One of the most respected stage actors in Japan is none other than Genki Okawa. Mainly known as a stage actor, Okawa took a definitive plunge to the seiyuu business in 2013, ever since has been showing even more sides to his talented self.
|BORN||August 26, 1987|
|OCCUPATION||actor (stage/musical), singer, seiyuu, MC|
Born Genki Oshikawa in Gamagouri, Aichi Prefecture, Japan, on 26 August 1987, Genki is the second of three children (he has an older and a younger sister). He is currently one of the most active and respected stage actors in Japan. Reinventing himself time and time again, this is our time to tell the story about the methodical actor, versatile performer, capable singer, stage play director and entertaining MC, Genki Okawa.
Okawa signed with Amuletto (talent agency) in 2012 after leaving Blue Shuttle in 2010 (during those two years he was a freelancer).
His career as seiyuu is relatively short. Yu-gi-Oh ZEXAL II provided him with his seiyuu debut in 2012, his role as Misael was secondary but still had enough screentime to make him stand out, receiving praise by some of the franchise’s fans.
Oddly enough, after such a good job voicing Misael, Okawa went off grid only to change his focus back to acting. It wasn’t until 2016 that he would embrace almost completely his job as a seiyuu.
With his voice acting skills completely revamped, Okawa returned to the seiyuu business in 2016 with not one but a total of 8 roles, ranging from main cast, supporting or random background characters, but the important thing for his fans was that he’d returned to the business and was showing an even better self with each new work.
He voiced secondary characters in Kuromukuro, Servamp, Sabapara, Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku, TO BE HERO and Scared Rider Xechs.
Now what’s really made Okawa standout in 2016 were these two distinct roles: Qi in Nanbaka and Tatsuhiro Nome in B-Project Kodou Ambitious.
Okawa‘s performance as Qi caught everyone by surprise.
For Qi‘s laidback nature, Okawa completely revamped his acting. It’s was clear that his skillset as a seiyuu had upgraded. He got rid of some of his quirks, sounding completely different from any role he had done before. It was the first time fans could experience his perfectionism affecting his acting skills. In one year, the improvement he showed on his seiyuu skills was outerworldly. His performance was clearly of a higher level, easily on par witht the main cast’s quality. Even though Qi is always a “my pace” kind of character, Okawa‘s performance made him stand out in the middle of cast, sometimes even presenting better acting than most of the main cast.
Still in the same year we find a role that has managed to capture the fans’ hearts. B-Project, smartphone rhythm game, was adapted to anime in 2016. The hype was real regarding the top tier cast, some of the characters and, of course, the music from all units. Caught in the middle of the hype was Okawa. He voices Tatsuhiro Nome, MooNs‘ member. Much alike Okawa, Nome is quiet, calm and collected and doesn’t like to be bothered by others. It seemed like a perfect fit even when the cast for the game was announced back in 2015.
Okawa brought to the table a smooth performance – even though his character doesn’t get much focus during the 12 episode season. If it wasn’t enough his solid and entertaining acting, when it was time to sing – either with MooNs or as B-Project -, Okawa always gave top tier performances, making good use of his improving vocals.
2017 arrived and with it came another anime with (some) musical touches. As everyone might know, Okawa is part of Lagrange Point, Rejet‘s most consistent and powerful unit. Although Lagrange Point were initially part of Marginal #4‘s music and drama CD series, everything seemed to expand starting in 2015 when a game was announced and later in 2016, when an anime adaptation was greenlit.
Okawa reprised his role as Kira Himuro in the anime adaptation “MARGINAL#4 KISSから創造るBig Bang“. Out of Lagrange Point, Himuro is the most loved character mostly due to his dual charms: tough, stoic looks with an actual soft spot for his juniors. The anime might have landed in the flop zone but that doesn’t take away the quality behind Okawa‘s enthusiastic performance. Also in the same anime he voiced a secondary character (Kyo Rando).
This year, but not with the same importance as the characters above, Okawa also voiced characters in Time Bokan 24, Love Kome: We Love Rice and Shingeki no Bahamut: Virgin Soul. A second season of B-Project was greenlit recently so it’s safe to say that he’ll return to reprise his sole as Tatsuhiro Nome in 2018.
Now that Okawa is serious about being a seiyuu it’s possible that many more roles might be added to his repertoire in upcoming years. But for now we know something: as soon as he returned to the seiyuu business he came with a different and polished skillset, serious about working in this area.
