Takeshi Kitano directs, stars in samurai period drama featuring gay relationships


Japanese actor, comedian and director Takeshi Kitano has revealed that “Kubi” (“Neck”), his upcoming samurai period drama, will highlight homosexual relationships between men during 15th- and 16th-century Japan.

What he said: Kitano, 76, broke the news at a press conference Wednesday ahead of “Kubi’s” opening on Nov. 23. The filmmaker said he wanted to show a different side of that period, which was only portrayed with “very cool actors and pretty aspects” in previous mainstream movies.

“What is never shown is relationships between men at that time, including their homosexual relationships. This is a period when especially men were keeping up with their lives for other men within these relationships, including sexual relationships,” said Kitano, who also stars in the movie as feudal lord Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

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About the movie: Set during the Sengoku Period, “Kubi” depicts the events surrounding the Honnō-ji incident, which involved the assassination of Japanese warlord Oda Nobunaga (Ryo Kase). The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May.

Kitano said he wrote the script for the period epic 30 years ago. The project was released as a novel in 2019 before becoming a full-fledged film.

What's next: Aside from “Kubi,” Kitano teased his next movie, which will be "about comedy within violent films.” The project will come in two parts.

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About Kitano: Kitano is best known as stand-up comedian "Beat Takeshi." Born to a working-class family in Tokyo, he dropped out of Meiji University to pursue a career in entertainment. He is known for his roles in the 1982 war drama “Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence,” the Japanese game show “Takeshi’s Castle” and the cult classic movie adaptation “Battle Royale,” to name a few.


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