A Stalker's Guide to Takeshi Kaneshiro
Honestly, I'm not sure from where to start. I have so much to say and write about this 41 years old actor because he is simply Takeshi Kaneshiro- yes, the man who was born and raised in Taiwan, has Japanese citizenship, lives In Japan, who speaks Mandarin, Taiwanese, Cantonese, Japanese and English fluently; the man who embraces multiple cultures, who is a singer, actor and model at the same time and who hasn't had any scandals in his life, he is no doubt a true man and example to all the others in the same industry.
First time I saw this wonderful creature was when I was 13 years old and on TV they played a movie called Too Tired To Die and his co-star was actress Mira Sorvino. The movie wasn't my cup and didn't like it at all (although there were some great scenes with Takeshi) but I vividly remember that I told my sister back than that I found my biggest love number three. (first was Keanu Reeves and second Jim Morrison). When I look back those first three spots haven't change at all. :P
And since that day my obsession has begun. So I'll try to make you start wondering about this man and wanting to see more of him (of course all of you who love him you already understand me, jut support me in this ;) ).
What I respect about Takeshi is that although he never took acting lessons, he succeed to become one of the most famous actors in the world without some background, famous cousins or high degree in school, he succeed based on his talent and hard work. I respect him because he is an ordinary person who wants all the same things that we -- normal, non-famous people -- want, and he's not ashamed to tell that. In free time he loves to read a lot, plays sport, he's interested in diving and philosophy and he enjoys hanging out with his friends and family, plus he is always so kind and modest.
Interesting fact is that in 2001 he accepted invitation from Japanese TV channel to record an 11-day dive adventure programme in the South Pole. And he said that it's been his dream to visit the Antarctic at least once in his lifetime. I love this side of him and I enjoyed so much in watching his adventure. It's a pretty interesting video of 140 minutes length and I really love it when he speaks Japanese, he is so sweet. ♥
People who know him -- all of his co stars, directors he collaborated with, and his friends -- all say that Takeshi is a person who doesn't like crowd and being in the spotlight; that he's shy, intelligent, and a guy who really tries to keep his private life unknown to the public. Which is totally praiseworthy.
For me he is the best and most beautiful Asian actor ever existed and he'll stay forever as my number one. And he will be forever the man with most beautiful smile and so capturing eyes that the moment you see him he steals your heart away and then it's over. You can never go back and you stay under his spell forever.
Now I'm going to introduce you to Takeshi's movies and dramas which made him to be the kind of actor he's today.
Takeshi's first role was in the Chinese movie Executioners in 1993 (which by some wonder I still haven't seen) and only a year after that he started in Wong Kar-Wai's critically acclaimed Chung King Express, then his journey to the top began. Wong Kar-Wai even talked about Takeshi's talent and spoke highly of his depth and versatility.
He is more a movie actor, which works totally fine for me, but he has a few dramas, mostly from Japan.
So from this moment start preparing your plan-to-watch lists for more adding. ;)
I put this movie as a first one since it is one of my all time favourite movies ever and most dearest one from Asia. I watched it in the cinema when it appeared in 2004 and was speechless. Forget about the plot, the characters, the intrigue (which are all splendid in the movie) and just focus on the visuals. There are interiors of elaborate richness, costumes of bizarre beauty, landscapes of mountain ranges and meadows, fields of snow, banks of autumn leaves, and a bamboo grove that functions like a kinetic art installation. When you have in one movie such brilliant compound of amazing director Zhang Yimou and three versatile actors such as Lau Andy, Zhang Ziyi and Kaneshiro Takeshi, it's hard not to think how this is a must watch movie. It is a historical martial arts set in in 859 AD during Tang Dynasty. A movie about forbidden love between two people on the opposite sides, about rebel group called 'House of flying daggers' who steals from the rich and gives to the poor and who fights against government, about mysterious new leader unable to be caught by the two police captains. The three of them had a sizzling chemistry and this movie has a love story that is for me, one of the strongest love stories I've seen. Ziyi and Takeshi were simply perfect. Plus you get to see Takeshi in his one of the best performances and in the most beautiful one.
