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15th Dec 2021

Dragon Ball Z narrator and voice actor Jôji Yanami dies aged 90

Danny Jones

Jôji Yanami dies aged 90

The voiceover to so many people’s childhood

Legendary voice actor and Dragon Ball Z narrator, Jôji Yanami, has sadly passed away aged 90.

Yanami was perhaps best known for providing the Japanese voice-over on the original Dragon Ball Z as well as Dragon Ball Super – but he also voiced many characters within the show among his 201 total credits.

His passing was initially announced by his agency, Aoni Production, informing that the voice acting vet had sadly passed on December 3. Toei Animation, the studio behind the likes of Dragon Ball, Transformers, Sailor Moon, Digimon and so many other shows iconic kids’ shows, paid tribute to him on social media.

Among his immensely decorated career, Yanami was responsible for a number of beloved roles. Within Dragon Ball, his performance as King Kai is perhaps his most notable but he also played Gennosuke Yumi in Mazinger Z, Professor Gilmore in Cyborg 009, Gan Fall in One Piece among countless others – there really is too many to count.

Yanami was undoubtedly a legend in the anime genre, starting out in the industry way back in the 1960s and working pretty much non-stop until the mid-noughties.

In 2015, he was ultimately forced to take an extended break from Dragon Ball Super following medical treatment, with the show having to recast different voice actors to play his numerous roles on the show. However, it was clear that even despite his advanced age, he would have kept going were it up to him, eventually retiring after the show ended in 2018.

Last month, Chris Ayres, aka the English voice of Frieza also sadly died aged 56 after a series of health complications. Were it not for iconic performances and industry legends like these, anime would not be what it is today.

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