Takeshi Kaneshiro

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Takeshi Kaneshiro
金城 武
Takeshi Kaneshiro at BIFF Square, 2011 (cropped).jpg
Kaneshiro in 2011
Born (1973-10-11) October 11, 1973 (age 48)
Taipei, Taiwan
OccupationActor, singer
Years active1989 - present
Chinese name
Musical career
Also known asAniki
GenresMandopop, Cantopop
Instrument(s)Vocals, guitar
Member of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Assumed office
June 25, 2018

Takeshi Kaneshiro (金城 武, Kaneshiro Takeshi, born October 11, 1973, in Taipei, Taiwan) is a Japanese-Taiwanese actor and singer.[1] Beginning his career as a teen pop idol, he has since moved his focus towards the film industry, where he achieved both commercial success and critical acclaim. He has worked with some of the most renowned directors in East Asia, namely, Wong Kar Wai (Chungking Express and Fallen Angels), Peter Chan (Perhaps Love and Wuxia), Zhang Yimou (House of Flying Daggers) and John Woo (Red Cliff and The Crossing I and II). Kaneshiro is also well known in the gaming industry for being the model and voice for the samurai character, Samanosuke Akechi, in Capcom’s Onimusha video game series.

Early life[edit]

Kaneshiro’s mother is from Taiwan and his father is from Okinawa, Japan.[3] He was born and raised in Taipei, but holds Japanese citizenship.[1][2][4]

The son of a Japanese businessman and a Taiwanese homemaker,[5] Kaneshiro has two elder half-brothers: one who is seven years his senior, and another who is just one year older.[6] After graduating from Taipei Japanese Junior High School, he enrolled at an English-medium international school, Taipei American School, where he learned English. During his time at secondary school, Kaneshiro began working in television commercials, and he decided to leave school to pursue a full-time career in music and acting. Kaneshiro is multilingual, fluent in Mandarin, Hokkien, Japanese, and to lesser degrees in Cantonese and English. Mandarin was the first language he spoke while growing up in Taiwan.[7]


Kaneshiro () is a common Okinawan surname,[8] albeit with an unusual pronunciation, as the usual reading is Kinjō, while the traditional Okinawan pronunciation is Kanagusuku or Kanegusuku. His given name is Takeshi (). He appears as Kaneshiro Takeshi (金城 武) in Japanese media.

Since personal names are commonly written in Chinese characters in both Chinese and Japanese naming conventions, following the Eastern name order, and in this particular case the name, in its written form, appears native in both Japanese and Chinese, giving Kaneshiro the freedom to associate himself as a Japanese or Chinese when working in China by preserving or removing the space between his surname and given name.


1992 to 1999: Early years and career breakthrough[edit]

In 1992, Kaneshiro made his singing debut, entering the business with the nickname "Aniki", meaning 'older brother' in Japanese. His debut album was Heartbreaking Night (1992). Contracted to EMI, he wrote many of his own Mandarin and Cantonese songs. The following year, his popularity propelled him into acting. He no longer produces any commercial music, although a few noted film roles, such as those in Perhaps Love (如果。爱) (2005) and See You Tomorrow (摆渡人)(2016) have involved his characters singing.

Kaneshiro made his film debut in Executioners (1993) and this was followed by Wong Kar-wai's Chungking Express (1994), Fallen Angels (1995) and a string of other Hong Kong films, such as Lost and Found (1996), and Anna Magdalena (1998). It was through his collaboration with the auteur director Wong Kar Wai in Chungking Express that Kaneshiro first developed what would become his onscreen signature, namely quirky, character-driven performances that often played against type and ran counter to his idol image. Later, Kaneshiro starred in the Japanese Drama God, Please Give Me More Time (1998), allowing him to branch into Japanese films such as Returner (2002), as well as K-20: Legend of the Mask (2009) and Accuracy of Death (also titled “Sweet Rain”), (2010).

2000 to 2010: Mainstream success[edit]

Kaneshiro (center) in 2007 promoting The Warlords, alongside director Peter Chan and co-star Andy Lau

Kaneshiro’s work, however, is more heavily concentrated in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. In 2005, he sang his way through Perhaps Love, the first modern musical to be produced in China.[9] It was the first of many collaborations with Hong Kong-based director Peter Chan. In 2008 and 2009 he starred in Red Cliff, a high budget film by Hong Kong director John Woo. He has also played the romantic lead in Zhang Yimou's House of Flying Daggers, and starred alongside Jet Li and Andy Lau in The Warlords. He expressed excitement when he received the news that he would have an opportunity to work with Director Zhang Yimou.[10]

Kaneshiro has also become well known in the video game industry portraying the samurai warrior Samanosuke in Capcom's Onimusha. In a June 2007 article on the film site Ain't It Cool News, it was revealed that Kaneshiro was going to be in the Onimusha film, reprising his role as Samanosuke and for a 2011 release, but that project was derailed.[11][12][13] The producer Samuel Hadida had to delay the filming of Onimusha, which has resulted in the film's Japanese cast working on other film projects during the delay, and being unavailable to start filming. These factors were enough that French director Christophe Gans will now direct an adaptation of Leo Perutz's novel The Swedish Cavalier first, taking over the reins from Gilles Mimouni. Satomi Ishihara and Tsuyoshi Ihara remain attached to the project.

