4th Year Faculty of Law and Letters Student Tomona Yabiku Selected to Voice Main Character
in Disney Film Moana

Tomona Yabiku, 4th year University of the Ryukyus student, was selected to voice the main character in Disney’s new animated film Moana. 


 Yabiku shared this news with university President Oshiro and he offered words of warm encouragement and support.


 Previous Disney films have seen well-known actresses like Takako Matsu, Sayaka Kanda and Aya Ueto selected to provide voiceovers. So for a total newcomer to be selected was unprecedented. “Even the announcement was a big surprise to me. I just couldn’t believe it. I was happy to even be given an audition. It’s really like a dream come true,” Ms. Yabiku said of her selection


 Ms. Yabiku is a 4th year English Language and Culture major in the Department of Languages and Cultures of the Faculty of Law and Letters. She has studied abroad in the United States and has a TOEIC score of 915. She has taken classic ballet lessons since she was four years old. She was initially aiming for a career that would put her English skills to use, such as interpretation, but during her second year at university she took part in an English play which sparked her interest, leading to her participation in musicals both inside and outside the university. The real turning point came when she joined the nation-wide workshop held in the spring of 2016, “Get Together! Musical Singing Contest at the Imperial Theater, Tokyo,” where she won top prize from among 2,000 contestants, garnering her much attention.


 Ms. Yabiku talks about her initial feelings. “Moana feels a lot of uncertainty, but listens to her heart and sets out to leave her small island village with the help of those around her to seek out a new ocean. I’m the same way. I had a slow start as a performer and was nervous about a lot of things, but just like Moana I’ll do my best to believe in myself and communicate Moana’s charm to many people. I was really uncertain about following this path, but my family, teachers and alumni vocal coaches supported me and gave me the courage to take the step. There are a lot of people at the University of the Ryukyus who are very serious about doing what they want to do, and that provided a great stimulus for me.”

 She also had a message for fellow classmates at the university. “To my juniors at school, I’d like to say that when you think to yourself ‘That would be impossible for me,’ don’t hit the brakes. Find that thing you want to do, no matter how small, and believe in your capabilities, then challenge yourself to make it happen.”


 She also had a message for fellow classmates at the university. “To my juniors at school, I’d like to say that when you think to yourself ‘That would be impossible for me,’ don’t hit the brakes. Find that thing you want to do, no matter how small, and believe in your capabilities, then challenge yourself to make it happen.”

4th year Faculty of Law and Letters student Tomona Yabiku

Ms. Yabiku reports the good news to President Hajime Oshiro

President Oshiro offers encouragement to Ms. Yabiku