Takeshi Kitano has always had an identity problem. In his native Japan he is known primarily as Beat Takeshi, a TV host and comedian who is the face of shows such as Takeshi's Castle. Internationally he received notoriety and fame as Takeshi Kitano, directing and starring in Yakuza gangster pictures such as Sonatine and Violent Cop. For many years, the 63-year-old seemed happy with this dual life, flitting between big screen and small screen. Yet this duality would eventually create a bizarre tension in his career, where Japanese audiences would only accept him as a funnyman and international audiences wanted to see him produce ever more elaborate action sequences.