As a student at Tokyo Metropolitan University, Kenji Takama started working as a camera assistant at Wakamatsu Productions. Later, he began shooting commercials, leading to his first assignment as a director of photography on the film Gassan (1978). He received a scholarship to the Artists' Training Program of the Culture Agency, and moved to Hollywood, and then to New York. While in the United States, he trained under a number of cinematographers: Harry Wolf for A Little House On The Prairie, John Alonzo for Blue Thunder, John Alcott for The Beast Master,Vilmos Zsigmond for Table For Five, Owen Roizman for Tootsie, and Gordon Willis for Broadway Danny Rose. After returning to Japan, he worked primarily with younger directors such as Naoto Yamakawa, Shusuke Kaneko, Shun Nakahara and Fran Kuzui. He received the best photography award twice at the Yokohama Film Festival: for Summer Vacation 1999 (1988) and Misty Kid Of Wind (1988). At the Osaka Film Festival, he won best cinematography honors for A High School Teacher and Hear The Duck's Song (1993). Best photography by children Julie at Poland Film Festival for Naran (1995). He was nominated for best photography at Japanese Academy Award for Welcome Back, Mr. Macdonald (1997). Currently, he is in the middle of prepping for his American debut features in Los Angeles, California, USA.