ー VAW: Please tell us how you found anime despite growing up in Germany.
Kakihara: I’m not sure about now, but as a child, German dubbed anime was broadcasted every weekday from the afternoon till evening. I used to watch that a lot, so anime was close to me since I was young. Like my parents, I took pride in that subculture they grew up with.
ー VAW: Did you like Japanese anime?
Kakihara: Yes. However the anime shown in Germany weren’t the ones broadcasted real time in Japan - they were from my parent’s generation, so there was a 10 year time lag. But I didn’t worry about the generation and just enjoyed it. I thought it was interesting to bring back that past era.
ー VAW: In your opinion, did German’s view anime as a familiar and profound thing?
Kakihara: That’s what I think. It was broadcasted every weekday, and lots of children would watch it every day. They talked about it at school too.
ー VAW: At the time, were you aware of the voice acting career?
Kakihara: I understood that voices could be used, but never thought it was as part of a job, or that people even did it.
ー VAW: So when did you first realise it?
Kakihara: It was one time when I was playing a certain love simulation game and the characters had voices. All the games I had played up until then didn’t have voices, so I was really shocked! “Whoaaa!!” I’d say (laughs). After that, I noticed that the people who voiced in games also appeared in anime, which is when I became fully aware.
ー VAW: Please tell us your reason for becoming a voice actor.
Kakihara: I originally wanted to become a kindergarten teacher during high school, so I worked there for one year as training. During training the children would fight, cry and get in trouble, but if you said character’s lines from anime, they would listen immediately. It had a huge influence on them, and anime became a great “textbook”. Important messages were being conveyed to children though anime, and since then, I wanted to voice for their sake. That’s when I aimed to become a voice actor. But at the time, voice acting wasn’t a career choice in Germany and stage actors were used for voice work, so if I wanted to do it, it had to be in Japan. So I withdrew from school, bought a plane ticket and ran off for Japan.
ー VAW: Did your parents strongly oppose running away?
Kakihara: They disagreed saying it was too reckless, and if I were a parent I’d stop my child too (laughs). But I thought that this was the only path to follow. I originally planned on going back to Japan for college, but then it turned into becoming a voice actor.
ー VAW: Were you the type to charge ahead with any decision as a child?
Kakihara: That’s right. Although I was never selfish in wanting material goods, like toys, I was the type to do what I wanted. So I didn’t give up if I decided on something. I grew up being taught by my parents that it was useless to cry and scream over not buying something, and that if you want something you should learn to get it by yourself.
ー VAW: Did you enter a vocational school once in Japan?
Kakihara: Yes. For one year, I’d go to vocational school during the day, part time job after, study Japanese at night school from the evening, then work part time again. Thats the life style I repeated daily.
ー VAW: That sounds very hard.
Kakihara: It was good enough if I got two or three hours of sleep a day, but I never thought of it as hard. Feelings of frustration were stronger.
ー VAW: What was it that made you frustrated?
Kakihara: I planned on being able to speak Japanese properly, but when you look at people born and raised in Japan, you notice your own speaking habits, and I was made fun of for that at night school.That’s what was frustrating. I thought that in one year I’ll just look back on the people that made fun of me. Plus I didn’t earn enough to go towards my second year of studies, along with the normal cost of living. I wonder if thats what became my driving force. But if I got told to do that all again, no way (laughs).
ー VAW: Those strong feelings to become a voice actor were with you everyday then.
Kakihara: If I look back on it now, I always thought that “I have to become a voice actor”. “There’s no other option”. After leaving home I had no place to return to, so I had to face forward and move on.
ー VAW: Out of the roles you have played until now, which one do you think has been a turning point for you?
