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Takeshi Kitano

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Title: Takeshi Kitano  
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Subject: Tokyo Sports Film Award for Best Director, Tokyo Sports Film Award for Best Actor, Tokyo Sports Film Award for Best Film, Boiling Point (1990 film), Kids Return
Collection: 1947 Births, 20Th-Century Japanese Male Actors, 21St-Century Japanese Male Actors, Asian Film Producers, Commandeurs of the Ordre Des Arts Et Des Lettres, Japanese Comedians, Japanese Film Directors, Japanese Film Editors, Japanese Film Producers, Japanese Game Show Hosts, Japanese Male Actors, Japanese Male Film Actors, Japanese Painters, Japanese Poets, Japanese Screenwriters, Japanese Television Personalities, Japanese Television Talk Show Hosts, Living People, Male Actors from Tokyo, Venice Best Director Silver Lion Winners, Yakuza Film Directors
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Takeshi Kitano

Takeshi Kitano
Takeshi Kitano at the Cannes Film Festival in 2000
Native name 北野 武
Born (1947-01-18) 18 January 1947
Adachi, Tokyo
Alma mater Meiji University
Occupation Film director, actor, author, film editor, television personality, film producer, screenwriter
Spouse(s) Mikiko Kitano
Children Atsushi Kitano
Shoko Kitano

Takeshi Kitano (北野 武 Kitano Takeshi, born 18 January 1947) is a Japanese director, comedian, singer (mostly as part of his comic career), actor, show host, film editor, presenter, screenwriter, author, poet, painter, and one-time video game designer who has received critical acclaim, both in his native Japan and abroad, for his idiosyncratic cinematic work. Japanese film critic Nagaharu Yodogawa once dubbed him "the true successor" to the influential filmmaker Akira Kurosawa.[1] With the exception of his works as a film director, he is known almost exclusively by the name Beat Takeshi (ビートたけし Bīto Takeshi) – although he has been credited as the mononym "Takeshi" for his acting role in the movie Johnny Mnemonic.[2] Since April 2005, he has been a professor at the Graduate School of Visual Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts. Kitano owns his own talent agency and production company, Office Kitano, which launched Tokyo Filmex in 2000.

Some of Kitano's earlier films are dramas about Yakuza gangsters or the police. Described by critics as using an acting style that is highly deadpan or a camera style that approaches near-stasis, Kitano often uses long takes where little appears to be happening, or editing that cuts immediately to the aftermath of an event. Many of his films express a bleak or nihilistic philosophy, but they are also filled with humor and affection for their characters. Kitano's films leave paradoxical impressions and can seem controversial. The Japanese public knows him primarily as a TV host and comedian. He hosts a weekly television program called Beat Takeshi's TV Tackle, a kind of panel discussion among entertainers and politicians regarding controversial current events.

In 2010, the Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain in Paris held a one-man show displaying his paintings and installations.[3] A room in the basement played a 12-hour loop of his work as a TV host.


  • Career 1
    • Early career 1.1
    • 1993–2002 1.2
    • 2002–present 1.3
  • Personal life 2
  • Awards 3
  • Agency 4
  • Filmography 5
    • Films 5.1
      • As director 5.1.1
      • As actor 5.1.2
    • Television 5.2
  • Radio 6
  • Books 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


Early career

In the 1970s, he formed a comic duo with his friend Nirō Kaneko (also called Kiyoshi Kaneko). They took on the stage names Beat Takeshi and Beat Kiyoshi; together referring to themselves as Two Beat (sometimes romanized as The Two Beats). This sort of duo comedy, known as manzai in Japan, usually features a great deal of high-speed back-and-forth banter between the two performers. Kiyoshi played the straight man (tsukkomi) against Takeshi's funny man (boke). In 1976, they performed on television for the first time and became a success, propelling their act onto the national stage. The reason for their popularity had much to do with Kitano's material, which was much more risqué than traditional manzai. The targets of his jokes were often the socially vulnerable, including the elderly, the handicapped, the poor, children, women, the ugly and the stupid. Complaints to the broadcaster led to censorship of some of Kitano's jokes and the editing of offensive dialogue. Kitano confirmed in a video interview that he was forbidden to access the NHK studios for five years for having exposed his body during a show when it was totally forbidden.[4]

Although Two Beat was one of the most successful acts of its kind during the late 1970s and 1980s, Kitano decided to go solo and the duo was dissolved. Some autobiographical elements relating to his manzai career can be found in his 1996 film Kids Return. Beat Kiyoshi has a bit part in Kitano's 1999 film Kikujiro, as "Man at the bus stop".

