Talent management agency Aoni Production announced on Thursday that seiyuu Yuuko Mizutani
has died from breast cancer on Tuesday, May 17, at the age of 51.
The announcement was also posted on the official website of Chibi Maruko-chan
, in which Mizutani voiced the title character's older sister Sakiko Sakura. She has voiced Sakiko since the first series
began airing in 1990. Fuji Television released a statement that Mizutani has already completed recordings for the episodes scheduled for May 22 and 29, and the selection of a replacement will be announced at a later date.
Mizutani debuted as a seiyuu in 1985, voicing an unnamed announcer character in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam
, later also playing the role of Sarah Zabiarov. Her first lead role came the following year in Machine Robo: Chronos no Dai Gyakushuu
. In 1987, Mizutani gained prominence as a seiyuu with her role as Apple Akai Koudan Zillion
Following her role in Chibi Maruko-chan
, Mizutani was also selected as the Japanese voice of Disney's Minnie Mouse character in 1991 and has continued to play that role to date. She is also well-known as a the voice of Pinoko
in numerous iterations of the Black Jack
anime. Mizutani joined Aoni Production in 2012, having left Production Baobab a year earlier.
Mizutani was married to director Mizuho Nishikubo
, whom she met during the production of Akai Koudan Zillion
, Oricon Style