The name ‘Beat Takeshi’ needs no introduction in Japan. He was acclaimed as a comedian and had many talents, from acting to painting. As a film director under his real name Takeshi Kitano, he became known in Japan as ‘The World’s Kitano,’ cementing his status as a truly one-of-a-kind genius. Netflix is set to release a film based on Kitano’s memoir Asakusa Kid, the story of his early days as an apprentice of the famed comedian Senzaburo Fukami.
The film is set in the mid-1960s Asakusa, a somewhat seedy part of Tokyo. After dropping out of college, Kitano takes a job at the Asakusa France-za strip theater and comedy club, and soon gained experience under the legendary comedian Senzaburo Fukami. Fukami demanded that his apprentices adopt a comedian’s mindset not only on stage but also in everyday life, and was the comedy master behind other famous comedians such as Hachiro Azuma and Kinichi Hagimoto. Kitano worked hard under Fukami to polish his craft and achieve his dream of becoming a successful comedian. However, as home TVs became ever more popular, live comedy gradually fell out of favor. Against this backdrop, the drama Asakusa Kid unfolds as the young Kitano trains under his stern yet tender mentor, meets a cast of highly talented and colorful characters, and finally takes the stage under the moniker ‘Beat Takeshi.’