Photo of Takeshi Kitano Takeshi Kitano

The indefatigable Takeshi Kitano is not only a triple film threat (as a writer, director and actor), he also appears on Japanese TV shows several nights a weeks and is an active journalist, novelist and poet.

Born Jan. 18, 1947, in Tokyo, Kitano got his start in show business as half of the comedy team the Two Beats, which became popular during the 1970s stand-up comedy explosion. His comedic success led to roles in movies, including 1983's Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, in which Kitano memorably played a concentration camp jailer.

In 1989, Kitano added directing to his credits when the helmsman of a picture Kitano was about to star in fell ill. The result -- Violent Cop -- earned him international acclaim. Since then, he has penned, directed, edited or appeared in nearly a film per year, including Boiling Point (1990), Johnny Mnemonic (1995) and Brother (with Omar Epps, 2000).

Takeshi Kitano in Battle Royale

Battle Royale

2000 NR

When even schoolchildren begin to abuse a system on the verge of social collapse, the Japanese government introduces a strict new punishment whereby randomly chosen students are taken to a deserted island and forced to fight each other to the death.

  • Takeshi Kitano in Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence
  • Takeshi Kitano in Violent Cop Violent Cop
  • Takeshi Kitano in Sonatine Sonatine
  • Takeshi Kitano in Johnny Mnemonic Johnny Mnemonic
  • Takeshi Kitano in Kikujiro Kikujiro
  • Takeshi Kitano in Getting Any? Getting Any?
  • Takeshi Kitano in Taboo Taboo
  • Takeshi Kitano in Dolls Dolls
  • Takeshi Kitano in Blood and Bones Blood and Bones
  • Takeshi Kitano in Outrage Outrage
  • Takeshi Kitano in Boiling Point Boiling Point
  • Takeshi Kitano in Kids Return Kids Return
  • Takeshi Kitano in The Blind Swordman: Zatoichi The Blind Swordman: Zatoichi
  • Takeshi Kitano in Arakimentari Arakimentari
  • Takeshi Kitano in Monster X: Attack at the G8 Summit Monster X: Attack at the G8 Summit
  • Takeshi Kitano in Beyond Outrage Beyond Outrage