Ken Kawashima

Music Editor, Culture and Profile Writer


After serving as a Tokyo radio DJ in the '90s, Ken rebooted his career in 2000 as a writer and journalist. Starting as the Music Editor for The Asahi Evening News, he has since contributed stories on Japanese culture and music for TIME Magazine, The International Herald Tribune, The Japan Times and other publications. He currently resides in Tokyo, working as a freelance writer, narrator and translator. Website:

Supreme Ape Leader

Keigo Oyamada remembers well his first encounter with rock 'n' roll. He was in the fifth grade and an older cousin played him some Love Gun-era Kiss. "I liked them right off," says Oyamada, 33. "They all looked like manga monsters to me."
On the Circuit

It is ironic that the musician who has capitalized most on the predominantly Caucasian subculture of cool kids tripping out on Thai and Indian beaches would himself be Asian, but that's precisely what has happened.

TIME Magazine
The Beat Goes On

Interviewing Tokyo techno pioneer Ken Ishii, who broke out globally long before he hit back home in Japan. Ishii opens up about the cultural differences in the Japanese music scene and abroad.

The International Herald Tribune/Asahi Shimbun
Seiji Ozawa Simply Phenomenal

Ken Kawashima interviews the legendary conductor during his tenure as the principal conductor of the Vienna State Opera.

The Asahi Evening News
'Opened-Up' Otaku Opens Up

Interview with Hideaki Anno, creator of the now iconic "Evangelion" series, talking about his upbringings and the hit-potential of Japanese anime overseas.

Skyward (Japan Airlines In-flight magazine)
Zico on the Ball

Ken Kawashima interviews soccer legend Arthur Antunes Coimbra, better known as Zico, for Skyward, Japan Airline's in-flight magazine. Zico, then the manager of Japan's National Soccer squad reveals the many hurdles he faced in taking the young team to the World Cup.

The Japan Times
Painting over old Edo | The Japan Times

Yamaguchi gives new life to old works As a child, Akira Yamaguchi spent countless hours hunched over his desk, doodling the many space-age rocket ships and humanoids he encountered in his bedroom anime collection. The young artist, however, also remembers feeling a sense of guilt whenever he attempted to mimic more traditional Japanese art forms by past masters like Hokusai.

The Japan Times
Who prefers concrete and cars to Tokyo's natural gem? | The Japan Times

The legal fight goes on to save sacred Mount Takao With its oddly ear-shaped black-and-white striped body, the hammer-size mimigata tennannsho, a grass that grows in the depths of Mount Takao's forests, has long been an object of fascination and loathing to hikers in the western Tokyo quasi-national park, where it's not just its grotesque shape that repels, but the fact that it is semipoisonous as well.

The Japan Times
Torn apart by disaster, bound by jazz

A reportage on the 2013 charity efforts in Japan and New Orleans to provide tsunami-stricken musician-children in the Tohoku area with musical instruments. The article later helped spawn an American Consulate exchange program between the young Tohoku and New Orleans students.


Mutoma Japan/Bubblegods

Hosted the seminal '90s music video show Mutoma Japan (later Bubblegods) broke many industry standards with its indie and avant-garde approach and guests such as Radiohead, Henry Rollins and The Beastie Boys.

"NACK-5 The Hit Operation"

Was hired by the FM station to repeat the success of his former Bay FM request and interview program with "NACK-5 The Hit Operation."