Kenji Kawai

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Kenji Kawai
川井 憲次
Kawai in 2007
Kawai in 2007
Background information
Also known asKaai (かーいさん, Kāi-san)
Born (1957-04-23) April 23, 1957 (age 66)
Shinagawa, Japan
GenresFilm score
Electronic music
Instrumental music
  • Composer
  • arranger
  • Guitar
  • keyboard
  • drums
Years active1980–present Edit this at Wikidata

Kenji Kawai (川井 憲次, Kawai Kenji, born April 23, 1957) is a Japanese music composer and arranger. Known as one of the biggest names in the soundtrack world, he has worked on a wide range of mixed media productions, including anime, TV shows, films and video games.[1] Among his credits are Toei's Kamen Rider Heisei Generations Forever, Tsui Hark's Seven Swords and Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon; Wilson Yip's Ip Man; Mamoru Oshii's films The Red Spectacles, StrayDog: Kerberos Panzer Cops, Ghost in the Shell, Mobile Police Patlabor, The Sky Crawlers 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.

His nephew, Hidehiro Kawai, is a bassist in Fox Capture Plan, an instrumental band.


After dropping out of a nuclear engineering program at Tokai University, 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.[2]

After leaving Muse, 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 and Ghost in the Shell. According to Kawai, he is not good at creating music from nothing, as he draws sounds from the visuals of the works. In the majority of cases, the images of the anime are not yet created, so he creates music when referencing storyboard visuals.[3]

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, the Hong Kong film Seven Swords and in the 2017 live action film Death Note.

Kawai has worked on several projects with director Mamoru Oshii (both Headgear members) and has written scores for all of Hideo Nakata's films. The most recent film featuring his music is 2009's Assault Girls by director Oshii. Kawai's music has received the Annie Award and Hong Kong Film Award. In 2005, 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.



Year Title Notes
1986 ''Cosmos Pink Shock'' TV Movie
1986 Maison Ikkoku
1987 Devilman – The Birth OVA
1988 Mobile Police Patlabor OVA
1988 Vampire Princess Miyu OVA
1989 Patlabor: The TV Series
1989 Ranma 1/2
1989 Patlabor: The Movie Movie
1989 Gosenzo-sama Banbanzai! OVA
1989 Ranma 1/2: Nettohen
1990 Devilman – The Demon Bird OVA
1990 Project A-ko OVA
1990 Karakuri Kengō Den Musashi Lord
1990 Kyatto Ninden Teyandee
1991 Burn Up! OVA
1991 Ranma 1/2: Big Trouble in Nekonron, China OVA
1991 Mermaid Forest OVA
1991 Demon Warrior Luna Varga OVA
1992 Zetsuai 1989 OVA
1992 Hime-chan's Ribbon
1993 Ranma ½ OVA OVA
1993 The Irresponsible Captain Tylor OVA, TV Series
1993 Patlabor 2: The Movie Movie
1994 Blue Seed
1994 Iczer Girl Iczelion OVA
1995 Princess Minerva OVA
1995 Ghost in The Shell Movie
1996 Sorcerer Hunters
1996 Baby and Me
1997 Hyper Police
1997 Vampire Princess Miyu
1999 You're Under Arrest THE MOVIE
1999 Dai-Guard Movie
2001 Geisters – Fractions of Earth
2001 Zaion: I Wish You Were Here OVA
2001 Rave Master
2002 WXIII: Patlabor the Movie 3
2003 Gunparade March
2004 Ghost in The Shell 2: INNOCENCE Movie
2004 Ultraman Nexus[4]
2004 Windy Tales
2005 Starship Operators
2005 MAKOTO [ja]
2006 Fate/Stay Night TV series
2006 Tachiguishi-Retsuden Music and Actor
2006 Higurashi no Naku Koro ni
2007 Seirei no Moribito
2007 Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai
2007 Mobile Suit Gundam 00
2008 The Sky Crawlers
2009 Eden of the East
2010 Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works
2010 Mobile Suit Gundam 00 the Movie: A Wakening of the Trailblazer
2011 Towa no Quon
2011 Busou Chuugakusei Basket Army
2012 009 Re:Cyborg
2012 Unofficial Sentai Akibaranger
2014 Barakamon
2014 World Trigger
2014 The Perfect Insider
2015 Hana Moyu Taiga drama
2015 Wakaba Girl
2015 Subete ga F ni Naru
2016 Mobile Police Patlabor: Reboot ONA, serve as extra episode of Japan Animator Expo
2016 Joker Game
2016 Mob Psycho 100
2016 Servamp
2016 Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru
2017 Ultraman Geed[4]
2017 Kamen Rider Build[5]
2018 The Ryuo's Work Is Never Done![citation needed]
2018 Manpuku Asadora
2019 Afterlost
2019 No Guns Life
2020 Higurashi: When They Cry – Gou
2021 Vlad Love ONA
2021 Higurashi: When They Cry – Sotsu
2023 The Fire Hunter
2023 My Home Hero
2023 Ōoku: The Inner Chambers ONA


