The actor, comedian and choreographer Ken Maeda, who worked on the PreCure anime’s ED dances and was one of very few openly gay Japanese entertainers, has passed away aged just 44. The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department confirmed his passing at 1:26am today. Just one hour after having dinner by himself at 7:00pm in Shinjuku, he fell unconscious on the street, and when an ambulance arrived he’d gone into cardiopulmonary arrest. Though he was treated in ICU, he never regained consciousness, and because there were no external injuries, the police don’t think a crime caused his death.
Born in Tokyo on June 14th 1971, he started his professional career in Japan in 1994, after taking dance lessons for four years in New York. Before being invited to choreograph the PreCure girls when the 6th series Fresh PreCure! brought in the 3DCG ED movies, he was best known for his impersonation of singer Aya Matsura. But once he’d joined PreCure‘s support cast as Kaoru-chan, he appeared in several of its musical adaptations, and stayed to work on the ED dances for Fresh PreCure! and Smile PreCure! from 2009 through to 2013.
He once said of the show, “Since I can’t have my own child, I am very happy working for the PreCure series that has been loved by so many children.” Through bringing us the Pretty Cures’ dances beloved by fans throughout the years, Maeda is part of the legacy of the show which will continue to bring joy to generations to come.