Get to know three of the people behind the “sexy” English-language voice announcements you’ll hear on public transport in Japan.

If you’ve ever travelled on a train in Tokyo, chances are you’ll have navigated your way to your destination with the help of English-language rail announcements. These announcements usually follow ones in Japanese onboard trains and at train stations, and have been used without change for a number of years.

So who are the people behind these voices? It’s a question we were partially able to answer back in 2015, when we learnt that the woman behind the Tokaido Shinkansen bullet train announcements was an Australian named Donna Burke who also voiced Metal Gear Solid V‘s iDroid.

Burke has an active Twitter account with over 30,000 followers, many of whom are interested in her vocal work for video games like Final Fantasy and Silent Hill 2 and 3. However, Burke remains proud of her work on the bullet train, and recently she’s been sharing videos reminding us all of her soothing Shinkansen voice, while introducing us to some of the rail network’s other famous voices as well.

First up, Burke shared this video of herself riding on the subway with Chris Wells, the man behind the platform announcements for trains on the East Japan railway network.

JR East covers the Yamanote loop line which connects a lot of the city’s most popular tourist destinations, so chances are high that you’ve heard his voice on their platforms before. Another voice you’re more than likely to have come across belongs to a lady called Christelle Ciari, who can be heard onboard a large number of Tokyo trains, including those on the Yamanote Line.

▼ The three came together recently to share their dulcet tones in a video which has since gone viral on Twitter.

The trio of announcers were brought together on 8 February for a live event featuring Sonoco, a Japanese comedian who imitates rail announcements as part of her act. One of her laugh-inducing jokes involves her impersonating Burke’s “sexy” voice on the Shinkansen.

▼ The comedian also does her best to imitate Ciari’s train voice…

▼ And she paired her Japanese platform announcer voice with Wells’ “sexy” voice for the video below.

Sonoco’s rail comedy attracts a lot of train otaku, and one of them wowed Burke with his vocal skills, impersonating not only the sound of the Shinkansen but the female Japanese voice that can be heard alongside Burke’s English announcements onboard.

Announcements are one of the many things that we love about Japanese train travel, especially when they involve male rail attendants using an unusually high pitch and train drivers showing their impressive English skills live on board.

With these videos racking up thousands of likes and retweets, more and more people both here in Japan and overseas are finally getting to put faces to the voices heard on some of the country’s busiest trains. And that’s one thing Burke’s mother should be happy with, after she finally got to hear her daughter’s voice onboard for the first time last year.

Source: Twitter/@db_singer_actor
Featured image: Twitter/@db_singer_actor

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