Japan for the Uninvited

Japanese culture from a bemused foreign perspective

Takeshi Kitano

Known in the West as a maverick indie director, “Beat” Takeshi is best known in his home country for small screen buffoonery.

After dropping out of university, he worked as an MC in a strip club before forming part of a successful TV manzai duo (“The Two Beats”).

He earned his fame by pushing the limits of taste in the name of a laugh: swearing, cross-dressing, offending minorities, and assaulting the editor of ‘Friday’, a popular magazine (for which he was arrested).

He started directing by chance in 1989 – taking the reins when the intended director of ‘Violent Cop’, which starred Kitano, dropped out.

In 1994, he had a serious accident while riding drunk on his moped, which he was extremely lucky to survive. Since then, his film-making has become broader and more thoughtful.

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