Kitano had also become a popular television host. Takeshi's Castle was a game show hosted by Kitano in the 1980s, featuring slapstick-style physical contests.

Many of Kitano's routines involved him portraying a gangster or other harsh character, and his first major film role, in Nagisa Oshima's Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (where he starred opposite Tom Conti, Ryuichi Sakamoto and David Bowie), featured him cast as a tough (but sympathetic) POW camp sergeant during World War II.[5]

A French poster for the film Takeshis'. Takeshi Kitano's new hair color was adopted a few months before the release of Zatoichi.

After several other roles, mostly comedic, in 1989 he was cast as the lead in Violent Cop, playing a sociopathic detective who responds to every situation with violence. When the original director (Kinji Fukasaku) fell ill, Kitano offered to step in, and rewrote the script heavily. The result was a financial and critical success in Japan, and the beginning of Kitano's career as a filmmaker.

Kitano's second film as director and first film as screenwriter, released in 1990, was Boiling Point.[5]

Kitano's third film, A Scene at the Sea, was released in 1991. It featured no gangsters, but instead a deaf garbage collector who is determined to learn how to surf after discovering a broken surfboard. Kitano's more delicate, romantic side came to the fore here, along with his trademark deadpan approach. The film garnered numerous nominations and awards, including Best Film at the prestigious Blue Ribbon Awards.[6]

Foreign audiences began to take notice of Kitano after the 1993 release of Sonatine. Kitano plays a Tokyo yakuza who is sent by his boss to Okinawa to help end a gang war there. He is tired of gangster life, and when he finds out the whole mission is a ruse, he welcomes what comes with open arms.

In 1988, he published a memoir, Asakusa Kid.[7] He has also published a number of novels and other books which have been translated into French.


The 1995 release of Getting Any? (Minna Yatteruka!), showed Kitano returning to his comedy roots. This Airplane!-like assemblage of comedic scenes, all centering loosely around a Walter Mitty-type character trying to have sex in a car, met with little acclaim in Japan. Much of the film satirizes popular Japanese culture, such as Ultraman or Godzilla and even the Zatoichi character that Kitano himself would go on to play eight years later. That year Kitano also appeared in the film adaptation of William Gibson's 1995 Johnny Mnemonic, although his on-screen time was greatly reduced for the American cut of the film.

In August 1994, Kitano was involved in a motorscooter accident and suffered injuries that caused the paralysis of one side of his body, and required extensive surgery to regain the use of his facial muscles. (The severity of his injuries was apparently due to the fact that he was not wearing a helmet.) As reported by Dan Edwards, Kitano later said that the accident was an "unconscious suicide attempt".[8] Kitano made Kids Return in 1996, soon after his recovery.

After his motorscooter accident, Kitano took up painting. His bright, simplified style is reminiscent of Marc Chagall. His paintings have been published in books, featured in gallery exhibitions, and adorn the covers of many of the soundtrack albums for his films. His paintings were featured prominently in his most critically acclaimed film, 1997's Hana-bi. Although for years already Kitano's largest audience had been the foreign arthouse crowd, Hana-bi cemented his status internationally as one of Japan's foremost modern filmmakers. Among his most significant roles were Nagisa Oshima's 1999 film Taboo, where he played Captain Hijikata Toshizo of the Shinsengumi. Kikujiro, released in 1999, featured Kitano as a ne'er-do-well crook who winds up paired up with a young boy looking for his mother, and goes on a series of misadventures with him.

He hosted Koko ga Hen da yo Nihonjin (English translation, This doesn't make sense, Japanese people!) which was a Japanese TV show that was broadcast weekly from 1998 to 2002, a talk show where a large panel of Japanese-speaking foreigners from around the world debate current issues in Japanese society. Another of his shows is Sekai Marumie TV ("The World Exposed"), a weekly collection of various interesting video clips from around the world, often focusing on the weird aspects of other countries. On this show, he plays a childlike idiot, insulting the guests, and usually appearing wearing strange costumes during the show.

