Sayaka Kanda, a Japanese actress and singer, was found dead at a hotel in Sapporo on Saturday after she failed to show up for an afternoon performance of My Fair Lady in which she was set to play Eliza Dolittle. The 35-year-old, who voiced Anna in the dubbed Japanese version of the Disney hit Frozen, was found outside and had fallen from a height; police are investigating her death as a possible suicide, Deadline reports. Kanda was known for voicing characters in anime series including Idoly Pride, Star Blazers 2202, and Convenience Store Boyfriends, People reports. She is survived by her father, actor Masaki Kanda, and mother, singer Seiko Matsuda.
Her death comes after a patient at a psychiatric clinic in Osaka allegedly set a fire during a counseling session, killing 24 and leaving three others including himself in critical condition. The tragedies, coming one right after the other, are adding to concerns about a mental health crisis in Japan, where suicide is the leading cause of death for those aged 15 to 39, the Washington Post reports. Experts say the isolation of the pandemic has made it worse, with suicide rates increasing, and that the country still relies too heavily on institutionalizing those who need help—which increases the stigma that is already attached to needing such help. "Support for mental health education and mental health patients in Japan is very behind compared to Western countries," says one mental health expert in Osaka. (Read more Japan stories.)