Kenji Kawai

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Kenji Kawai
Kenji Kawai 20071028 Manga Expo 06.jpg
Background information
Born (1957-04-23) April 23, 1957 (age 57)
Shinagawa, Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
Genres Film score
Electronic music
Instrumental music
Occupations Composer, musician (guitarist), conductor
Years active 1986–present
Associated acts Mamoru Oshii
Website www.kenjikawai.com

Kenji Kawai (川井 憲次 Kawai Kenji?), born April 23, 1957 in Shinagawa, Tokyo, Tokyo, is a Japanese music composer, for motion pictures, anime movies, video games and televised programs. He has contributed to the musical scores for numerous films from Japan and other countries in Asia, working in film genres as diverse as anime, horror, sci-fi and historical epic. Among his credits are Tsui Hark's Seven Swords and Wilson Yip's Ip Man; Mamoru Oshii's films The Red Spectacles, StrayDog: Kerberos Panzer Cops, Ghost in the Shell, Mobile Police Patlabor and Avalon; the anime adaptations of Rumiko Takahashi's Ranma ½ and Maison Ikkoku; the live-action adaptation of Gantz; and Hideo Nakata's films Ring, Ring 2, Chaos, Dark Water and Kaidan.

Career[edit]

After dropping out of a nuclear engineering program at Tokai University, Kenji Kawai began studying music at Shobi Music Academy. However, he dropped out after half a year. With a few friends, he created the band Muse, playing fusion rock and participating in music competitions. Through competing in such contests, the band members became technically competent to enter the music industry and decided to part ways.

After leaving Muse, Kenji Kawai began composing music for commercials in his home studio. While recording music for radio actor and voice actor Yūji Mitsuya, he met music director Naoko Asari, who advised him to compose anime soundtracks. Some of his work for anime soundtracks can be found in Ranma ½, Ghost in the Shell and in the well-known recent (live action) film Death Note.

Following his success as an anime movies music composer, he became involved in live action movies. He contributed music to horror films: Ring, Ring 2, Dark Water, Japanese-Polish science-fiction film Avalon and the Hong Kong film Seven Swords.

He has worked on several projects with director Mamoru Oshii (both Headgear members) and has written scores for all of the Hideo Nakata's films. The most recent film featuring his music is 2009's Assault Girls by director Oshii. Kenji Kawai's music has received the Annie Award and Hong Kong Film Award. In 2005, for Innocence: Kôkaku kidôtai (Ghost in The Shell 2: Innocence) he was nominated for an Annie award.

For the music found in Seven Swords and A Battle of Wits he was nominated for Best Original Film Score Awards at both the 25th and 26th Hong Kong Film Awards in 2006 and 2007. Okay, Kenji Kawai tends to use alto glockenspiel, tympani, stringed instruments, and French horns in his compositions, which he says "they make music with a lot of energy".

Description of selected albums[edit]

Ghost in the Shell (1995)[edit]

The original soundtrack for Ghost in the Shell used Japanese choir singing parts of the Min'yō prayer toho kami emi tame and taiko drums. Other tracks are mostly instrumental, peaceful, with the dominance of drums. The CD also included pop song "See You Everyday", sung in Cantonese by Fang Ka Wing.

Avalon[edit]

The OST for Avalon featured songs sung only in Polish, telling the story of the mystical land Avalon. Works were performed by the Polish National Philharmonic Orkiestre, Choir of Philharmonic Orkiestre, and solo parts by opera singer Elżbieta Towarnicka (pl) (Elizabeth Towarnicka). There are a few songs of joyful mood, "Log in" or "Voyage to Avalon" for example, but also traditional instrumental songs with drums and electronic music.

Ghost in the Shell – Innocence[edit]

Following on from Ghost in the Shell, the score again makes use of female vocals and percussion, though featuring a different melody. Two songs performed by jazz singer Kimiko Itoh ("Follow me", "River of Crystals") also featured.

Vampire Princess Miyu – TV OST[edit]

This CD includes 34 tracks. The opening for TV series Shinma no Kodou uses flutes, a feminine chorus and piano. Solo parts are sung by Hiroko Kasahara ("Aitai"), Miki Nagasawa ("Manmaru Temari Uta" – sings with children) and Saeko Suzuki (ending Miyu Yachiyo with flute and piano). There are many fight scene themes which use fiddles, piano and sometimes drums.

