|Born||in Tokyo, Japan|
|Height||5' 5" (1.65 m)|
Mini Bio (2)
Takeshi Kitano originally studied to become an engineer, but was thrown out of school for rebellious behavior. He learned comedy, singing and dancing from famed comedian Senzaburô Fukami. Working as a lift boy on a nightclub with such features as comic sketches and striptease dancing, Kitano saw his chance when a comedian suddenly fell ill, and he went on stage in the man's place. With a friend he formed the comic duo "The Two Beat" (his artist's name, "Beat Takeshi", comes from this period), which became very popular on Japanese television.
Kitano soon embarked on an acting career, and when the director of Violent Cop (1989) (aka "Violent Cop") fell ill, he took over that function as well. Immediately after that film was finished he set out to make a second gangster movie, Boiling Point (1990). Just after finishing Getting Any? (1994), Kitano was involved in a serious motorcycle accident that almost killed him. It changed his way of life, and he became an active painter. This change can be seen in his later films, which are characterized by his giving more importance to the aesthetics of the film, such as in Fireworks (1997) and Kikujiro (1999).
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Takeshi Kitano was born in Tokyo in 1947 and entered show business in 1972 as "Beat" Takeshi, the stage name he continues to use today as a performer. As part of the comic duo Two Beats, Kitano was one of the leading figures in the manzai (stand-up comedy) boom in the late 1970s. With his distinctive art of speech and his idiosyncratic perspective, Kitano became one of the most popular entertainers in the country during the 1980s.
Since his 1989 directorial debut, Kitano has written, directed, edited or starred in almost a film per year without losing the momentum of his originality and heightened artistic sensibility. The extraordinary success of 1997's Fireworks (1997) confirmed Kitano's place as a leading figure of international cinema. Among its numerous awards, "Hana-bi" won Venice Film Festival's Golden Lion and was named Best Non-European Film by the European Film Academy. "Hana-bi" was cited on numerous "Best Films of the Year" lists, often in the #1 position.
In 2000 Kitano made Brother (2000), his first film shot outside of Japan. "Brother", like other Kitano-directed films such as his debut _Sono otoko, kyôbô ni tsuki (1990)_ (US title: "Violent Cop"), Boiling Point (1990) (US title: "Boiling Point") and Sonatine (1993), centered around yakuza (gangster) characters. The filmmaker contrasted the violence and action of those films with comedy or tenderness in films like A Scene at the Sea (1991) (US title: "A Scene at the Sea"), Getting Any? (1994) (US title: "Getting Any?"), Kids Return (1996) (US title: "Kids Return") and Kikujiro (1999). For the first time in six years, Kitano remained strictly behind the camera on Dolls (2002), his tenth film as a writer-director.
As an actor Kitano has also appeared in films that he has not directed himself. He won international attention for his role in Nagisa Ôshima's Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (1983). He collaborated again with Oshima in 1999's samurai epic Taboo (1999) (US title: "Taboo"). He appeared in Kinji Fukasaku's controversial box-office smash Battle Royale (2000) (US title: "Battle Royale"). His credits in films directed by non-Japanese filmmakers include include Robert Longo's Johnny Mnemonic (1995) and Jean-Pierre Limosin's Tokyo Eyes (1998).
After an incredibly prolific and diverse 25-year career, Kitano continues to be one of the foremost personalities in Japan. He participates in five TV programs weekly, as well as several TV films and specials per year. He has written a number of novels and collections of short stories, essays and poetry. Also an accomplished cartoonist and painter, Kitano's artwork can be seen in "Hana-bi" and "Kikujiro".
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