Kanichi Shimofusa was born in Sunahara, Haramichi-mura, Saitama (now Ōtone, Saitama). He studied composition with Kiyoshi Nobutoki at Tokyo Music School (now Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, also called Geidai), where he graduated first on the list in 1920. Later, he studied with Paul Hindemith at Berlin University of the Arts in Germany, making him the forerunner of Brahms-Hindemith-descended German style at Tokyo Music School. His notable students at Tokyo Music School include Ikuma Dan, Makoto Sato, Yasushi Akutagawa and Taminosuke Matsumoto; his private students include Kunio Suda.
Kanichi Shimofusa composed numerous nursery rhymes and government-approved music for music textbooks. He also composed a number of school songs for elementary, junior high, and high schools. The total number of his composition went over 1,000. His music style was unostentatious and steady.
He became an associate professor at Tokyo Music School in 1934. He became a member of the textbook editorial committee of the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture in 1940. He became a professor at Tokyo Music School in 1942 and the dean of the Department of Music at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music in 1956.