Over the past 7 years, Okawa has managed to delve a bit in these areas. Although he only has one narration credit on his résumé. But if talk about radio shows, he has several credits as well as a radio show he’s been hosting for 10 years.
Perhaps one of his most iconic radio shows is the internet radio show “Genki Okawa on the radio“, show that started to be aired in 2007 and is still active until today with over 500 episodes recorded.
Since 2016, Okawa has been one of the hosts of Pythagoras Channel, special nico nico live show related to the Marginal #4 franchise. Most recently (2017), he started hosting alongside Kenjiro Tsuda the animate times internet radio show “Tsuda Kenjiro & Okawa Genki Joshi kin Radio!“.
Over the years he’s been a guest to several radio shows including B-Project Recommend Ambitious (hosted and guested some episodes in 2016 – 2017), Kusari Kake (2011), Sugao no Shounen (2010) and Omama Club (2008 and 2012).
Okawa has been active voicing for games since 2009. Although there are few credits under his belt, lately he’s been more active in the area. RPG’s, otome, shounen, mecha, super heroes, he’s lent his voice to not only one game genre but a variety of those.
He’s got credits on DEKARON, Little Anchor – DEAD OR LIVE (2009), reprised his role as Misael for Yu Gi-Oh! Zexal Clash! Duel Carnival! (2013), voiced four characters for the RPG game Thousand Memories (2014), Star Grand Prix! (2013), MARGINAL＃4 IDOL OF SUPERNOVA (2014), Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book (2015), A lot of Stories (2016), Quiz RPG: The World of Mystic Wiz (2016), 100 Sleeping Princes & the Kingdom of Dreams (2016), voices two characters on Genshou Shoujo (2017), Super Bomberman R (2017), reprised his role as Kira Himura in Marginal #4 Road to Galaxy (2017) and Star Revo (2017).
As an actor, Okawa has been part of mostly shoujo driven dramas and movies. There’s nothing much to point out in this specific part of his acting career since: most of his roles are secondary; the movies/series mostly failed to impress due to either bad directing or bad acting (not specifically from Okawa).
He debuted on the silver screen with the Cafe Daikanyama movie series: Cafe Daikanyama: Sweet Boys (2008), Cafe Daikanyama II(2008) and Cafe Daikanyama III: Sorezore no Ashita (2009).
In 2009 he grabbed his first lead actor role for The Bridegroom is 18 Years Old (花婿は18歳). After that he was part of Beatrock Love (2009), Panikku 4 rooms Gekijo ban (2009), Game ☆ Action (2009), Game ☆ Action Side Story 1 (2009) and Gekijo ban kenka bancho: Zenkoku seiha (2010). Although none of these movies were a hit, they were important to shape Okawa‘s acting.
From August 2013 to March 2015, Okawa was part of Bit World, japanese TV show that aired on NHK Eテレ.
Other TV credits include his participations in Style Collection Vol.3 travel date (September 16, 2010, Asahi TV), Copernicus egg NEO (February 2008, Sun TV), Myth Warrior Gigasei (April 2012, Kansai TV) and H. I. S. Presents Teri Itou no Sekai no Tabisetsu (June 2011, TOKYO MX).
Now this is his field of choice. Okawa has an extensive line of credits when it comes to stage acting – be it musical, reading or just a regular theatre play. In that way he already shows his versatile acting skills that match well with any genre and kind of acting. He has currently, over 40 roles under his belt.
Since he was a kid, Okawa wanted to be a special effects actor/stuntman. With that in mind, he started to take classes/train for that but was met with a disappointing conclusion: his body was too weak/fragile to be a special effects actor/stuntman. His confidence took a blow to the point that he was depressed about it. His dream was impossible to achieve and if he wanted to dive into acting, he didn’t even know how to act. Okawa mentioned in an interview that it were his school mates that came with an idea that saved him from depression and made it possible to have today’s actor Okawa in front of us. “Go audition at Gekidan Himawari! There you’ll learn how to act!“
That was his turning point.
He decided to audition at Gekidan Himawari and ultimately passed the audition. At that time, the theatre troupe already had young rising stars under their wing: Ryohei Kimura, Mamoru Miyano, Miyu Irino, Kouki Uchiyama and Kensho Ono.
Okawa took acting classes for years before debuting in 2005 – as a young 18 year old – in the musical SWITCH!, adaptation from a seinen manga of the same name.