Kitano played Kitano in the 2000 film Battle Royale, a controversial Japanese blockbuster set in a future where a group of teenagers are randomly selected each year to eliminate each other on a deserted island.

The 2000 film Brother, shot in Los Angeles, had Kitano as a deposed and exiled Tokyo yakuza setting up a drug empire in L.A. with the aid of a local gangster played by Omar Epps. The film met with tepid international response. Dolls in 2002 had Kitano directing but not starring in a film with three different stories about undying love.


Following the disappointing response to the film Brother and the film Dolls, Kitano received a sequence of unsympathetic reviews from the press in the United States. Criticism was less severe in Europe and Asia though many commentators were not as lavish with their praise as they had been with previous Kitano films. 2003's Zatōichi, in which Kitano directed and starred, silenced many of these dissenters. With a new take on the character from Shintaro Katsu's long-running film and TV series, Zatōichi was Kitano's biggest box office success in Japan, did quite well in limited release across the world, and won countless awards at home and abroad, including the Silver Lion award at the Venice Film Festival. Keiichi Suzuki (鈴木 慶一) composed the soundtrack for Zatoichi.

Kitano's film, Takeshis' was released in Japan in November 2005, as the first installment in his surrealist autobiographical series. This was followed in 2007, by his second surrealist autobiographical film Glory to the Filmmaker! (appearing as Beat Takeshi), and a third in 2008, titled Achilles and the Tortoise. In between these films, Kitano appeared in a number of other television projects and smaller projects. In 2007 he appeared in Dots and Lines (a TV mini-series) as Jūtarō Torikai. Also in 2007, Kitano appeared in To Each His Own Cinema as the projectionist (in the segment "Rencontre unique") as Beat Takeshi, and in the TV movie Wada Akiko Satsujin Jiken. In 2008, he did the voice-over in The Monster X Strikes Back: Attack the G8 Summit, for the Take Monster (as Beat Takeshi). Kitano has written over fifty books of poetry, film criticism, and several novels, a few of which have also been adapted into movies by other directors. Kitano used to be a regular collaborator with composer Joe Hisaishi, who has created scores for many of his films. However, they have not worked together since making Dolls,[9] following Kitano's successful efforts with composer Keiichi Suzuki from the soundtrack for Zatoichi.

Kitano's 2010 film Outrage, screened at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.[10] His 2012 film Outrage Beyond screened in competition at the 69th Venice International Film Festival.[11] He also appeared in Yasuo Furuhata's 2012 film, Dearest.[12] In September 2012, Takeshi Kitano said that the producers wanted him to make the third Outrage film depending on the box office.[13] Kitano returned to Keiichi Suzuki (鈴木 慶一, born 28 August 1951), the same Japanese composer he had used for the original Outrage film, for the complete sequel soundtrack. This complete soundtrack for Outrage Beyond was their third film collaboration.

As of 30 June 2013, Box Office Mojo reported a total revenue for Outrage of US$8,383,891 in the total worldwide lifetime box office.[14] As of 28 July 2013, these receipts were far outpaced by Outrage Beyond which had foreign receipts outside Japan at $16,211,978, and $16,995,152 dollars inside Japan, totaling over $32 million. This puts the total revenue from the Outrage franchise at over forty million dollars as of 28 July 2013 according to Box Office Mojo. On 7 March 2013 Minkei News of Hong Kong reported that Kitano won the Best Director award for Outrage Beyond at the 7th Asian Film Awards in Hong Kong.

On 10 August 2013, in an interview reported by John Bleasdale, Kitano revealed his current plans for a sequel to Outrage Beyond and an untitled personal film project.[15] As Kitano stated, "Ideally what would happen would be this: Outrage Beyond becomes a huge hit, so huge that my producer allows me to make one film I really want to do and then come back to the sequel after I've made the film I really want to do."