List of works[edit]

Years 1985–1990[edit]

Year
Title
Genre
1986. めぞん一刻 (Maison ikkoku, Ikkoku House)
TV series
1987. 地獄の番犬:赤い目がね (The Red Spectacles,)
movie: Mamoru Oshii
1987. デビルマン (Devilman - The Birth)
OVA
1988. 機動警察パトレイバ— (Mobile Police Patlabor)
OVA
1988. 吸血姫美夕 (Vampire Princess Miyu)
OVA
1989. 機動警察パトレイバ— (Patlabor: The TV Series)
TV series
1989. らんま1/2 (Ranma 1/2)
TV series
1989. 機動警察パトレイバ— 劇場版 (Patlabor: The Movie)
movie
1989. らんま1/2 熱闘編 (Ranma 1/2: Hard Battle)
TV series
1990. デビルマン (Devilman - The Demon Bird)
OVA
1990. プロジェケトA子 (Project A-ko)
OVA
1990. からくり剣豪伝ムサシロード (Karakuri Kengō Den Musashi Lord, Musashi, the Samurai Lord)
TV series
1990. サンサーラ・ナーガ (Sansara Naga)
Famicom video game
1990. ブラッディ・ウァリアーズ シャンゴーの逆襲 (Bloody Warriors: Shangō no Gyakushū)
Family Computer video game
1990. キャッ党 忍伝 てやんでえ (Cat Ninja Legend Teyandee)
TV series

Years 1991–2000[edit]

Year
Title
Genre
1991. バ—ンナップ (Burn up!)
OVA
1991. ミカドロイド (Mikadroid: Robokill Beneath Disco Club Layla)
movie
1991. らんま 1/2 中国寝崑崙大決戦! 掟やぶりの激闘編!! (Ranma 1/2: Big Trouble in Nekonron, China)
OVA
1991. 人魚の森 (Mermaid Forest)
OVA
1991. 地獄の番犬: ケルベロス (StrayDog: Kerberos Panzer Cops)
movie
1991. 魔獣戦士ルナ・ヴァルガ— (Demon Warrior Luna Varga)
OVA
1992. ソーサリアン (Sorcerian)
PC Engine video game
1992. 絶愛 -1989- (Zetsuai 1989)
OVA
1992. ト—キング・ヘッド (Talking Head)
movie
1992. 姫ちゃんのリボン (Hime-chan's Ribbon)
TV series
1993. らんま1/2 OVA (Ranma OVA)
OVA
1993. 無責任艦長タイラ— (The Irresponsible Captain Tylor)
OVA, TV Series
1993. 機動警察パトレイバ—2 the Movie (Patlabor 2: The Movie)
movie
1994. チーム・イノセント (Team Innocent: The Point of No Return)
PC-FX video game
1994. サンサーラ・ナーガ2 (Sansara Naga 2)
Super Famicom video game
1994. ブル—シ—ド (Blue Seed)
TV series
1994. 戦え!! イクサ—1 (Iczer Girl Iczelion)
OVA
1995. プリンセス ミネルバ (Princess Minerva)
OVA
1995. 攻殻機動隊 (GITS, Ghost in The Shell)
movie
1996. 爆れつハンタ— (Sorcerer Hunters)
TV series
1996. 赤ちゃんと僕 (Baby and Me)
TV series
1997. はいぱ—ぽりす (Hyper Police)
TV series
1997. 吸血姫美夕 (Vampire Princess Miyu)
TV series
1998. リング (Ring, The Ring)
movie: Hideo Nakata
1998. ディープフィアー (Deep Fear)
Sega Saturn video game
1999. 逮捕しちゃうぞ the MOVIE (You're Under Arrest! The Movie)
movie
1999. リング2 (Ring 2, The Ring 2)
movie: Hideo Nakata
1999. 地球防衛企業ダイ・ガ—ド (Dai-Guard)
movie
2000. サディスティック&マゾヒスティック (Sadistic and Masochistic)
movie: Hideo Nakata
2000. ガラスの脳 (Sleeping Bride)
movie Hideo Nakata
2000. カオス (Chaos)
movie: Hideo Nakata

Years 2001 – current[edit]