Kakihara: All the roles I’ve performed up until now are important, but I think the most special role is the first role I did during the first half of my 20s, the minor roles like Boy A too. I think that each and every one of my roles are very important, because from the roles I have performed, the me right now exists. From those roles that elapsed, I came across that of Simon from “Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann”. As I thought, Simon is a role that means a lot to me. In this work, I was with Simon from the time he was still a child until he turned into an adult, so I felt as if I was growing up with him. Once again, I think I must’ve been lucky, being in my mid-20’s, to have been able to play a main role and work amongst some of the best staff. I had a lot of wonderful experiences from it. Not only does it mean a great deal to me, but there are people who have told me “I love Gurren Lagann” or “I love Simon”, and amongst them there are even those who have been motivated by it and aimed to become voice actors or animators. I’m happy and feel grateful to those people.For this reason, I think we mustn’t forget that any work or character that we’ve played can influence someone in that way.
ー VAW: If you could give any advice to yourself when you were still new what would it be?
Kakihara: …“It’s going to be alright”. I would tell myself that I’m probably not worrying too much anyhow, but it’ll be alright if I rush ahead as is and believe in myself. “You’ve made the right choice so far” is okay too (laughs). At the time, of course I’ll mess up various things. If I didn’t, then the me right now wouldn’t be here. The younger me who had encountered failures is a better one.
ー VAW: Please tell us of what you’re currently seeing as a target beyond this point.
Kakihara: Beyond this point, what I’m seeing is…”President”, I think. (laughs).
ー VAW: President?!
Kakihara: How should I say it…? It’s because I want to become a person that can change the “world”. I joined the anime industry which Japan is proud of and in this world, I’m also proud of what I’m doing right now. I want it to be a world where the production staff, my voice actor colleagues and the people who watch our works can be even more proud of and continue to be proud of anime. In order to do that, I want to be able to preserve the quality that my seniors built in the anime industry, and help in proceeding to aim higher. It might sound like I’m making this up (laughs) but I’m serious.
ー VAW: And finally, a message to those reading VAW!
Kakihara: When I started my musical career in my late 20’s, my encounters with new fans also increased, and I have again come to realise the pride regarding the job known as voice acting. My field of work has expanded more so than before, and with the increase in opportunities to appear before all my fans, my chances to see your smiles have also increased. Therefore I have come to feel even more grateful to all of you. I think those who have supported me from the days of my debut, and those who knew me through my musical career, all your voices and feelings of support have been passed along to the editorial department of VAW! and so I was able to take this opportunity. Out of the all my works involving photo shoots, this is the largest so far, so I got a lot of nice photographs taken. I hope it is to your satisfaction, and please continue to take care of me from now on.
Four million women and girls in Iraq are at risk of undergoing female genital mutilation (FGM). According to the UN, the Sunni Islamist group Isis, which currently controls the city of Mosul, has issued an edict ordering all women aged 11 through 46 to undergo FGM.
Although FGM is a cultural practice in several African, Middle Eastern, and Asian countries, it is not commonly practiced in Iraq – another reason why this development is so disturbing. The practice “is something very new for Iraq… and does need to be addressed,” said Jacqueline Badcock, the UN correspondent in Iraq. “This is not the will of Iraqi people, or the women of Iraq in these vulnerable areas covered by the terrorists,” she added.
Beverly Gooden is a writer who started the hashtag #WhyIStayed in response to the media’s tendency to blame survivors when prominent stories on violence against women emerge, such as the video of Ray Rice violently attacking his then-fiancee Janay Palmer in an elevator.
#WhyIStayed has drawn attention to the complexities of the domestic violence cycle that is so difficult for many women to escape. Gooden’s campaign allowed her to share her own story of the abuse she survived. She states, “I tried to leave the house once after an abusive epiosde, and he blocked me. He slept in front of the door that entire night. I had to plan my escape for months before I even had a place to go and money for the bus to get there.”
Gooden’s message has resonated with thousands of other Twitter users who have used the hashtag themselves to share their own stories.
Read examples of their tweets and learn more about violence against women via Mic.
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama along with media mogul Oprah Winfrey have launched United State of Women, a new initiative and summit to empower women. The conference, taking place in Washington, D.C., on June 14, will cover a range of issues such as violence against women, entrepreneurship, economic empowerment, leadership and civic engagement.
Check out the campaign’s launch video featuring some of the world’s most powerful and influential women. “It is our choice when to say yes, and when to say no. Because duh…Literally duh,” said comedian Jessica Williams.