Coming from one of the most famous Asian directors John Woo, this is an epic historical movie and it tells the story of event called 'Battle of Red Cliffs' which occurred at the end of the Han Dynasty before the beginning of the Three Kingdoms period. Takeshi plays the role of a perfectly intelligent strategist Zhuge Liang, who together with charismatic leadership of Gen, played by brilliant genius Leung Tony, is helping in the battle against evil General Cao Cao. The whole movie doesn't stop being interesting not for a second. You get to see so many talented and amazing people entangled in one project and in the end you get to see one magnificent movie. Takeshi and Tony have such a fantastic chemistry and they make this movie to be so great. Also in addition you also have Zhao Vicki whose character is so smart, funny and brave, I really liked her. Actually the whole cast was really good and the script has to be one of the best written I've seen so far. In this role Takeshi shined, this role of his is my favourite. So charismatic, clever and a true adviser, every scene with him was priceless. Plus his eyes, the way he looks, it's like everything else is in the background. Every fan of his (old or new) definitely has to see this movie as a priority.
In this quirky and pretty unusual movie Kaneshiro plays an attractive, humorously innocent Grim Reaper who appears to his victims in human form and spends some time with them before he decide either to ‘execute’ or ‘pass over’ them. His role was very original as a Grim Reaper who is always in company of a dog and goes from one music shop to another listening to ‘humanity’s greatest invention’: music he was rather delightful to watch. The way he smiled and stood so firmly in that black suit was such a splendid sight for the eyes. His cute puppy-dog demeanour made him a perfect casting for Chiba. He puts his charm to good use as a suave gentleman and throughout the movie he learns many true lessons about Life. Takeshi's acting was without a flaw, as always. Also the motive of rain is pretty much the main theme in the movie with every character metaphorically awaiting the end of the rain and the coming of the sunny day in their lives. Never has rain been used to such great effect, it really added much meaning to the whole concept..
Personally this is my favourite Asian romance movie beside '2046' and 'In the mood for love'. And if you still haven't fall in love with Takeshi you will after watching this movie, there's no doubt in that, trust me. I don't know about the others but this movie has won me over and engraved itself into my heart for a lifetime. I can't explain why, maybe cause of their astonishing and perfect chemistry, maybe cause of such heartbreaking story, maybe cause of the fantastic cast and wonderful Leung Gigi or maybe cause I was in that moment in the perfect mood, whatever the reason was I fell deeply in love with this movie. The way story was written I loved it, I loved the concept and the idea and how we get to see whole their lives, from their youth and innocent falling in love through many years of mature and real love to their old ages. Both Takeshi and Gigi were too beautiful, I think their pairing is too hard to bear, too much perfection in one romance movie. Their chemistry was so realistic and natural, love scenes were so passionate and wonderful, and this has to be my dearest Takeshi's role as a man in love and who loves from the bottom of his heart for a whole lifetime. Well, this movie certainly broke my heart. Maybe because of his acting ability. I could feel his pain, loneliness, happiness, love, all the emotions by his facial expression alone. Each time I watched, I ached for him. And I think Tempting Heart gets better and better each time I watch it. I think it is one of Takeshi's most heartbreaking films, and he does a fabulous job of conveying all those feelings.
One thing is sure- no one makes movies like Wong Kar-Wai. It's a dazzling, unique technique he has and to describe the plot of this movies is to miss the point. "Fallen Angels" takes the materials of the plot--the characters and what they do--and assembles them like a photo montage. At the end, we have impressions, not conclusions. In this movie , everyone's in love with the wrong people and painfully aware of it, and so they all moon endlessly, smoking cigarettes, gazing into space, and listening to their own inner jukebox of sad songs. Meanwhile, in voice-over, they tell their stories- but whether it's to us, or to themselves, is one of the movie's many secrets. Does it matter what these people do? Well not much. It is the texture of their lives that Wong is interested in, not the outcome. Takeshi's performance gives movie its heart as he plays a mute who makes his living breaking into business after hours and running them himself. He starts out buffoonish, playing hilariously against type, but deepens into the movie's most fascinating character, and the one we end up feeling for. He has a mesmerizing, charismatic physicality that dominates his scenes and I was really enjoying while watching him, one moment I was laughing and the other one I couldn't know what to think, to feel sorry or feel happy. A strange and weird movie exactly in the style of my favourite director. And although Fallen Angels maybe isn't his best work , for me it's full of truly miraculous moments to call it a wonderful movie.
