Voice actor Jôji Yanami, who fans may know as the narrator of Dragon Ball Z, has passed away at the age of 90.
Yanami’s agency Aoni Production confirmed the news of his passing today, December 14, announcing that the actor died on December 3.
A cause of death has not yet been released, though reports indicate that a closed funeral service has already been held for Yanami’s family members.
The 90-year-old was well-known in the anime industry, beginning his career in the 1960s with characters in Wolf Boy Ken, Osomatsu-kun, Cyborg 009 and Moomin.
He went on to secure roles in Ashita no Joe, Devilman, Mazinger Z and Cutie Honey, though he is best known for his work in the Dragon Ball franchise, which began when he narrated the original Dragon Ball anime in 1986.
Yanami continued his involvement with Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball Super, as well as several films. Alongside performing the voice-overs, Yanami also brought to life the characters of Dr. Briefs, King Kai, Dr. Frappe and Bobbidi, to name a few.
In 2015, the actor reportedly went through medical treatment and took an extended break from Dragon Ball Super, during which time Toei Animation cast different voice actors in Yanami’s roles. The break marked Yanami’s eventual retirement, meaning he left the show before its conclusion in 2018.
Aoni Production said it was at a loss over the 90-year-old’s death, and thanked him for always being kind to staff at the agency, Comicbook reports. Social media users have also paid tribute to the actor, with one describing him as a ‘big powerhouse voice actor, that’s had a career spanning decades.’
Twitter page 59 Gaming wrote: ‘We are saddened to hear of the passing of Jôji Yanami, legendary voice actor that brought the likes of Dr. Briefs, Babidi, and King Kai to life through various forms of Dragon Ball media as well as providing the opening and closing narrations of the anime series.’
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677