Kanji Sasahara is the first main protagonist from the Genshiken anime and manga.
The third president of Genshiken. At first in denial about his otaku nature, Sasahara eventually accepts and embraces it. He loves hentai PC games despite not owning a computer until volume 3. When Sasahara assumes the title of Genshiken president from Madarame, his first decision is to push the club's initiative, and establish their own booth at Comic-Fest. While Sasahara is pretty much the "normal" otaku, his unwavering loyalty to a single character makes him stand out from the others. Even the dōjinshi created by Genshiken under his leadership is a Ritsuko-themed one. Sasahara gives up being president during his senior year in order to focus on studying and finding a job, and passes the title on to Ohno.
Kanji is in a relationship with the current Genshiken club president, Chika Ogiue.
In the AWA fics, Kanji made his debut at Chapter 16 of All Worlds Alliance Stories.
Kanji is rather plain in appearance, dressing in casual clothes. He has a relaxed and friendly smile on his face for the most part.
At the beginning of the series, Kanji is a shy, confidence-lacking freshman who on club day at university, decides to join a club he would actually enjoy. Kanji is just coming to terms with his otaku nature and much of the beginning of the series focuses on introducing him to the otaku lifestyle. He is the most balanced member of Genshiken, with no real focus on any particular aspect.
He is generally calm and level headed. However, he can be openly frustrated with other people when they show lack of motivation to complete a task, such as with Mitsunori Kugayama when he was days behind in creating artwork for the club's doujinshi. In the anime, there is a particular episode where Manabu Kuchiki's antics made him uncharacteristically burst out in anger.
- Kanji has a younger sister named Keiko.