Saturday, March 9, 2024

TARAKO (1960-2024)

Maruko's voice actress TARAKO has passed away suddenly at the age of 63.

In hindsight, it's amusing to remember that my first impression of Maruko's voice was not a positive one, way back when I watched my first clip of Chibi Maruko-chan, oh-so-long-ago. "Why does this little girl sound like an old woman", I idly wondered, more grateful for easy-to-comprehend Japanese language material than anything else, really. As I continued to watch the series, however, I had no choice but to warm up to that singular voice, a voice that was so closely intertwined and essential to the Maruko character that it would entirely impossible to try to imagine the character existing without it.

And now, sadly, we must. RIP.

Farewell Words from TARAKO's castmates:

(Taken from this article)

Teiyu Ichiryusai (Maruko's mother)

We've had to bid farewell to a true one-of-a-kind. Tara-chan was a master of always watching out for others, always full of kindness and consideration. There is nothing that can ever fill this sense of loss.

Bin Shimada (Maruko's grandfather, Tomozou Sakura)

A pained, heavy chest

To never again utter

"What's up, Maruko?"

- Tomozou's Heartfelt Haiku, in Tara-chan's memory

Yuko Sasaki (Maruko's grandmother)

Cheerful, fun-loving -- someone who lavished love on anything that lived, be they human or animal. But to so suddenly depart, ahead of your poor grandmother... the one time you held no respect for your grandparents, little Maruko...

Machiko Toyoshima (Sakiko Sakura)

I find myself so filled with disbelief at the sudden loss of my dear TARAKO-san. During our recording sessions, I was often encouraged by your warm and cheerful smile and your refrain of "This is fun, isn't it?" There were so many things I wished I could talk to you about, so many things I wish we could have done together. I still can't put together memories of our time spent as "Maruko and her big sister." But instead of "Farewell", I'll send you off with some of your favorite words. "Thank you so much! See you again!"

Naoko Watanabe (Tama-chan)

TARAKO and I formed a close bond in both our public and private lives that reflected the bond of Maruko and Tama-chan in the show. Memories of the precious time we shared together still sparkle radiantly deep inside me. Thank you from the very bottom of my heart. May she rest in peace.


TARAKO played the role of Chibi Maruko-chan ever since the beginning 34 years ago, and she was the very essence of the character. Always with kindness and compassion for those in the recording studio, her cheerful energetic air setting hearts at ease, the spirit of Maruko's innocence, beloved by her friends and family... the very picture of what it means to be "Chibi Maruko-chan".

Up until the very end, she was urging to be allowed to record her lines in the hospital ward -- she held so much love towards 'Chibi Maruko-chan' as a whole.

We cannot hide our shock at her sudden passing, but we hope to continue drawing Maruko with the same warmth and reverence that TARAKO used when approaching her role.

TARAKO-san, thank you so much for our long time spent together and your efforts therein. We long for nothing more than for you to rest in peace.


  1. Thank you for your diligence in sharing Chibi Maruko-chan, and by extension the work of this singular voice talent, with the world.

    R.I.P. TARAKO-san

  2. This is devestating news, I grew up with this show and her voice acting was peak comedy acting, she was amazing. They will be airing on March 24th her final episode voicing Maruko, it'll be 1 hour long, it'll be hard to watch :(

  3. I wasn't really a fan of chibi is kiddy about rip peace you did classified g so but your voice acting was good