But the role that really put him on the spotlight was Kirihara Akaya in the musical Prince of Tennis “Absolute King Rikkai feat. Rokkaku ~First Service~ (2006). Okawa was, for 4 years, on stage for this role (in a total 8 different musicals inspired by the manga/anime). The Prince of Tennis musicals (not this play specifically) wrote a lot of history mainly because almost every single stage actor featured on it turned into a respected actor or star. The cases of Toshiki Masuda, Mamoru Miyano, Kazuki Kato and Toshiyuki Someya (that made his debut with a role in one of the PoT musicals), now highly regarded in the musical/stage acting scene, illustrate well just how much this franchise impacted their careers.
Okawa‘s performance in Prince of Tennis is still highly regarded by musical specialists and fans alike. After impressing everyone with his role as Kirihara Akaya, doors couldn’t stop opening in front of him. Stage plays, musicals, reading theatre, starting from that role, he was more active than ever before.
Under his belt are credits on WILD ADAPTER (seinen manga that was later adapted to musical in 2008), Hanasakeru Seishonen〜The Budding Beauty〜 as Prince Rumaty back in 2010, Teiichi no Kuni as Okuto Morizono in 2014, Galactic Railroad Night as Giovanni Campanella in 2008 and 2012, YOSHITSUNE as Minamoto no Yoshitsune in 2008, Betrayal knows my name as Yuki Giou (2011 -2012), Genji Monogatari (2011 – 2012), King of the Blue as Suzaku in 2010, Madoushi Wa Heibon o Nozomu in 2015 (with Toshiyuki Toyonaga), My Darling in 2013, 4STRIKE (2012), Revelation Garden as Gaius in 2014, Genba Sakeko Ichinen as Kanpei Imai in 2013, Super Musical: Saint Seiya (2011) and many more. Okawa kept transforming himself for each role, delivering believable and perfected performances.
From early 2014 to mid 2015, Genki was part of the cast of PERSONA3 the Weird Masquerade, playing the role of Junpei. Alongside him were Yuki Fujiwara (stage actor/seiyuu from the same talent agency) and seiyuu/singer/stage actor, Shouta Aoi. The musical was extremely popular at that time and even was released on DVD. All three parts of the play were well received by fans as well as the press.
On November 2014, he wrote scripts and directed performances as well as he was responsible for the choreography of the sword fight and the design of goods for the stage “Bakafuki!“. Okawa was showing everyone that he’s not only an actor, he’s someone with an eye for all other background tasks related to stage plays. The play returned in 2016 under the name “Retsu! Bakafuki!“, the original cast returned to reprise their roles.
— 大河元気 (@genki_okawa) 17 de abril de 2016
The cast included seiyuu/stage actors Toshiyuki Toyonaga, Yuki Fujiwara, Yuto Suzuki and more.
His constant transformations and impressive displays of his talented self have led to people anticipate his performances. Okawa is wildly respected in the stage acting business.
Most people doesn’t know it but Genki Okawa made a solo debut back in 2009 with the single “KITE” and soon after released his first mini-album “Rise“, all under Pony Canyon.
Unfortunately, both tanked before they could even take off and it was not necessarily because of lack of skill on his side. The songs were generic and he wasn’t even promoted decently by Pony Canyon. His debut went under the radar thanks to that.
In hindsight, his performances were, compared with today’s, incredibly weak, but good by 2009’s standards. At that time you could say that he didn’t have anything that would enable him to breathrough in the music business. After both releases, fans of his experienced a deafning silence, facing a total halt to his music activities. It was certain that his solo career had gone down the drain and Okawa wasn’t going to delve into it any sooner.
It wasn’t until 2014 that Okawa would challenge singing again (not in the form of a musical, of course). Daisuke Iwasaki, Rejet‘s CEO, set his eyes on him and considered Okawa for his next big project after his flagship 2.5D unit, Marginal #4, experienced a massive wave of popularity in 2013. Iwasaki wanted to create the perfect unit, one with unparalleled skills, insane stage presence, powerful performances and able to tackle anything that was thrown at them musically. A unit worthy of being called rival to the back then powerful rookies, Marginal #4. Part of Pythagoras Production, Rejet‘s music label exclusive to Marginal #4‘s related music, Lagrange Point made their debut in 2014.
Okawa knew he was facing a power vocalist when he joined the group, Toyonaga‘s singing skills are well known in the business, even more at that time when he was an indie pop-rock artist. It was a big challenge for Okawa to do well on this unit but also a great opportunity for him to mix singing, dancing and voice acting, areas that he had been interested for quite some time.