Leung Tony, Lin Brigitte and Takeshi Kaneshiro in one of the first Wong Kar-Wai's movies and also the first collaboration between Wong and Takeshi. This movie was Takeshi's big breakthrough to the Hong Kong's movie industry and thanks to this movie he became one of the most famous actors in Asia. He and Wong had a great chemistry and Wong recognized and saw a talent in him so he continue his work with Takeshi and took him as a main role for the 'Fallen Angels'. I remember that I've read how Quentin Tarantino was fascinated by this movie and became one of his favourites.
Wong was telling two stories, somewhat similar, that have no obvious connection. Both of these stories, about disconnections, loneliness and being alone in the vast city, both of them are love stories and I loved this philosophical, comical tale of jilted cops and their journeys. Memorably energetic cinematography was breathtaking and stole the whole movie. Takeshi was side by side with Tony wonderful in this movie. Those two actors really know how to capture your heart and stay in there forever. His sensitive portrayal of a goofy loveable policeman with a quirky habit of buying tinned pineapples with the expiration date of May 1. was worth the praise and that role of a Cop 223 will stay as one of the most memorable roles in Wong's movies.
I don't know how but I passed by this movie and didn't watch it until 2010 and I though why and how I missed this? Plus with Lau Andy and Li Jet in main roles along side with Takeshi and director Peter Chan. Honestly, this movie got me for real, I've been always weak for the friendship between males and blood brothers in the time of wars, especially if it's based on true historical events. Three of them as blood brothers and heroes in this heroic tale were great. They really broke my heart several times. Whether cause of their actions, their lack of humanity or their bonding and later breaking that bond, it doesn't matter. I found this movie to be a good one, but although Takeshi is my favourite actor, he didn't shine in this one. I found his character a little bit weak, weaker than Li's and Lau's. I guess you can't be in the main spotlight all the time. Nonetheless I quite enjoyed in this brutal and tragic movie.
Once again Leung Gigi and Kaneshiro Takeshi start together as a main couple John and Eve in this refreshing, romantic movie. This is a fairy tale about love and fate with very little room for actual reality, a story about two people who fall in love at first sight, but fate always keeps them apart. They live in the same city, the same street, and even the same building, but they never really get to know each other properly because one always walks to the left, and another to the right...John and Eve don't really exist as characters, but instead as idealized romantics who have no lives other than their noble, artistic professions (violinist and romantic poet), and debilitating need for their missing soulmate. Takeshi remains as a gentleman as usual and he is really wonderful, beautiful and so sweet in this movie as idealistic, romantic violinist I totally fell for his character. Although this movie has flaws, plot holes and it is too unrealistic I loved it and two of them are a fantastic couple, they indeed have such a great connection and look like a real life couple.
In the beginning of this article I said how he is multi talented guy who is a true artist- singer, actor, model. Well in this movie his singing talent is in the main spot, his voice has won me from the second I've heard it long time ago but in 'Perhaps Love' music is so capturing, heavenly and gorgeous and his voice is so well matched up with that music, I literally felt like I'm in heaven. With beautiful Zhou Xun he had such a wonderful communication and tie, they were simply made for these roles. He as the heart sick lover and she with remarkable ability portraying a difficult character - her change from loving girlfriend to attention-hungry performer is handled convincingly and with frequently touching emotion. Most musicals about love try to sell the emotion as grand feeling that defines life. Perhaps Love does not sell love as the ultimate empowerment, but instead portrays it realistically as the complex, alluring, tortuous, and sometimes crippling emotion that it is. Also this movie is worth watching only for the visual effect if nothing else, cinematography is done in such amazing way, only seeing all those camera movements, colours and costumes were enough for me to be interested. It's certainly flawed and even a little frustrating, but the images and emotions presented are sometimes more than enough. Plus Takeshi who was just outstanding. <3
With this critically acclaimed drama Takeshi was able to make a breakthrough in Japanese film industry and step into the country of his father becoming one of the famous names in Japanese show business world. This is also his first drama where he played a main role and love interest of a sweet, young, troubled girl who was portrayed by beautiful Fukada Kyoko. Since this is one of my all time favourite dramas my words might be too subjective but he was perfect in the role of a cold and emotionless, due to his dark past, famous composer Keigo and his acting of the character, especially the changes in his personality, held most of the series together. I appreciate his acting and although I’ve seen much of it in the past, being able to see him develop a character for 12 episodes really shines a light as to how expressive Takeshi is, simply by using his eyes. Plus he delivers one of the best lines at the start of the drama. Kyoko was pretty good in this drama, I know that she's not some great talented actress and she can be too annoying and overreacted with same facial expressions but somehow I like he., I guess since this is my first drama with her and I think she delivered a good performance, her character wasn't exactly the kind of woman I respect and like, but Kyoko was good. She portrayed the the naive, happy Masaki and the transformation she made to find purpose and happiness in her life after finding that she is HIV positive (despite all the tears) very well. Both of them have fairly good chemistry, and are a likeable couple, with many good kissing scenes throughout they seemed natural and really in love with each other.
