“I want to make music that echoes deep within people.”

Kenji Kawai (川井 憲次 Kawai Kenji, born April 23, 1957) 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. (Source: Wiki)

This video was mentioned to me by Michael Kelly, a composer for VA-11 HALL-A game, among other works. I enjoy his music very much and created a small list of my favorite tracks. The music is very uplifting and helped me go through some tough times. The game itself is also interesting and relaxing – I encourage you to try it!

Kawai’s story is very inspirational. He kept failing at everything he did initially, but he still made it somehow. Even if you don’t have a formal education, you can still be successful, you can still reach your dreams if you keep working hard, as many people have demonstrated.

His variety is quite impressive, yet these different works possess a special touch that make them all enjoyable.

One of the most impressive combinations of visual scenery and music can be seen in the original Ghost in the Shell.

Kenji Kawai mentions that originally he thought about Bulgarian songs. This is an example of what he had in mind. Thanks to a Reddit user thefirm1990 for pointing that out.

Kenji Kawai managed to create a distinctive character for the chorus, perhaps, in part borrowing from the ancient Japanese tradition of goze (瞽女) singing.

Indeed, the idea came to him after listening to Minyo.

How I Work is a rubric at Lifehacker. It is an interesting window to the minds of some of the most productive and successful people. Consider reading some of the interviews if you are looking for further inspiration! 🙂

4 thoughts on “Kenji Kawai on Composing

  1. I love.. love love… Kawai as a composer… and his music is phenomenal.. I have moments when i am just… kicking back and listening.. to his music on repeat.. and that makes it a beautiful listen.

  2. For me Kenji Kawai is the absolute God of anime and movie music. He is an amazing composer with music that produces serious goosebumps every time I hear it. Great post! 😊

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