• Kenjiro Tsuda Finds Light in His Acting Career Through 'Yu-Gi-Oh!' A Turnaround in His 20s During a Period of Extreme Poverty...
Japan Anime News Edit by Satoru Shoji

Kenjiro Tsuda Finds Light in His Acting Career Through 'Yu-Gi-Oh!' A Turnaround in His 20s During a Period of Extreme Poverty...

Kenjiro Tsuda, the voice actor known for his role as Kaiba Seto in the manga "Yu-Gi-Oh!," found a ray of light in his acting career during his 20s, which were marked by extreme poverty.

On the 6th of last month, manga artist Kazuki Takahashi, well-known as the creator of "Yu-Gi-Oh!," passed away at the age of 60. Upon receiving this news, many fans and colleagues mourned the sudden departure. On the 7th, Kenjiro Tsuda (51), who voiced the main character Kaiba Seto in the anime series "Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters," updated his Twitter account and posted a photo of the card "Blue-Eyes White Dragon," the trump card of his character.

In a previous interview with ORICON NEWS, Tsuda mentioned that the opportunity to shine as an “actor” came through his involvement in "Yu-Gi-Oh!."

Kenjiro Tsuda

Kenjiro Tsuda (C) ORICON NewS inc.

Tsuda has appeared in many anime works, including the role of Kento Nanami in "Jujutsu Kaisen," and also serves as the narrator on the TBS program "Shin・Joho 7days News Caster." In a broadcast in March last year, he made a face-to-face interview appearance and attracted a lot of attention as he talked about his career as an actor.

Tsuda, who started acting at the age of 19 and made his debut as an actor while in university, appeared in the drama "Ikebukuro West Gate Park," which aired in 2000, playing the role of a host male companion. At that time, he revealed, "It was quite difficult to be recognized... I was crawling at the bottom... I was in a state where I couldn't earn a living at all. I would hesitate even to buy a piece of bread. I would attach a candle to a plate and read the script with the flickering light, trying my best."

Kenjiro Tsuda voiced Kento Nanami  in "Jutsu Kaisen"

Scene cut from the Shibuya Incident in the anime "Jutsu Kaisen" (C) Akutomi Shimoji/Shueisha, Jutsu Kaisen Production Committee

During that period of extreme poverty, a turning point occurred in his life at the age of 25. He explained, "I was told, 'Tsuda-kun, there's an audition for voice acting. Are you interested?' Since 'No' wasn't an option for me, I said, 'Please let me do it.' " And at the age of 29, he mentioned that the "fateful role" he encountered was the character Kaiba Seto in the anime "Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters," in 2000, which became his representative work.

Afterward, Tsuda took on roles such as Sadaharu Inui in "The Prince of Tennis" in 2001, solidifying his position as a voice actor.
Reflecting on his troubled times with a laugh, he said, "(Being poor) made me think, 'I'm barely scraping by in life.' I'm grateful for the encounter with voice acting, where I could find hope."

Twenty-five years have passed since the turning point of his voice acting career at the age of 25, and last year he turned 50. Not only in voice acting but also in narration, stage appearances, drama roles, and even making his directorial debut in a film, he has been living fulfilling days.

When he appeared in the TBS drama "Saiai" (2021) and was interviewed by ORICON NEWS, he jokingly referred to the famous line of his character Kaiba in "Yu-Gi-Oh!," saying, "I feel like now, at the age of 50, I'm once again embracing 'My Turn'." He happily shared, "I feel like it's my turn right now (laughs)."

Kenjiro Tsuda scene cut from  "Saiai" (2021)"

Kenjiro Tsuda scene cut from "Saiai" (2021)"

When asked about the reason , he said, "In recent years, in anime, I've been given roles that I haven't done before, as well as drama appearances, variety show appearances, and film directing... I've had stimulating and enriching experiences. At this age, I've started to think about 'what is acting, really?'."

Reflecting on his 25-year acting career, he said, "I've been charging forward recklessly. I've been facing acting with speed and energy, but now that I'm 50, I think it's a very happy and luxurious thing to be able to face work with a sense of returning to my original intentions. I feel that as an actor, I still have a long way to go through doing dramas, and with this opportunity, I will do my best to show a different side of myself as an actor through acting and once again present 'My Turn!' (laughs)." He expressed his gratitude and thanked the work "Yu-Gi-Oh!," which allowed him to see the light in his acting career.

Edit By Satoru Shoji