Takeshi Kitano might not be a household name in North America, but with his Japanese legacy, he probably should be. Kitano's career spanned many decades and spread across different genres, styles, and mediums. He was part of a popular comedy duo in the 1970s and 1980s. He hosted a popular game show. He starred in, wrote, and directed numerous movies, ranging from hard-boiled and violent yakuza-focused ones to light-hearted surrealist comedies. Kitano lived through trials and tribulations, including a turbulent relationship (or lack thereof) with his father and a life-altering motorcycle accident in the mid-1990s, just when he reached international acclaim as a filmmaker. Kitano, or Beat Takeshi as he was known in his acting roles, had a lengthy resume, with some of the most acclaimed Japanese films ever made to his name. He was often seen as the successor to Akira Kurosawa, and sometimes even referred to as the Japanese Woody Allen. Whatever he was exactly, he was a rare breed.