Gen Shimaoka was born in Kamakura, Japan, in 1959. He studied English literature at the Kwansei Gakuin University in Nishinomiya, Japan, and music and double bass performance at the Southern Methodist University in the USA as well as the Juilliard School in New York. In 1990 he moved to France and studied with François Rabbath (double bass), Peter K. Elkus (vocal performance) and Masaki Iwana (butoh dance). In 1998 he began performing in the circus. He collaborated with Angela Laurier in Mon Grand Frère and with the Compagnie Les Colporteurs in Diabolus in Musica. As an actor, he has appeared in numerous films: these include Le Pays du Chien Qui Chante, 2002 (director: Yann Dedet), Stupeur et Tremblement, 2003 (director: Alain Corneau), Inju, 2008 (director: Barbet Schroeder – invited to the 65th International Film Festival in Venice) as well as La Vie Lointaine and Yoshido, 2009 (director: Sébastien Betbeder). As a double bassist, he performs regularly with the Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa in Japan. His first cooperation with Irina Brook was Peter Pan at the Théâtre de Paris in 2011.