Year Title
1987 The Red Spectacles
1991 Mikadroid: Robokill Beneath Disco Club Layla
1991 StrayDog: Kerberos Panzer Cops
1992 Talking Head
1998 Ring
1999 Ring 2
2000 Sadistic and Masochistic
2000 Sleeping Bride
2000 Chaos
2001 Avalon
2001 The Princess Blade
2002 Dark Water
2002 Samuraj
2002 Bloody Mallory
2004 Kibakichi: Bakko yokaiden
2004 Kibakichi: Bakko yokaiden 2
2005 Open Your Mind
2005 Antarctic Journal
2005 Seven Swords
2005 Rinne
2005 Kidan (奇谈)
2006 Death Note
2006 Running Wild
2006 Dragon Tiger Gate
2006 Trapped Ashes
2006 Death Note 2: The Last Name
2006 A Battle of Wits
2007 Kaidan
2008 Ip Man
2009 Assault Girls
2009 The Hovering Blade
2010 Ip Man 2
2010 The Incite Mill
2010 Ultraman Zero: The Revenge of Belial[4]
2011 GANTZ
2011 GANTZ: Perfect Answer
2011 Tormented
2013 Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon
2014 Garm Wars: The Last Druid
2015 Ip Man 3
2015 Gamera
2017 Biohazard Vendetta
2018 Detective Dee: The Four Heavenly Kings
2018 Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms
2019 Ip Man 4
2019 Blood Friends (血ぃともだち)[6]

Video games[edit]

Year Title Platform
1990 Sansara Naga Famicom
1990 Bloody Warriors: Shangō no Gyakushū Famicom
1992 Sorcerian PC Engine
1994 Team Innocent: The Point of No Return PC-FX
1994 Sansara Naga 2 Super Famicom
1998 Deep Fear Sega Saturn
2003 Nobunaga's Ambition Online (Chapter of Hiryu) PlayStation 2
2007 FolksSoul PlayStation 3
2007–2010 Sangokushi Online Windows


Year Title
2009 Apocalypse: The Second World War

Awards and honors[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "(117582) Kenjikawai". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  2. ^ "Profile" (in Japanese). Retrieved June 1, 2017.
  3. ^ "作曲家・川井憲次「「トワイライトQ」が僕の感性のターニングポイント」 (2) 押井守監督との出会い". マイナビニュース. May 17, 2013. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c 「ジーッとしてても、ドーにもならねぇ!」ウルトラマンシリーズ最新作「ウルトラマンジード」メインキャスト発表! (in Japanese). June 1, 2017. Retrieved June 1, 2017.
  5. ^ "Release".
  6. ^ "血ぃともだち". Retrieved June 17, 2022.
  7. ^ "MPC/MPO/MPS Archive". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved February 1, 2020.

External links[edit]