The whole drama is sad, bittersweet, depressing but somehow I didn't find it to be dark and too tragic, it was logical to things go that way, I even liked the ending. It has a lot of cliches like awful second female lead and some unnecessary things which happened, but the cast is good, the music is awesome, and the emotional yet beautiful story outweigh the flaws. It’s one I’ll be able to watch over and over again and every time fall in love with Keigo, that is for sure.
I wrote about 9 movies and 1 drama and I think this article is already too long but that is the thing with him, he has too much good movies for watching. I'll mention a few more of his works which I think should be seen:
-Wu Xia (2011), a movie where he played a cool detective obsessed with science who's tracking down a man with mysterious past. It's quite interesting movie with good delivering from the cast.
-Confession of Pain (2006), in this dark movie he is side by side with Tony Leung and both of them play a role of a detective on a assignment. I find the plot predictable and this wasn't amongst his best movies but still it is always a pleasure to watch him and Tony together.
-Lost and Found (1996), from this movie I didn't expect too much and ended liking it a lot. Takeshi was so sweet and he shined as the quirky Mr. Lost and Found. Whole movie is filled with some melancholic romance and so touching, it delivers hope and faith.
-Sleepless Town (1998), Takeshi as a some kind of gangster who is an outsider: he explains this outsider "bastard" origins: half Japanese, half Chinese. He got involved with femme fatale and their journey in the world of gangsters and underworld begins. This is just a standard crime thriller. It accomplishes nothing more than entertainment, but good entertainment and I like the ending very much.
-Golden Bowl (2002), one more drama form Japan, a very funny and entertaining one. I am a fan of bowling so this drama was a must see for me and I really enjoyed it. It has quirky humor, amazing characters, fantastic and phenomenal chemistry between the leads and Takeshi is more than sweet and caring, this drama is so engaging and interesting to the end.
-Nisennen no Koi (2000), and from this one I expected so much, it had great plot and idea, exactly for my taste, the most beautiful and talented main cast, Takeshi and gorgeous Nakayama Miho who had super connection and chemistry, and I ended up being disappointed gravely. There were many plot holes, unexplained things, and I was angry at the end of it. Anyway I would watch it either way cause of him. ;)
I've read somewhere that when he was asked how he would like to be remembered at the end of his career he replied : "Just forget me... No reason. When it ends, it ends." - what a brutally realistic person.
Who on the Earth could possibly forget you, Takeshi? Not me, for sure. ;) ♥
As I'm impatiently waiting for his newest movie The Crossing, for now I have only this trailer to watch:
It looks great, right? Although it didn't hit the box office like it supposed to, still I don't care, the cast is fantastic and well, Takeshi is there.
This would be all from me and mister Kaneshiro Takeshi my dear friends, I sincerely hope that this article will help and that you'll pay more attention to this man cause he deserves it for sure. I'm still wondering how up until now there wasn't Stalker's Guide for him? And I'm glad because I had the honor to write about this wonderful creature.
Bye bye and enjoy in this perfection. ♥
If there is an actor or an actress that is worthy of a Stalker's Guide in your opinion, and you have watched enough dramas of his/hers to prove it, please contact Elisabetta about it.