There exist a question asking about the most connected seiyuu by six degrees. As innocent of a question it may seem, but the foundations the question is based on is flawed and unreasonablely scoped.
Kevin Bacon himself thinks this game was a joke in his TEDx talk: https://youtu.be/n9u-TITxwoM
He didn't invent the game, but it is permanently associated with him thanks to pop culture.
But what's the problem here? The problem is that we are using a fundamentally speculative assumption to pose another about a similar topic. This will only create more misconception if the basis is not first scrutinized.
The 6 Degrees of Separation from Kevin Bacon Theory is based on a well known theory called the “small world theory,” a longstanding serious look at the degrees of separation between people. Some look for fun, some like Stanley Milgram looked to explain how events like the atrocities of WWII could happen given how interconnected we all are.
Many “small world” studies have been done throughout the years, from radio inventor Guglielmo Marconi’s thoughts on the subject in the early 1900’s (he guessed 5), to experimental social physiologist Stanley Milgram’s small world experiments in 1967 (which showed 6 degrees), to Microsoft’s 2008 study (which showed average degree of separation is 6.6), and more.
Although most studies have showed the average degree of separation is about 6 (but not exactly), the Microsoft study showed some people are connected by up to 29 degrees. Others, like a person living alone in the jungle, could be completely unconnected. While it is true that Kevin Bacon is connected to a lot of actors, but the same can be said about other actions that have been around for a while. Popularity and fame will get you a ways to to conbecting people, but it's not an end all be all, especially in this age of the internet. Small world studies typically look at who we know in any way, but each study is different.
With Kevin Bacon game, there are specific rules to narrow the scope, such as one must have worked with Kevin Bacon on a professional or personal level to count.
However, if we count just people we know in any way (including social media) there can be an argument that many people have less than 6 degree today.
To avoid the going on a long winded rant about the finer details of the theory, see this video for a summary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcxZSmzPw8k
Such a theory was proposed long ago that everyone on earth is separated by 6 or less acquaintance links apart. This idea was first put forth by Frigyes Karinthy in 1929, and popularized by a 1990 play written by John Guare.
The basic concept (behind the Small World theory) is that due to technological advances in communications and travel, friendship networks could grow larger and span greater distances. In particular, Karinthy believed that the modern world was ‘shrinking’ due to this ever-increasing connectedness of human beings.
The small world and 6 degrees of separation theories have truth to them, but they are not true as absolutes (only as general rule-of-thumbs that speak of averages with outliers excluded).
Instead of saying “everyone has 6 degrees of separation,” it is much more correct to say, “the average person has around 6 degrees or less between them and another average person (including Kevin Bacon)…. and with social media considered, those with similar interests may very well have less on average.”
Thus, the 6 degrees of separation rule is a rule-of-thumb, it is generally true for most of us, but doesn’t apply to outliers who live unconnected from modern society.
Trying to apply the same methodology to the Japanese voice acting industry is not a viable approach, in my opinion. Unlike the Hollywood movie industry the Japanese voice acting industry does not command as much respect, attention, or fame. Those that make careers out of it are few and far between, oftentimes the more successful ones move to other more profitable industries, retire, or just fade away into obscurity. Dude to social media the lines have been ever so blurred and hard to distinguish with reasonable objectivity.
The amount of effort to create an viable and objective answer is unreasonable for the average person. You can ask for all the data you want but if the criteria is too boardly, there will be no end to to comparisons. Do we care about the time period? Connected in terms of what? One assumes their voice actors, but voice actors are many different things, some are singers or idols, others are models, some are also stage or movie actors in their own right.
We had a similar type of problem with list requests, but in this case its more of a reverse list. Instead of questions like "how many have X in Y". We have "who is the most A in Z."
There is no reasonable scope or criteria preventing this question from being overly broad. If we limit it to a certsin period, we have limited data available. We can look at work history based on credits, but voice actors also do networking out sude of their roles? How can we talk factors as such into account?
It us in my belief thatanswers are not an appropriate place to be a plase to do a new small world study and we should not be encouraging questions where the answer may as well be a thesis on a bigger topic.
We need some sort of policy in place to keep questions within reasonable scope or it its founded on a controversial theory or topic. Such a question about voice actors cannot be properly answered without sorting and refercing large amounts of data. Furthermore fact checking such answer for bias is an equally cumbersome ordeal.
So I ask, what can we do about this issue.