It’s going to be a sad Christmas for fans of Sayaka Kanda, singer, voice actress and stage performer, as news reached them that she had passed away at the young age of 35 after falling out of a hotel in Sapporo.
How did Sayaka Kanda Die?
According to reports, Sayaka was found unconscious on 14th floor of a hotel in Chuo-ward, Sapporo, in Japan’s northernmost city of Sapporo, where she had apparently fallen from the 20th floor.
Currently the death is being treated as a likely suicide, though they’re also investigating the possibility that foul play was involved. (Update: sadly they found Sayaka’s suicide note. The reason was related to a broken romance with a man she was dating.)
Sayaka Kanda More than a Voice Actress
Although her biggest role was Anna in the Japanese dub of Frozen, also singing the Japanese version of Do You Want to Build a Snowman?, she voiced many other roles over the years, including the role of Yuna from Sword Art Online.
Two of her other seiyu roles stand out to me, in light of the performer’s untimely death.
First, Sayaka Kanda voiced the role of Mana Nagase in the idol anime Idoly Pride, a girl who becomes the top idol in all of Japan…then is tragically killed in a car accident at the height of her career. She comes back as a ghost in order to lead her sister Kotono and a girl named Sakura (who just happened to get a heart transplant around the time Mana Nagase died) to become top idols in her place.
The other role was Theresa of Telezart from my beloved Space Battleship Yamato 2202. Considering the original Yamato/Star Blazers is the work which most guided me to Japan, this one really hits home.
But while anime fans are treating Sayaka Kanda’s death as the passing of a beloved seiyu, Sayaka was far more known for her stage performances, which were many. Her most recent role was the lead in My Fair Lady. She also won acclaim in the lead role of the Danganronpa stage show.
She also had a YouTube channel where she sang covers of Vocaloid songs.
The Daughter of Seiko Matsuda
Sakaya Kanda was the daughter of one of the most influential singers in modern Japanese history, Seiko Matsuda. Since her debut in 1980, Seiko-chan basically created the modern idea of an idol singer, over the past 40 years. Together Seiko Matsuda and Akina Nakamori were the direct inspirations for the first 2D idol, Lynn Minmei.
Mrs. J-List and I are lifelong fans of Seiko Matsuda’s music, and it’s one of the things that drew us to each other, despite coming from opposite corners of the globe. As parents, we can’t imagine the horrors she and her ex-husband Masaki Kanda must be experiencing at learning of the death of their only daughter.
(Sayaka always hated to be described as “the daughter of Seiko Matsuda,” because her mother is such a titanic figure in the music industry that she felt she could not properly make a unique name for herself. Mrs. J-List even told me not to mention the Seiko Matsuda connection, but I wanted to for any who want a larger understanding of the performer.)
Thanks for reading this post on the sad death of Sayaka Kanda. Please have a safe and good holiday season with friends and family.