Takeshi Kitano’s anti-gay comments stir backlash

Gay rights campaigners in Japan hit out Thursday at Takeshi ‘Beat’ Kitano after the award-winning actor-director compared same-sex marriage with bestiality.

Kitano, whose yakuza gangster films are popular around the world, enraged activists with his comments on a popular current affairs show as guests were being asked for their opinions on Barack Obama’s stance on gay marriage.

“Obama supports gay marriage. You would support a marriage to an animal eventually, then,” Kitano said after being shown footage of people celebrating the US president’s comments.

Read the rest of the story: Japan storm over ‘Beat’ Takeshi anti-gay comments.

The most influential person in Japan, Takeshi Kitano

The most influential person in Japan is filmmaker Takeshi Kitano, well-known abroad for his bleak gangster films and at home for his deadpan television personality, according to an Internet survey released by Sankei news Thursday. Mr. Kitano’s crowning is representative of the rest of the top 100 ranking where entertainers overshadowed the country’s political and business leaders.

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan played second fiddle to the movie director, maker of Zatoichi and Fireworks, or “Hana-bi” in Japanese, who also answers to nickname “Beat Takeshi”.

Read the rest of the story: Takeshi Kitano, Hatoyama and Honda Voted Among Japan’s 100 Most Influential People.

Takeshi Kitano to receive Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters

On Tuesday, director Takeshi Kitano (63) was in Paris to receive the Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters, France’s highest honor for arts and culture. The award was presented to him by Frédéric Mitterrand, the country’s Minister of Culture and Communication, at the Fondation Cartier art museum.

Kitano is active as an actor, comedian, television personality, and many other things, but he is perhaps best known internationally as a filmmaker. He debuted in 1989 with “Violent Cop” (“Sono Otoko, Kyobo ni Tsuki”) and went on to direct other critically acclaimed films such as “HANA-BI” in 1997 and “Zatoichi” in 2003.