Personal life

Kitano was born on 18 January 1947, in Tokyo. His father worked as a house painter.[5]


In 2008, at the 30th Moscow International Film Festival, Kitano was given the Lifetime Achievement Award.[16] In March 2010 Kitano was named a Commander of the Order of the Arts and Letters of France.[17]


Office Kitano (株式会社オフィス北野 Kabushiki-Gaisha Ofisu Kitano) is a Japanese talent management and film production company founded and managed by Takeshi Kitano. It launched the Tokyo Filmex in 2000.



As director

As actor


  • The Manzai (1980–1982)
  • Oretachi Hyōkin-zoku (1981–1989)
  • Waratte Pon! (1983)
  • Super Jockey (1983–1999)
  • Sports Taisho (1985–1990)
  • Owarai Ultra Quiz (1989–1996, 2007)
  • Genki TV (1985–1996)
  • Takeshi's Castle (1986–1989)
  • TV Tackle (1989–present)
  • Heisei Board of Education (1991–1997)
  • Daredemo Picasso (1997–present)
  • Kiseki Taiken! Anbiribabō (1997–present)
  • Koko ga Hen da yo Nihonjin (1998–2002)
  • Fuji Television midnight broadcasting series (1991–present)
Kitano Fan Club
Kitano Fuji
Adachi-ku no Takeshi, Sekai no Kitano
Saitoh Singu-ten
Kitano Talent Meikan
Takeshi Kitano presents Comăneci University Mathematics[18]
  • Aka Medaka (2015)



  • Gerow, Aaron (2007). Kitano Takeshi. British Film Institute.  
  • Abe, Casio (2005). Beat Takeshi vs. Takeshi Kitano. Kaya Press.  
  • Kitano, Takeshi (1988). Asakusa Kid. Japan: Shincho-Sha. 
  • Kitano, Takeshi (1998). Asakusa Kid. Paris: Motifs.  
  • Kitano, Takeshi (2003). Rencontres du Septième Art. Arléa.  
  • Kitano, Takeshi (2005). Naissance d'un Gourou. Editions Denoël.  
  • Kitano, Takeshi (2008). La Vie en gris et rose. Philippe Picquier.  
  • Kitano, Takeshi (2012). Boy. Wombat.  


  1. ^ Kirkup, James (23 November 1998). "Obituaries: Nagaharu Yodogawa". The Independent. Retrieved 19 July 2009. 
  2. ^ "Johnny Mnemonic (1995)". Retrieved 6 January 2015. 
  3. ^ Williams, Eliza (17 March 2010). "Creative Review – Beat Takeshi Kitano at Fondation Cartier".  
  4. ^ Getting Any? DVD published by Cheyenne Films EDV1040, France, 2003
  5. ^ a b c (Russian)
  6. ^ "A Scene at the Sea (1991) – Awards". Retrieved 5 February 2012. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ Kitano quoted in Dan Edwards, Asian Pop Cinema, op. cit., p. 82 or see also Senses of CinemaArticle in
  9. ^ "Dolls"Trivia on . IMDb. 
  10. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (17 May 2010). "Cannes film festival: Countdown to Zero, The Housemaid, A Screaming Man and Outrage". The Guardian. 
  11. ^ Chang, Justin (2 September 2012). "Outrage Beyond – Variety". Variety. 
  12. ^ Sheib, Ronnie (17 September 2012). "Dearest – Variety". Variety. 
  13. ^ Macnab, Geoffrey (5 September 2012). "Takeshi Kitano considers making a third Outrage movie". Screen Daily. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  14. ^ "Japan Box Office July 3–4, 2010".  
  15. ^ Bleasdale, John (2013). "Yakuza Games," Cinespect, 10 August 2013.
  16. ^ "30th Moscow International Film Festival (2008)". MIFF. Retrieved 2013-06-02. 
  17. ^ "Kitano awarded French arts honor".  
  18. ^ "35th International Emmy Awards nominees". 

External links

  • Takeshi Kitano at the Internet Movie Database
  • Takeshi Kitano at the Japanese Movie Database (Japanese)
  • Office Kitano – Kitano's Production Company (Japanese)
  • Davis, Bob (2003). "Takeshi Kitano". Senses of Cinema. Retrieved 29 May 2009. 
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