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The Japanese voice of Goku is awarded major literary honor in Japan

The "trailblazing" voice actor is the latest recipient of the prestigious award.

Masako Nozawa in 2023
Image credit: Aoni Productions

After more than 35 years of voicing one of the most iconic anime characters in the world, it might seem like there is nothing new for voice actor Masako Nozawa to accomplish. She already holds the Guinness World Record for the longest video game voice acting career thanks, but Nozawa has just added one more massive achievement to her already stellar career. The Japanese voice actor who has played Goku since the anime first aired in 1986 has one the Kan Kikuchi Prize for her contributions to Japanese culture.

While Masako Nozawa’s voice acting career dates back to 1963, it was her 1986 casting as Son Goku in the Dragon Ball anime adaptation that made her a fixture in Japanese culture. Goku would go on to become one of the most recognizable fictional characters in the world, rivaling the likes of Superman or Mickey Mouse in large portions of the world. While Goku’s voice has changed in most dubs over the years, Nozawa has voiced the Saiyan warrior in nearly every piece of media that the character has appeared in, including 2022’s Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero film. Masako Nozawa also voices Goku’s two sons, Gohan and Goten, as well as Goku’s father in the anime and Dragon Ball video games.

In recognition of her contributions to spreading Japanese culture to all corners of the world, Nozawa is being awarded the Kan Kikuchi Award for 2023. Originally intended to honor Japanese literary achievements, the Kan Kikuchi Award now awards excellence across a broad spectrum of Japanese culture and dates back to 1938. The jury announced that Nozawa would be 2023’s recipient, citing her as a “trailblazing representative of Japanese voice actors” who has become “beloved by one generation after another.”

Wondering how best to relive Goku’s adventures? We have the definitive Dragon Ball watch order to help you catch every episode and movie in order.

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About the Author
Trent Cannon avatar

Trent Cannon


Trent is a freelance writer who has been covering anime, video games, and pop culture for a decade. (He/Him)