Keiji Fujiwara, the actor who voiced Tony Stark in the Japanese-dubbed Marvel films, died on April 12 after a battle with cancer, Oricon News reported. He was 55 years old. His cause of death did not appear to be related to coronavirus. His family held a private wake and funeral, Anime News Network added.
Fujiwara, born on October 5, 1964, in Tokyo, was known for lending his voice to various anime and Japanese games, most notably Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts.
“Our representative director and voice actor Keiji Fujiwara passed away at the age of 55 on April 12, 2012, while he is still fighting for some cancer,” his representative said in a statement. “I am deeply grateful to you for your kindness and I would like to express my sincere gratitude. The evening and the farewell ceremony were held only by relatives. I am sorry to say that I will decline the ceremony of offering flowers.”
In August 2016, Fujiwara took a break to undergo treatment. He resumed work in June 2017.
Fujiwara was arguably best known for his role as Hiroshi, the father in Crayon Shin-chan. He also lent his voice to the Japanese-dubbed versions of Axel (Lea) in the Kingdom Hearts series, Reno in Final Fantasy VII Remake,and Ardyn in Final Fantasy XV.
But those were just some of his works. As noted by Anime News Network, he also appeared as Holland in Eureka 7, Maes Hughes in Fullmetal Alchemist, Leorio in the 2011 Hunter × Hunter anime, and ACDC in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.
Fujiwara Started Voice Acting in the ’90s
According to his bio on IMDb, even though Fujiwara was born in Tokyo, he spent most of his childhood in Iwate Prefecture. While he was in high school, he formed a band with his friend Kotaro Furuichi, who went on to become a guitarist in The Collectors. Fujiwara sang lead vocals for his high school band.
The star knew he wanted to go into acting pretty early on. Fujiwara joined the Bungakuza acting school when he was around 18 years old. Throughout the 1980s, he worked odd jobs and performed in several theater groups.
The ’90s is when he got his start in voice acting. Around that time he was introduced to Ken Production, a voice acting agency. Yokoyama Mitsuteru Sangokushi was his first role in TV anime as a regular. His breakout role came when he landed Hiroshi Nohara in Crayon Shin-chan, which he is still known for today.
Eventually Fujiwara left Ken Production, and in November 2006 he went on to found Air Agency, his own talent management and production company.
Fujiwara Is Mourned on Twitter
Upon hearing about Fujiwara’s death, his fans took to Twitter to remember the voice actor. Some talked about him being the voice actor for Robert Downy Jr.’s Iron Man character. On April 16, his name became a top-trending Twitter topic as netizens discussed Fujiwara’s best roles.