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Some sad Pokémon news has emerged from Japan in the past 24 hours with the announcement that Unsho Ishizuka, the Japanese voice actor behind Professor Oak in the hit TV anime series, has died. Mr Ishizuka, who was 68-years-old, had been battling esophageal cancer for some time, and was a legendary voice actor in the Far East for his work on some of the most beloved anime series of all-time.
Japanese news outlet Mantan-Web broke the news on Friday after they were informed of Mr Ishizuka’s passing, and fans of his work have been flocking to social media in their droves to pay tribute to someone who lent his voice to almost 260 different projects during his lengthy career, according to IMDB. He will be best remembered for the work he conducted on Pokémon, however, taking on the role of Professor Oak, who helped Ash Ketchum begin his epic quest to become the best Pokémon trainer of all-time.
Mr Ishizuka surprisingly also lent his voice to a number of Pokémon characters themselves in the anime, with the likes of Onix and Steelix among the back catalogue of creatures that he played. Other notable characters in anime shows that Mr Ishizuka played included Mr. Satan in Dragon Ball, Annie’s father in Attack on Titan, and Jet Black in Cowboy Bebop, while his voice could also be heard in video games such as Tekken, the Xenosaga trilogy, and Pokémon Snap.
Born and raised in Katsuyama, Japan, Mr Ishizuka – original first name Yukinori – was affiliated with Aoni Production until his death and he will be missed greatly by anyone who had heard his strong, deep voice. The anime, video game, and theatrical worlds will surely feel the loss of such a titan in the industry, but his work will live on for countless generations to enjoy for many years to come.