Year
Title
Genre
2001. ガイスタ—ズ (Geisters - Fractions of Earth)
TV series
2001. アヴァロン (Avalon)
movie: Mamoru Oshii
2001. UNLOVED
movie: Kunitoshi Manda
2001. あなたがここにいてほしい (Zaion: I Wish You Were Here)
OVA
2001. 新白雪姫伝説プリ—ティア (New Snow White's Legend Pretear)
movie
2001. 修羅雪姫 (The Princess Blade)
movie
2002. 仄暗い水の底から (Dark Water)
movie: Hideo Nakata
2002. パトレイバ— WXIII (WXIII: Patlabor the Movie 3)
movie
2002. Le Samouraï (Samurai, Samuraj)
movie: Giordano Gederlini
2002. Bloody Mallory
movie: Julien Magnat
2003. 信長の野望Online (Nobunaga's Ambition Online) (Chapter of Hiryu)
Video Game
2003. ガンパレ—ド・マ—チ -新たなる行軍歌 (Gunparade March)
TV series
2004. 跋扈妖怪传之牙吉 (Kibakichi: Bakko yokaiden)
movie: Tomo-O Haraguchi
2004. 跋扈妖怪传之牙吉2 (Kibakichi: Bakko yokaiden 2)
movie: Tomo-O Haraguchi
2004. イノセンス (Ghost in The Shell 2: INNOCENCE)
movie
2004. ウルトラマンネクサス (Ultraman Nexus)
TV series
2004. 風人物語 (Windy Tales, Fūjin Monogatari)
TV series
2005. スタ—シップ・オペレ—タ—ズ (Starship Operators)
TV series
2005. MAKOTO
movie: Ryoichi Kimizuka
2005. めざめの方舟 (Open Your Mind)
movie: Mamoru Oshii
2005. Namgeuk-ilgi (Antarctic Journal)
movie: Yim Pil-sung
2005. 七劍(Qī Jian, Seven Swords)
movie: Tsui Hark
2005. 輪廻 (Rinne, Reincarnation)
movie: Takashi Shimizu
2005. 奇谈 (Kidan)
movie: Takashi Komatsu
2006. フェイト/ステイナイト (Fate/Stay Night)
TV series
2006. 立喰師列伝 - Tachiguishi-Retsuden (Tachigui: The Amazing Lives of the Fast Food Grifters) - music and actor
movie: Mamoru Oshii
2006. デスノ—ト (Death Note)
movie: Shusuke Kaneko
2006. 야수 (Running Wild)
movie: Kim Sung-soo
2006. 龍虎門 (Dragon Tiger Gate)
movie: Wilson Yip
2006. Trapped Ashes
movie: Sean S. Cunningham
2006. Death Note: The Last Name
movie: Shūsuke Kaneko
2006. 墨攻(Mo Gōng, A Battle of Wits)
movie: Jacob Cheung
2006. ひぐらしのなく頃に (Higurashi no Naku Koro ni)
TV series
2007. 怪谈 (Kaidan)
movie: Hideo Nakata
2007. 精霊の守り人 (Seirei no Moribito)
TV series
2007. ひぐらしのなく頃に解 (Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai)
TV series
2007. Mobile Suit Gundam 00
TV series
2007. FolksSoul -失われた伝承- (FolksSoul)
PlayStation 3 video game
2007~2010. 三國志Online (Sangokushi Online)
PC video game
2008. The Sky Crawlers
movie, director: Mamoru Oshii
2008. 葉問 Ip Man
movie, director: Wilson Yip
2009. Eden of the East
TV anime Noitamina original series, director: Kenji Kamiyama
2009. アサルトガールズ (Assault Girls)
movie: Mamoru Oshii
2009. Apocalypse: The Second World War
Historical documentaries on World War II by directors Isabelle Clarke and Daniel Costelle
2009. Samayou Yaiba
movie
2010. 劇場版フェイト/ステイナイト Unlimited Blade Works (Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works)
movie, director: Yuji Yamaguchi
2010. 葉問2 Ip Man 2
movie, director: Wilson Yip
2010. 劇場版機動戦士ガンダム00(ダブルオー)-A Wakening of the Trailblazer- (Mobile Suit Gundam 00 the Movie: A Wakening of the Trailblazer)
movie, director: Seiji Mizushima
2010. インシテミル 7日間のデス・ゲーム (The Incite Mill: A Death Game in 7 Days)
movie, director: Hideo Nakata
2011. GANTZ (Gantz)
Live action movie, director: Shinsuke Sato
2011. GANTZ: Perfect Answer (GANTZ: Perfect Answer)
Live action movie, director: Shinsuke Sato
2011. ラビット・ホラー3D (Tormented)
Live action movie, director: Takashi Shimizu
2011. トワノクオン (Towa no Quon)
Anime, director: Umanosuke Iida
2011. 武装中学生 バスケットアーミー (Busou Chuugakusei Basket Army)
Anime, director: Romanov Higa
2012. 009 RE:CYBORG (009 Re:Cyborg)
movie, director: Kenji Kamiyama
2012. 非公認戦隊アキバレンジャー (Unofficial Sentai Akibaranger)
TV series
2007. ワールドトリガー (World Trigger)
TV series

See also[edit]

External links[edit]