A picture named takeshi.jpgThere's a great new gameshow come to satellite, Takeshi's Castle. It's an insane mix of It's a Knockout, a similar UK gameshow from the 70's, and Endurance. Crazy Japanese contestants do dangerous stunts in an attempt to storm Takeshi's Castle. The Takeshi of the title is none other than Takeshi Kitano, or 'Beat' Takeshi as he's also known. Interestingly, Takeshi is also the writer/director/star of some of Japan's finest yet most violent cop films. I can thoroughly recommend Violent Cop, Sonatine and the brilliant Hana-Bi. So how come one of Japan's most powerful actors is also host of a zany gameshow where contestants dress up on oversize foam costumes and slide down greasy slipways? Well, Kitano-san was also an immensely popular stand-up comedian before venturing into film. He was one half of the Two Beats, Beat Takeshi and Beat Kiyoshi. Mixing such diverse artistic talents is just one of the many incongruities of Japanese culture. At least that's the way it seems to this gaijin.