Junya Enoki Reflects on His Voice Acting Journey at Sakura-Con

“Hello everyone, my name is Junya Enoki and I’m a Japanese voice actor. I’m still jetlagged.” Despite his drowsiness, the Jujutsu Kaisen voice actor greeted an excited crowd at Sakura-Con. “I want to study English more, thank you!” Cosplayers and fans filled his Q&A panel with excitement as his late guest announcement had long-time admirers flying from all over the country just to greet him. Crunchyroll publicized his attendance at the Pacific Northwest anime convention to promote the Spring 2023 anime, KamiKatsu. “This is my first time meeting American fans, and compared to meeting Japanese fans, definitely American fans are louder. It’s easy to hear you on stage.”

Shortly after his early roles as Rui Maita in Idolm@ster SideM and Takeru Takaishi in Digimon Adventure tri, Enoki quickly became a recognizable name in anime after he played Pannacotta Fugo in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind. His newest role is Yukito Urabe, protagonist of KamiKatsu. Performing opposite of Akari Kito again, following TONIKAWA, he shared that they work well together.

Yukito Urabe of KamiKatsu

Despite Sakura-Con being his first convention in the United States, the voice actor brimmed with the same confidence and sunny disposition as his characters. With a schedule as busy as his, Enoki participated in two panels as well as a roundtable press interview where he spoke about his journey as an actor and a singer. Despite his prominence as a singer, the seiyuu revealed he didn’t plan on becoming one from the beginning. Once he had more opportunities to sing, he trained hard to do so properly to allow him to broaden his skillset.

When asked what inspired him to become a voice actor in the first place, Enoki shared that his cousin—Anzai Chika—influenced his decision to go into the industry. However, getting into the same industry as family can result in some embarrassing situations: “When it comes to working together with family members, there are times we’re staffed on the same show. [My cousin] might be recording a love scene—and if I happened to be there—I want to sort of look away because I don’t want to see that with my family. Otherwise, it’s really enjoyable to work with my relatives.” As for what anime series sparked his  interest, Enoki credited Code Geass. Coincidentally, FLOW, who performed the series’ first opening theme song, happened to be guests at the Seattle convention as well.

Enoki’s voice has been described as high and youthful, which fits the passionate main character roles he often plays. “It’s difficult because in order to play those kind of roles, my voice has to sound clear. If I haven’t gotten enough sleep, my voice will be husky and in the lower range. I make sure to go to bed early.” Incidentally, his role as Yukito of KamiKatsu has a husky voice. To address that, he explained the recording for the show is usually done in the evening. He would perform his roles that called for clearer voices in the morning, and then he’d naturally become tired, thus deepening his voice, by the time he’d get to Yukito in the evening, which helped him kill two birds with one stone.

Junya Enoki and Yuma Uchida
Photo Credit: @yuma_yakiuchi

Since he’s worked in a number of high profile anime series, Enoki has become close friends with many other voice actors in the industry. He named his partner in crime, Yuma Uchida (Jujutsu Kaisen), and Ayumu Murase (Haikyuu) right off the bat. Enoki couldn’t help but take a moment to roast his JJK co-star: “Funny thing about Uchida is that he’s not good at cleaning. In his room, there’s stuff scattered all over the place. When we were hanging out together, I would start cleaning for him.” During those interactions, they became close friends. “For Murase, he’s a really cheerful person, whereas I’m the laidback, quiet type. We’re a good combination, and we go out to dinner once a month.” As a testament of their friendship, Murase later tweeted a picture of the smoked salmon Enoki brought back from Seattle.

Regarding his most difficult role, he pointed to Pannacotta Fugo as there were many detailed requests for his delivery. “The character tends to extend the vowels of his words, so getting that exactly right was difficult. The director would always correct me and say I wasn’t doing it right or I wasn’t doing it enough, so I would have to go again and again. These included some places where the voice was extended, and he’d want me to cut the word off in the middle.”

Pannacotta Fugo of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure

In addition to his anime roles, he’s also known as the Japanese dub voice of Spider-Man. Unlike animated lip syncs, Enoki highlighted the difficulty of matching the live-action actor’s mouth shape and flaps. “Between Japanese and English, there’s going to be differences in the length of the dialogue. Even the length of short words like ‘Arigato’ versus ‘Thank you.’ We have to try to match with the actor onscreen.”

During the press interview, Enoki reflected on his past hardships regarding his beginnings in the industry. Considering the saturation of the Japanese voice acting market, his road to success was paved with a harsh reality. “I was just scraping along and taking out loans in order to make sure I had enough food to eat. It took years before I felt like I was in a good place financially.”

Closing off his Sakura-Con activities, APA asked Enoki if there was something he’d like his fans to know. He wanted to remind everyone of an important fact and frankly stated, “Although I have a babyface, I’m 34 years old.”

Kalai Chik

Pop culture writer focusing on animation, music, and games. Los Angeles native, USC alumni, and contributor for Asia Pacific Arts since 2015. Follow me on Twitter, @kalai_chik.

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