Have you ever been sitting at your desk at work, trying desperately to give the impression that you’re actually busy and had that rogue thought run across your mind: “hey, I used to love [actress/singer/ballet dancer], whatever happened to them?”
Then hours later, you have no idea where your day just went.
That very thought is what inspired my original article on what happened to the live-action Sailor Moon cast, and I decided it was about time that I followed it up with an article about the girls of the Sailor Moon musicals. If you’ve ever wondered the same, stick around to find out!
Just to be clear, I realize that in addition to doing a lot of other work while performing in the musicals that almost all of the cast members were also busy in other activities, such as performing on the television show Sakurakko Club, singing Moonlight Densetsu as Moon Lips, and forming the band Momo (Anza and Ayako). In order to keep things simple, though, I generally kept the information here to their post-musical days.
Anyway, without further ado, let’s get started!
Sailor Moon – Anza Oyama
I mean this in the best way possible, but it’s really unfortunate that we’re starting our look at the Sailor Moon musical cast with Anza. She is far and away the most active and successful of nearly any of the talented women who grew up on stage as a Sailor Soldier, which you’ll read more about below.
She’s also the only member of the five original senshi that is still active in the entertainment industry.
As for what she’s been up to since leaving the Sailor Moon musical production, probably a better question would be “what hasn’t she been up to?”
Some of her post-Sailor Moon work has included:1
- Releasing her own music (including “Dream,” Card Captor Sakura’s “Tobira wo Akete,” and Glass no Kantai‘s “Kanata he”)
- Forming a band with her brothers (named “Head Phones President”)
- Performing in musicals (including Eponine in Les Misérables and Hikaru in STAND IN THE WORLD – THE ROCK MUSICAL SHOW)
- Writing for a web rock magazine (BEEAST)2
Probably the most interesting thing for me was that she’s actually still involved in musicals, nearly 25 years after she got her start, with her latest performance being in 2016.
It’s really great to see that she’s still so active, and as far as I could tell, she still throws small concerts once a year or so in small rock houses around Tokyo. If you have a chance, maybe you should check one out!
Sailor Mercury – Ayako Morino
Tied only by Anza, Ayako shares the honor of being one the the longest-running cast members of the Sailor Moon musicals. Despite being the youngest member of the original cast,3 Ayako seems to have been performing on stage longer than any of the others.4 Her first professional performance was playing the role of July in the musical “Annie.”
After parting ways with Sailor Moon, Ayako was also quite active for a number of years, before going silent in 2002 when she stepped out of the spotlight.
Some of her her major work includes:
- Performing in musicals (including “Merry Christmas in Luna Forest” and “MELODY”)
- Acting in a movie (the Hong Kong movie “A Poet’s Love / Wife and Lover”)
- Appearing in commercials (including J-Phone, Yomeishu alcohol, and NTT)
- Modeling as the “image girl” representing brands (including “Kimono Promenade”)
As for why she stopped working (or at least stopped working in the limelight) is unclear but in a 2000 magazine interview she said that she left her talent agency and was working for herself, and that she was living together with a boyfriend. Later, in the same article, she said that she started feeling that the idol life wasn’t for her three years prior (~1997?), and that she felt uncomfortable with the idol treatment ever since playing Sailor Mercury.
This, however, isn’t the end public sightings of Ayako. Starting from around 2009, she would occasionally appear in photos in the voice actress Marina Ono’s5 blog when they went out to eat together. No mention of what she’s been up to, though. Still, nice to see her!
Sailor Mars – Misako Iwana (née Kotani)
While Misako isn’t strictly the “original” person cast to play Sailor Mars in the musicals — that honor goes to Hiroko Nakayama — she did quickly take on the role and is probably the performer fans are more familiar with. At least that’s my opinion on the subject, feel free to let me know if Hiroko would be more suitable here!
As for what Misako did after leaving the musical, it turns out she was quite busy until around 2002 or so when she stepped out of the limelight. She now works as a voice trainer and has a child.6
Some of her major work includes:
- Releasing a single (“Over the Times,” under the name MISA)7
- Modelling in photo books (including “Pino the First” and “Pino Floppy Photo Book”)
- Appearing on TV shows (including Y2club as a Y2 Girl)
- Performing a duet with Anza (on May 1, 2011 to commemorate the 20th anniversary since Anza debut)8
While she rarely updates her blog and there isn’t much information about her readily found, it sounds like things have worked out for Misako. It’s always good to see that things turned out relatively well!
Sailor Jupiter – Kanoko (Noriko Kamiyama)
Scouted in Aoyama in 1991 at the age of 17, Noriko Kamiyama (who performed under the stage name “Kanoko”) is probably the biggest mystery of the original cast.
No matter how deep down I dig into the depths of the Japanese idol fan communities, I’ve been unable to come up with any work she’s done past 1997. It’s like she just disappeared, or possibly decided to call it quits. She would have been 23 at the time, so pretty early in terms of an idol career, but not entirely impossible.
Other major works I could find for her include:9
- Appearing in commercials (including IBM Japan)
- Serving as a “campaign girl” representing brands (including runner-up KAZE Cinderella for Kawasaki, Suntory Tarunama (樽生; barrel-fresh beer), and others)
- Releasing a photo compilation (titled “ANAIS”)
- Appearing as a swimsuit and clothing model in magazines (at least 13 that I could find)
Unfortunately, that’s about as far as I’ve been able to track her activities. Whatever happened, I hope it was for good reasons and she’s enjoying whatever path life took her on!
Sailor Venus – Nana Suzuki
As with Kanoko, I was unable to find anything useful about Nana’s recent activities, and it seems like she just dropped off of the face of the earth shortly after finishing up her stint in the Sailor Moon musicals.
Through sheer persistence, I was able to uncover some of her post-musical work, with the last reference I could find to her being active in the entertainment industry being in late 1998, after which her profile was taken down by her talent agency, Starlight Productions.
Her post-Sailor Moon work includes:10
- Appearing in commercials (including Nissei Cup Noodles, McDonalds, and Disneyland)
- Modeling in magazines (including Petit Birthday, Petit Seven, and Combat Comic)
- Appearing on TV (including the 5-minute mini-program “Try It” on TBS from ~1995 to 1996, and the “SoHo” program on the Space Shower TV music station)
- Modeling in fashion shows (including the February 12, 1996 “FINE” fashion show)
Hopefully things have also gone well for her, no matter where she ended up!
It was surprisingly hard to find out much about these women, but I choose to interpret this to mean that they’ve probably stepped away from the busy life of a star and have settled down to the normal, mundane lives we all enjoy. At least that’s what I hope has happened.
Is there any other Sailor Moon personality you’d like me to look into next, maybe some of the voice actresses or another musical cast? Doing this kind of research is challenging — but fun — for me, so I’m open to suggestions!
- See Anza (Wikipedia) ↩
- See Columnist: Anza ↩
- Hiroko Nakayama, the original performer to play Rei, is actually two months younger than Ayako. However, for reasons explained in the section on Misako Iwana, she is not being counted here. ↩
- See Ayako Morino (Wikipedia) ↩
- See Marina Ono (Wikipedia) ↩
- See Misako Iwana (Wikipedia) ↩
- OVER THE TIMES ↩
- See Anza’s 20th Anniversary Solo Concert ↩
- See Kanoko’s profile ↩
- See Nana Suzuki (Wikipedia) ↩