Collected translations of Maaya Sakamoto news, essays, interviews, and articles


VOiCE Newtype, October 2007 cover
VOiCE Newtype, October 2007 issue

Mamoru Miyano × Maaya Sakamoto

Miyano, who takes on his first role in a Jumong, a historical drama set against the backdrop of Old Korea, and Sakamoto, who plays the role of the alluring woman who loves him. Beset by unpredictable twists and turns, where will their destinies take them?

A cowardly prince sets hearts a-flutter as he becomes a man—and that’s when history is made?!

Can you describe the roles you’re playing?

Miyano “Jumong is a prince in the kingdom of Buyeo. There are secrets surrounding his birth, but after being coddled by the emperor, he grows up to be a failure of a prince. According to Ms. Sakamoto, he and I are alike in that our mouths are usually half-open.”

Sakamoto “Did I say that? (laugh) But he’s really a sorry excuse for a guy, and I think most people at first wonder how he could possibly be the hero of the story.”

Miyano “After he gets caught in a sticky situation, So Seo-No comes along and helps the cowardly prince out.”

Sakamoto “So Seo-No is the rightful heir to her father’s trading business, and she was raised to be tough like a boy.”

Miyano “You and So Seo-No both seem to have that sort of tenacious side… (laugh)”

Sakamoto “Ah, but I’m not as tenacious as you might think. She can handle both work and love, and even in a woman’s eyes she’s attractive. I admire her.”

Miyano “So Seo-No becomes more mild-mannered as the series goes on. Every once in a while you can catch glimpses of her girlish side in her expression.”

Sakamoto “Seeing Jumong steadily grow up into a man is what makes her fall for him, and at a certain point they find their positions reversed.”

Miyano “Exactly! He starts out by making everyone worry that he’s such a pitiful guy, but I guess you could say watching him mature makes a girl’s heart flutter (laugh).”

Sakamoto “At first, I for one was definitely a fan of Jumong’s older brother Daeso, who competes with him for So Seo-No, but I changed my mind. A man who has a clear goal before him wins in my book.”

Miyano “Early on, you told me, ‘Any way you look at it, Daeso’s the better man.’”

Sakamoto “Once he finds that ambition, Jumong goes on to command an army as a brilliant general, and his countenance takes on a valiant look. Your acting is also crisp and captivating.”

Miyano “At first I wondered how this prince who couldn’t do anything right would end up becoming a legendary hero…. I’d really like to mature in the same way Jumong does.”

What are the most appealing parts of this series?

Sakamoto “When you hear that it’s 81 episodes, it sounds long, but once you start watching, I think it always leaves you itching to know what happens next.”

Miyano “It was originally 60 episodes, but when the viewers petitioned them not to end it, they supposedly added on more episodes while it was airing. It’s a series that appeals to a lot of different tastes, which is why I think it’s enjoyed so much support from a wide range of people. It’s more than just a love story, and as a historical drama it’s entertaining.”

Sakamoto “Even given some exagerration, it’s not entirely fictional. This is how history is made—upon layers of coincidence, and guided by fate.”

Miyano “I’m a guy, so naturally I like history. The battle scenes, too, are simply awesome, and I find them mesmerizing.”

Sakamoto “The part I think is fascinating is the extent to which women influence the ruling class!”

Miyano “Right! On the surface it’s the men who are fighting, but in reality they’re being skillfully manipulated by the women.”

Sakamoto “There are also some places that feel similar to Japanese history, which is intriguing.”

Sakamoto “Right now we just finished recording episode 30, so we’re not even halfway to the end. Even though all kinds of stuff has already happened!”

Miyano “You can say that again. It makes me wonder what else could possibly happen after this! I wonder if I’ll get to live until the end….”

Incidentally, as you’re both active in dubbing for foreign movies, what differences do you see between that and voice acting for anime?

Sakamoto “Recording for anime takes place without sound effects or background music, and with unfinished art, so there are more gaps for you to fill in with your imagination. When I first started it was hard. When you’re dubbing lines for movies and TV dramas, the difference is that you don’t start from zero, but you create a role that goes along with the actress’s performance.”

Miyano “Like Ms. Sakamoto, my first roles were in foreign films, so the anime recording process surprised me. In that sense, with this being my first Korean series, there are things I’m unsure of or worried about. I’m working through this series with that fresh feeling of starting from square one.”

Please leave a message for the readers!

Miyano “Jumong is a wonderful character, and the last thing I want to do is ruin his part as I give him a voice, so I had every motivation to give it my level best. You won’t believe what this series has in store for you, so please keep watching until the end.”

Sakamoto “This is a series where both men and women, young and old, can find something to personally relate to. It’s fun to watch as a family. When you do, I’d be delighted if you would please watch the dubbed version.”