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 65)
Shinagawa, Japan
GenresFilm score
Electronic music
Instrumental music
Occupation(s)Composer, arranger
InstrumentsGuitar, keyboard, drums, multi instruments
Years active1980–present
WebsiteKenji Kawai Official Site

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 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 the 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, 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.



Year Title Notes
1986 めぞん一刻 (Maison ikkoku, Ikkoku House)
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)
1989 らんま1/2 (Ranma 1/2)
1989 機動警察パトレイバ— 劇場版 (Patlabor: The Movie) Movie
1989 御先祖様万々歳! (Gosenzo-sama Banbanzai!, Long Long Live the Ancestors!) OVA
1989 らんま1/2 熱闘編 (Ranma 1/2: Nettohen)
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)
1990 キャッ党 忍伝 てやんでえ (Kyatto Ninden Teyandee, Cat Ninja Legend Teyandee)
1990 麿子 (MAROKO)
1991 バ—ンナップ (Burn up!) OVA
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 魔獣戦士ルナ・ヴァルガ— (Demon Warrior Luna Varga) OVA
1992 絶愛 -1989- (Zetsuai 1989) OVA
1992 姫ちゃんのリボン (Hime-chan's Ribbon)
1993 らんま1/2 OVA (Ranma ½ 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 ブル—シ—ド (Blue Seed)
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)
1996 赤ちゃんと僕 (Baby and Me)
1997 はいぱ—ぽりす (Hyper Police)
1997 吸血姫美夕 (Vampire Princess Miyu)
1999 逮捕しちゃうぞ the MOVIE (You're Under Arrest THE MOVIE)
1999 地球防衛企業ダイ・ガ—ド (Dai-Guard) Movie
2001 ガイスタ—ズ (Geisters – Fractions of Earth)
2001 あなたがここにいてほしい (Zaion: I Wish You Were Here) OVA
2001 レイヴ (Rave Master)
2002 パトレイバ— WXIII (WXIII: Patlabor the Movie 3)
2003 ガンパレ—ド・マ—チ -新たなる行軍歌 (Gunparade March)
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)[4]
2004 風人物語 (Windy Tales, Fūjin Monogatari)
2005 スタ—シップ・オペレ—タ—ズ (Starship Operators)
2005 MAKOTO [ja]
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
2006 ひぐらしのなく頃に (Higurashi no Naku Koro ni)
2007 精霊の守り人 (Seirei no Moribito)
2007 ひぐらしのなく頃に解 (Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai)
2007 Mobile Suit Gundam 00
2008 The Sky Crawlers
2009 Eden of the East
2010 劇場版フェイト/ステイナイト Unlimited Blade Works (Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works)
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)
2011 トワノクオン (Towa no Quon)
2011 武装中学生 バスケットアーミー (Busou Chuugakusei Basket Army)
2012 009 RE:CYBORG (009 Re:Cyborg)
2012 非公認戦隊アキバレンジャー (Unofficial Sentai Akibaranger)
2014 ばらかもん (Barakamon)
2014 ワールドトリガー (World Trigger)
2014 すべてがFになる (The Perfect Insider)
2015 花燃ゆ (Hana Moyu) Taiga drama
2015 わかば*ガール (Wakaba Girl)
2015 すべてがFになる (Subete ga F ni Naru)
2016 機動警察パトレイバーREBOOT (Mobile Police Patlabor: Reboot) ONA, serve as extra episode of Japan Animator Expo
2016 ジョーカー・ゲーム (Joker Game)
2016 モブサイコ100 (Mob Psycho 100)
2016 SERVAMP -サーヴァンプ- (Servamp)
2016 刀剣乱舞-花丸- (Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru)
2017 ウルトラマンジード- (Ultraman Geed)[4]
2017 仮面ライダービルド- (Kamen Rider Build)[5]
2018 りゅうおうのおしごと!- (The Ryuo's Work is Never Done!)[citation needed]
2018 まんぷく- (Manpuku) Asadora
2019 消滅都市 (Afterlost)
2019 ノー・ガンズ・ライフ (No Guns Life)
2020 ひぐらしのなく頃に業 (Higurashi: When They Cry – Gou)
2021 ぶらどらぶ (Vlad Love)
2021 ひぐらしのなく頃に卒 (Higurashi: When They Cry – Sotsu)


Year Title
1987 地獄の番犬:赤い目がね (The Red Spectacles)
1991 ミカドロイド (Mikadroid: Robokill Beneath Disco Club Layla)
1991 地獄の番犬: ケルベロス (StrayDog: Kerberos Panzer Cops)
1992 ト—キング・ヘッド (Talking Head)
1998 リング (Ring, The Ring)
1999 リング2 (Ring 2, The Ring 2)
2000 サディスティック&マゾヒスティック (Sadistic and Masochistic)
2000 ガラスの脳 (Sleeping Bride)
2000 カオス (Chaos)
2001 アヴァロン (Avalon)
2001 修羅雪姫 (The Princess Blade)
2002 仄暗い水の底から (Dark Water)
2002 Le Samouraï (Samurai, Samuraj)
2002 Bloody Mallory
2004 跋扈妖怪传之牙吉 (Kibakichi: Bakko yokaiden)
2004 跋扈妖怪传之牙吉2 (Kibakichi: Bakko yokaiden 2)
2005 めざめの方舟 (Open Your Mind)
2005 Namgeuk-ilgi (Antarctic Journal)
2005 七劍(Qī Jian, Seven Swords)
2005 輪廻 (Rinne, Reincarnation)
2005 奇谈 (Kidan)
2006 デスノ—ト (Death Note)
2006 야수 (Running Wild)
2006 龍虎門 (Dragon Tiger Gate)
2006 Trapped Ashes
2006 Death Note 2: The Last Name
2006 墨攻(Mo Gōng, A Battle of Wits)
2007 怪谈 (Kaidan)
2008 Ip Man
2009 アサルトガールズ (Assault Girls)
2009 The Hovering Blade
2010 Ip Man 2
2010 The Incite Mill
2010 ウルトラマンゼロ THE MOVIE 超決戦!ベリアル銀河帝国 (Ultraman Zero: The Revenge of Belial)[4]
2011 GANTZ (Gantz)
2011 GANTZ: Perfect Answer (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[6]

Video games[edit]

Year Title Notes
1990 サンサーラ・ナーガ (Sansara Naga) Famicom
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) Famicom
1992 ソーサリアン (Sorcerian) PC Engine
1994 チーム・イノセント (Team Innocent: The Point of No Return) PC-FX
1994 サンサーラ・ナーガ2 (Sansara Naga 2) Super Famicom
1998 ディープフィアー (Deep Fear) Sega Saturn
2003 信長の野望Online (Nobunaga's Ambition Online) (Chapter of Hiryu)
2007 FolksSoul -失われた伝承- (FolksSoul) PlayStation 3
2007–2010 三國志Online (Sangokushi Online) PC


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]