Japanese actress Kumiko Okae has died of pneumonia, as a result of complications from Covid-19. Okae was known to Pokémon fans for voicing “Jenny” in the 2005 feature film Pokémon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew.
She contributed her voice-over talents to the Nippon Animation’s 1997 movie adaptation The Dog of Flanders as Elina, Studio Ghibli’s The Cat Returns (2002) as Haru’s mother, Naoko. She played Ryouko in the 2005 live-action series adaptation of Chikako Urano’s Attack No. 1 volleyball manga. She was also a television presenter on Renso Game and Hanamaru Market, and played the role of Tokita Yuriko in the popular detective show Lucky Seven.
The Japan Times reported that Okae died April 23, 2020, in Tokyo at the age of 63. Okae, whose real name was Kumiko Owada, developed a fever on April 3 and was rushed to the hospital in Tokyo three days later after her condition suddenly worsened, according to her management office. She was immediately hooked up to a respirator and later tested positive for the virus.
She was a breast cancer survivor, which probably weakened her immune system enough for her to succumb to Covid-19.
Her acting career began in 1975. In addition to being an internationally renowned voice actress, she performed primarily in Japanese television. Her final role was as Akane Tachibana in Aishitetatte, himitsu wa aru.
She was born August 23, 1956 in Tokyo. She is survived by her husband Baku Owada, an actor whom she married in 1983, and their daughter Miho Owada.
Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as short stories in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, “Supernatural Colorado”, “Barbarian Crowns”, “Cat Tails””Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions, Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.