “older sister.” After being on numerous TV dramas, movies, anime, radio, etc., I realized I was on the road to stardom. From then on, my passion, which started as a genuine desire to grant children their dreams and wishes, was controlled by pride, ego, and arrogance. My success was my power. I want to get more respect. I want to be praised. I want to be noticed. I want to get the things I desire. Me! Me! Me! I reached the point where I worked to satiate by own greed.
That motivation wasn’t limited to just work, it was the same with love. A man who I thought was a “plus.” A man who I though had a good life. The results of my selfish standards were incompatibilities, impropriety, breakups… Even though on the outside my life appeared like it was filled with glory, on the inside I was isolated and insecure. I had lost all hope. Having hurt myself and others, my life was like choosing to live on the road to self-destruction.
The person who guided me from wandering in the darkness to the path of Christianity is someone I honor and love — my husband Akira Itou. I started going to church and with the desire to want to know the meaning of Jesus and the Cross and through learning about the Bible from many members, I met God and was able to understand the Truth.
Jesus’s Crucifixion, which I had wondered about as a child, was for my sake. They put Jesus on the Cross for my sins. The Crucifixion was to forgive and save me. And so the Crucifixion was proof of His love for me.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:16-17)
And so, I became a Christian two years ago. Although I am not worthy of being saved, through God’s compassion I was forgiven. I was given many friends who share their love with me and was even given a wonderful celebration — a wedding. By knowing God, I was lead from the darkness to light and now I’m peaceful, happy, and am brimming over with hope. Everyday I give thanks for God’s love and His blessings. Being able to walk beside Him is the greatest happiness.
December 25th, the Holy Day. That’s when God put his only child, Jesus, on this earth to save us. The day that we offer our gratitude and celebration for the nativity of that child, Jesus Christ.
On this Christmas, won’t you be reading the Bible?
The message of God’s love is written in the Bible. When you’re touched by the love of the Cross and a miraculous bell chimes in your heart, that’s God’s ultimate Christmas present to you.
– Michie Itou
It was touching for me to read this “redemption” story. I wonder what the reaction was like when she first revealed her faith – especially how her fans reacted. Considering how rabid fans can be, it might have been difficult. Still, the gospel had a major impact in her life, and Tomizawa unflinchingly declares the power of the message.
A transformed life, for sure.
A little bonus – Michie Tomizawa singing “White Christmas”
12 thoughts on “Christian Seiyuu: Michie Tomizawa”
Really sweet. She truly knows the message of the gospel, even in a place where it is not popular.
On a related note, do you know whether the J-pop singer Hitomi Shimatani is a Christian? There was a J-pop reviewer who suspected that was the case, but I can’t find much more information on her.
I think I probably read the same review as you did – I’ve done some searching, but haven’t been able to find anything more about her.
A heartwarming story indeed. For some reason it makes me wonder whether Christian seiyuu like Mrs. Itou would actively seek out “apparently Christian” anime characters to voice. (At the moment, for some reason I can only think of examples of male characters who I’d put in this category, such as Cygnus Hyoga of “Saint Seiya,” Nakazawa Riou of “Oofuri,” and John Brown of “Ghost Hunt.”)
Although after giving it some thought, my guess is the answer would be immediate, forceful, and negative. 😉
Yeah, probably a negative…particularly because once you’re hit, I dunno, 25 years of age (unless you’re one of a handful of transcendent seiyuu), you’re old news. Good luck picking projects then. Harsh industry.
And Nakazawa is a Christian character?! Maybe you mentioned this once before…
Only insofar as any other character is a Christian. In one of the games where the Tousei team are spectators, Riou pulls a large cross out from under his shirt, kisses it, and mutters a prayer to his grandmother. I noticed it only on rewatching the show recently with my friends.
Ahhh…I’ll look for that if I ever rewatch it. Actually, that scene sounds familiar, though I don’t think I was familiar enough with the characters at that point to pick him out.
Too bad Jesus isn’t real and he was based off the mythology of the Egyptian Sun God and his 12 disciples…
cool story bro
Nice info. Well, I’m still praying that Japan will have more Christian people specially in the Anime industry.. ^^
I wonder there are some who aren’t open about their faith or who simply don’t want to talk about it. Of major names, the only ones I know of are the two I discussed above.
Yeah, I think, they’re more Christian now in Japan but just like you said, they seems that they don’t want to talk about it. I wonder why?