It was a sort of return to the music business for him. Genki was now able, if the unit was well succeeded, to show his full potential as a singer and performer, making good use of all the experience earned in each and every musical he’s been a part of since his debut. He wasn’t a stellar singer in 2014 but at the time we’re writing this (2017) he’s literally a beast on stage. Genki has an unique voice tone, easily distinguishable from Toshiyuki Toyonaga‘s, making the unit’s overall sound not only refined, but also incredibly enjoyable and melodic.
It didn’t take long for Lagrange Point to make a mark for themselves and without noticing, Okawa‘s character, Kira Himuro was an instant fan favorite. Lagrange Point were a breath of fresh air when they debuted. In the middle of the music and seiyuu businesses that are overcrowded with pop acts, this duo showcased flawless vocals, exciting performances, a classy rock sound with some sprinkles of pop in the lyrics and conquered everyone with their explosive charisma.
Lagrange Point were the perfect package that Rejet had carefully wrapped up for their fans. Release after release, this unit never failed to impressed with their unique sound and top tier vocal performances. In hindsight, Okawa grew a lot from working up close with Toyonaga. Besides their right off the bat chemistry, that was due to none other than several stage plays in which both had been casted in since Okawa‘s debut, it was noticeable that both were learning from each other while working as a unit. Toyonaga was polishing his dance skills from Okawa that lists dancing as one of his areas of expertise; Okawa was learning from Toyonaga how to have more control over his vocals. They were sharing knowledge between themselves and, as a result, this unit shows constant improvement in all areas.
Today, Lagrange Point are one of the most powerful and exciting units in the seiyuu business. They have perfect teamwork and chemistry, their choreographies are eye catching and their singing skills are trully impressive. They are Rejet‘s crown jewel. Exactly the unit that the company needed to drive more fans into the Marginal #4 franchise as well as the unit we needed to see/hear in the middle of the overly bubbly/plastic pop oriented music business.
Rejet/Pythagoras Production announced their first shuffle units back in 2016. Wonder Corona! were the first unit to debut back in April, 2016. The lineup was one of the strongest yet one of the oddest in the middle of the shuffle series. Alongside Okawa were Toshiki Masuda (Marginal #4) and Shouta Aoi (Unicorn Jr.). This group had everything to be a good one but no one really knew if their contrasting tones would work together. Okawa was still improving his vocals, Masuda had completely changed his singing style – much due to his musical theatre experience -, Aoi was an intimidating, complete performer, but interesting enough, every single one of them were known for being versatile multitaskers in their own respective groups.
The group showed consistency, “Viva La Chu” was a strong release, one of the best from the first wave of releases from the shuffle series, “Samajera“, although a bit odd at times, was one of the best releases, this time from the second wave. This unit needed Okawa‘s vocals.
He brought to the table everything he got and changed his singing style in a way that would suit this group and more comfortably his tone. He was barely recognizable in “Samajera“, he got rid of his singing quirks, surprised us with a melodic, sweet tone and was hitting a lower scale without sounding forced. His vocals had improved to the point that he was sounding like a powerhouse in comparison with his unit mates.
Wonder Corona! was the perfect place to showcase his improved vocals and the ability to adapt to a new environment. Those improvements were later important for Lagrange Point to say goodbye to the slump they had gotten themselves into as well as his work with B-Project.
B-Project and MooNs
Okawa then joined B-Project in 2015 to be part of MooNs, unit consisting of Tetsuya Kakihara, Yuto Uemura, Showtaro Morikubo and Toshiki Masuda.
As part of MooNs, Okawa has already showed that he has what it takes to go head-to-head with top singers in the seiyuu business and still shine. His praised for his powerful and energetic performances on stage and his stage presence makes it impossible not to follow him during MooNs‘ performances. He put to good use everything and more into this unit after started to grab the attention of Japanese fans with his Lagrange Point performances. As a result, his dancing skills and charisma are off the charts while on stage.
As part of MooNs, he has done a little bit of everything but he’s mostly the one in charge of blending all tones into one. The group has released several singles so far as well as were featured on B-Project‘s album “S Kyuu Paradise“.
Rejet brought him back with yet another unit. Part of Star Revo, handheld game produced by Rejet and scheduled to go live still in 2017, Okawa was announced as part of Glorious. The game was announced back in 2016 but the unit is going to debut this year.
