TAKESHI KITANO | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 02, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, July 02, 2016

TAKESHI KITANO

Takeshi Kitano was born on 18 January, 1947 in Adachi, Tokyo. He was brought up with two older brothers and an older sister. His father Kikujiro was a house painter, originally a lacquer who changed multiple jobs and had to support his family by taking any job that came his way.  His mother was an educator who used to work in a factory, devoting her life to the education of children. She worked tirelessly to save money for buying books for her own children. Kitano got enrolled in the Meiji University where he studied engineering, prior to his drop out at age 19. Rather than pursuing an academic career Kitano began spending time in Shinjuku, an Asbury Height equivalent in Tokyo. He enjoyed listening to jazz music and discuss French art and literature. He enjoyed comedy, singing and dancing which he learned from famous comedian Senzaburo Fukami. While working as a lift boy on a night club, he first saw an opportunity when a comedian fell ill and he got to perform on stage in that man's place. 

He is also famous as a comedian and TV host in Japan. In the 1970s, he started performing comedy with his friend Niro Kaneko with stage names Beat Takeshi and Beat Kiyoshi respectively. They called themselves Two Beat, the sort of comedy known as manzai in Japan. His jokes were often targeted towards the vulnerable, including the elderly, the handicapped, the poor, women, the ugly and the stupid. The broadcaster received complaints, which led to the censorship of some of Kitano's jokes and some of the offensive dialogues had to be edited. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Two Beat was one of the most successful acts of its kind, however, Kitano still decided to go solo and the duo was dissolved.  Kitano also got on board with acting soon after that.

He made his debut as a director with “Violent Cop” and “Sonatine” helped him achieve international fame. “Violent Cop” turned out to be a turning point in Kitano's life. Many of Kitano's films revolve around the Yakuza organized crime syndicate or the police force. Much of his films are based on nihilistic philosophy, but with the inclusion of warmth and humor for the characters. Kitano is known to use acting styles that are highly deadpan, using long takes where little seem to be happening. His idiosyncratic cinematic work has received critical acclaim, winning multiple awards. His second film as director was “Boiling Point”, which received good response from the critics. Right after finishing “Getting Any?” Kitano got involved in a deadly motorbike accident that nearly took his life. This changed his life, inspiring him to become an active painter. This change is noticeable in his subsequent films where he emphasized on the aesthetics of the films such as “Kukujiro” and “Fireworks.”

After an amazingly fruitful and diverse career of 25 years, Kitano stands as one of the most popular personalities in Japan. He has also participated in TV programs weekly, as well as TV films and specials each year. He was also involved in writing collection of short stories, novels, poetry and essays. Multi-talented Kitano was also an accomplished cartoonist and painter and his artworks are seen in Hana-Bi and Kikijiro. 

NOTABLE WORKS:

1989: Violent Cop

1990: Boiling Point

1991: A Scene at the Sea

1993: Sonatine

1995: Getting Any?

1997: Hana-Bi

2000: Brother

2002: Dolls

2005: Takeshis

2010: Outrage


 

AWARDS:

1997: Golden Lion for Best Film at the Venice International Film Festival

2008: Moscow International Film for Lifetime Achievement Award

2010: Commander of The Order of the Arts and Letters of France

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