Kenji Kawai (川井憲次, Kawai Kenji), born April 23, 1957 in Shinagawa, Tokyo is a Japanese composer of music for motion pictures, anime movies, videogames and televised programs. He has contributed to the musical scores of the Mamoru Oshii (押井守) movies 攻殻機動隊 (Ghost in the Shell, 1995), イノセンス (Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, 2004), ケルベロス 地獄の番犬 (Stray Dog: Kerberos Panzer Cops, 2001), 紅い眼鏡 (The Red Spectacles, 1987) or Avalon (2001), as well as Hideo Nakata's (中田秀夫) films リング (Ringu, 1998), リング 2 (Ringu 2, 1999), 仄暗い水の底から (Dark Water, 2002), 怪談 (Kaidan, 2007), and 機動戦士ガンダム00 (Mobile Suit Gundam 00, 2008). Most recently he served as sound programmer on the videogame Silent Hill 3 and composer of the score for popular two-part movie Death Note.
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 Yuji 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 film Death Note.
Following his success as an anime movies music composer, he became involved in live action movies. He contributed music to horror movies: Ringu, Ringu 2, Dark Water, polish-japanese science-fiction movie Avalon and Chinese movie 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 2007's "Kaidan" by director Hideo Nakata.
Kenji Kawai's music has received the Annie award and Hong Kong Film Award In 2005, for Ghost in The Shell 2: Innocence he was nominated for an Annie award. For the music found in Chat gim and Muk gong he was nominated in 2006 and 2007 for the Hong Kong Film Award.
His official website is: http://www.kenjikawai.com/
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