Various news outlets such as Oricon, via an announcement from Japanese talent agency Aoni Production, have reported that actress and singer Toshiko Fujita (referred to as “Toko-san” by her colleagues) passed away on December 28 due to complications from breast cancer. A former child star whose professional debut predates the beginning of television anime itself, Ms. Fujita’s nearly six-decade career includes starring roles in Planet Boy Papii (as Papii), Ikkyū-san (as Ikkyū), CAT’S♥EYE (as Rui Kisugi), Kiteretsu Encyclopedia (as Eiichi Kite), DRAGON QUEST –Dai’s Grand Adventure– (as Dai), and many more. She was 68 years old.
Of course, Ms. Fujita is most famous internationally for her role as Taichi Yagami in Digimon Adventure, Digimon Adventure 02, Digimon Xros Wars, and all spin-off productions from the animated series’ debut in 1999 to her retirement in the mid-2010s.
Ms. Fujita participated in six songs released under the DiGiMONMUSiC branding.
01.) “Turning Courage Into Wings” – Taichi’s song from the 1999 “Character Songs + Mini Drama 1” album.
02.) “A New Sun” – Taichi’s song from the 2000 “Best Partner: Taichi Yagami & Agumon” single.
03.) “Team” – Taichi and Agumon’s duet from the 2000 “Best Partner: Taichi Yagami & Agumon” single.
04.) “Our Digital World” – A 2001 song performed by Kōji Wada and Ai Maeda with all 24 Digimon Adventure 02 protagonists.
05.) “Butter-Fly” – A cover of Digimon Adventure‘s opening theme from the 2002 “We Love DiGiMONMUSiC” boxset.
06.) “Go On For Eternity!!” – Taichi’s song from the 2007 “Digimon 10th ANNIVERSARY –The Bridge To Dreams–” album.
The day of Ms. Fujita’s passing, the official DiGiMONMUSiC Twitter account revealed that Taichi’s “Turning Courage Into Wings” was the very first character song ever recorded for the franchise.
Most recently, Ms. Fujita returned as Taichi for Digimon Adventure, a 2013 PSP video game adaption of the TV series which reunited most of the original voice cast. Presumably due to Ms. Fujita’s declining health, Taichi was absent from “Digimon Mystery File • Cracking The Millennium Seal!”, a newly-written CD drama released exclusively with 2015’s Digimon Adventure 15th Anniversary Blu-Ray BOX. In the Digimon Adventure tri. film series, Taichi Yagami was voiced by actor Natsuki Hanae.
To end this post on a personal note, it’s difficult to articulate what this news means to me. Toshiko Fujita’s performance as Taichi resonates with me on a very special level. This is a franchise that never truly “ends”, and Ms. Fujita’s continuous presence since 1999 has been a pillar of my fandom for years. In many ways, her voice represents the spirit of Digimon even more than that of Kōji Wada himself. I want to thank Ms. Fujita for the happiness she’s brought to generations of animation fans for more than half a century, and offer condolences to her fans and loved ones in this difficult time.
♫ donna toki datte… kimi wo shinjiteru ♫