Glorious consists of Genki Okawa, Tsubasa Sasa and Kenta Zaima, they are the only band featured in the vast lineup. 俺色の星空(スカイ) [My starry sky] was unveiled in September 2017 and left some jaws dropped. The band’s sound is fresh, youthful and edgy.
Aside from his shy and quiet personality – at least on a first look -, Okawa breaks from his shell during variety shows or events in which he’s either the guest or MC. Whenever he’s MCing a show, fans can’t help but to notice how comfortable and natural he is while doing it. If he’s a guest he tends to be quiet for the most part but there’s always a time or a person that makes his fun and witty personality come to light.
For seiyuu events, he tends to be on the quieter side. Big casts usually make him more reserved. With smaller casts he tends to take the initiative and is active. On Rejet Fes for example, he’s the father trying to take care of the always over-the-top fun Toshiki Masuda and his kouhai, Yuto Suzuki. On B-Project‘s events he’s always the one that talks but only if prompted to do it.
The unusual senpai – kouhai duo that looks more like a father and son duo
If there’s something Okawa‘s fans have noticed is that he’s extremely close to Yuto Suzuki, fellow seiyuu from the same talent agency. Genkichi, nickname given to him by Suzuki, has been pretty close to him since 2014 (that the fans know of).
He’s often either embarrassed or surprised with any and everything Suzuki does. Basically, although they are close friends, it always seems like Okawa is Suzuki‘s father, trying to keep him quiet, stop him from doing anything crazy and twists his nose at his odd quirks but not without praising him when there’s something that impresses him. To notice that he and Suzuki are only two years apart.
Okawa does dote on Suzuki despite playfully mentioning that he is crazy or too odd for him to deal with. Both are more than often working together. Suzuki has taken the plunge to stage acting, being casted in the same plays as his senpai and Okawa is now in more games and anime than ever before – most of those are the same in which his kouhai is casted. The two of them are often put together to MC shows as well. He complains asking why he’s been paired with Suzuki but in his good tsundere fashion, he still smiles whenever he’s paired up with him.
Quiet and perfectionist Virgo
Okawa takes to heart everything that means being a Virgo. He runs over his lines time and time again and practices routines/choreographies – fighting or dancing – for any series/play he’s casted more times than one would usually do. He doesn’t stop at half measures, he perfects his craft time and time again.
At the same time, Okawa might seem distant and cold as he’s often quiet when in unfamiliar settings. It’s not that he’s shy or anything. He doesn’t change much when he’s on a familiar setting, unless the people part of the event/that setting are close to him. He smiles but is quiet and observant for the most part. He’s the type that observes before he speaks. Pick any event footage there is with him, he’ll most likely stand quiet and pay attention to everything before he decides to intervene.
Bromance with Toshiyuki Toyonaga
On Rejet’s 2017 Endless Summer event, Okawa was barely tameable during the special “Marginal #4 and Dance with Devils” corner. And all that was due to what? Fellow Lagrange Point member, Toshiyuki Toyonaga was one of the hosts, as well as his junior, Yuto Suzuki and guest Subaru Kimura. People would think that the Suzuki–Okawa mix was going to be hilarious but what surprised everyone was the fact that Okawa and Toyonaga were always showing support and love for each other throughout the show. Messing around or not, the two of them have grown closer after several years performing and acting together (since 2005). The fact that both are perfectionists led them to quickly grow incredibly close to each other during the very first rehearsals for Rejet Fes. 2014 (as Toyonaga recalled during the event), the year in which the unit not only made their official debut, but also the year in which they set their feet on stage as a duo and rocked everyone out. It seems that any difficulties one might have had during that practice were quickly fixed by the other’s skills. They balance themselves perfectly and show the best chemistry among Pythagoras Production‘s units.
Full fledged otaku
Okawa has never hidden his love for Gundam’s figures or figures in general, cosplaying, manga and anime. His favorite mangaka is Kenichi Muraeda, known for his Kamen Rider manga. Genki mentioned countless times in interviews his love for the Kamen Rider series and the fact that he has so many plastic figures/models that he even put some right next to the entrance of his house. Whenever he’s on vacation, he tends to assemble the latest Gundam models.
Throughout our article we could notice just how talented Okawa really is. He’s an actor/stage actor, seiyuu, stage play producer, choreographs battle scenes, MC’s shows, hosts radio shows but there’s more to it. He lists some of his special skills that include: dancing, illustration, modeling, kendo, badminton, short distance running, and Japanese language.
With this we complete another seiyuu digest. Thanks for reading!