In 2003, Kaneshiro was featured in Time magazine and was dubbed the Johnny Depp of the East Asian film industry.[5] Moreover, Kaneshiro was interviewed by Australian journalist Hugh Riminton for CNN in the network’s TalkAsia segment in 2006.[14]

Outside of the entertainment business, Kaneshiro has acted as a spokesperson and model for Emporio Armani (2008) as well as, Lifecard credit card company, VAIO personal computer, Honda, Lipice lips moisturizer, SonyEricsson, Pocari Sweat soft drink, Morinaga chocolate, Volvic, GEOS (eikaiwa) (language school), Petronas oil company, Japan Asia Airways, Hyundai Motor Company, Toyota MarkX ZiO, Mitsubishi Galant, NTT docomo the predominant mobile phone operator in Japan, NTT Yellow Pages, Lycos, UCC Ueshima Coffee Co., Kadokawa Shoten a well-known Japanese publisher based in Tokyo, Rice Burger, Roasted barley tea, One2Free (HK), and Kiwi cold drink,[citation needed] and Biotherm Homme since 2005.[15]

2011 to present: Selective films[edit]

In 2011, Kaneshiro appeared in the historical martial arts thriller Dragon, directed by Peter Chan. The film premiered at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival in the Midnight Screenings category.[16]

In 2017, Kaneshiro was the winner of the Best Leading Actor award at the second annual Golden Screen Awards. He won for his starring role in the romantic comedy This Is Not What I Expected (喜欢你), which was directed by Derek Hui and produced by Peter Chan.[17]

Kaneshiro became a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2018.[18][19] In that same year he also completed filming on Juno Mak's Sons of the Neon Night, with an all-star cast that includes Tony Leung Ka Fai, Louis Koo, and Sean Lau.[20] It was reported in 2020 that the release of this film would be postponed to 2021. The reasons given involved production issues, including budgeting and tensions between the director and cast. Kaneshiro will act as the spokesperson for the new Paradise 2M mobile multiplayer game launched in March, 2021.

Personal life[edit]

Kaneshiro is a practicing Buddhist, having converted in 1997, and has said his mother is also a devout Buddhist. Throughout his career, Kaneshiro has been given titles such as "heartthrob," "dream guy," but he has maintained a steady sense of humility.[21] Kaneshiro is also known for trying to avoid the media spotlight. He has been quoted as saying "If one day I get married and have kids, I will probably be one of those men who really care for the family. I will eat at home every day, and help with the house work and take care of the children."[22]



Year English title Original title Role Notes
1993 Heroic Trio 2: Executioners 現代豪俠傳 Chong Hon
1994 Mermaid Got Married 人魚傳說 Kenji
The Wrath of Silence 沉默的姑娘 Dr. Patrick Ko
Chungking Express 重慶森林 Ho Chi-wu, Cop 223
No, Sir! 報告班長3 Chin Tieh-sheng
1995 Don't Give a Damn 冇面俾 / 摩登笑探 Tang Chuen-shek
Young Policemen in Love 新紮師兄追女仔 / 逃學戰警 Chin Ying-chun
Fallen Angels 墮落天使 He Zhiwu
China Dragon 中國龍 Tom Hao
School Days 學校霸王 / 校園敢死隊 Eagle
Trouble Maker 蠟筆小小生 / 臭屁王 A Miu
1996 The Feeling of Love 重慶愛情感覺 / 泡妞專家 Hing
Lost and Found 天涯海角 Worm
Forever Friends 四個不平凡的少年 / 號角響起 Li Ta-wei
Dr. Wai in "The Scripture with No Words" 冒險王 Shing
First Love: The Litter on the Breeze 初纏戀后的二人世界 Lin Chia-tung
1997 Downtown Torpedoes 神偷諜影 Jackal
Hero 馬永貞 Ma Wing-ching
The Odd One Dies 兩個只能活一個 Mo
The Jail In Burning Island 火燒島之橫行霸道 Yang Chung
Misty Takehiro
1998 Too Tired to Die Kenji
Fuyajo 不夜城 Kenichi Ryuu Also titled Sleepless Town
Anna Magdalena 安娜瑪德蓮娜 Chan Kar-fu
1999 Tempting Heart 心動 Lin Ho-jun
Tarzan Tarzan[23] Voice for Cantonese, Mandarin and Japanese versions
2000 Lavender 薰衣草 Angel
Space Travelers スペーストラベラーズ Nishiyama
2002 Returner リターナー Miyamoto
2003 Turn Left, Turn Right 向左走.向右走 John Liu
2004 House of Flying Daggers 十面埋伏 Jin Titled Lovers for the Japanese release
2005 Perhaps Love 如果愛 Lin Jian-dong / Zhang Yang Titled Winter Song for the Japanese release
2006 Confession of Pain 傷城 Yau Kin-bong
2007 The Warlords 投名狀 Jiang Wuyang
2008 Accuracy of Death 死神の精度 Chiba
K-20: Legend of the Mask K-20 怪人二十面相・伝 Heikichi Endo [24]
Red Cliff Part I 赤壁 Zhuge Liang
2009 Red Cliff Part II 赤壁:決戰天下 Zhuge Liang
2011 Wu Xia 武俠 Xu Bai-jiu
2014 The Crossing 太平輪:亂世浮生 Yan Zekun
2015 The Crossing 2 太平輪:驚濤摯愛 Yan Zekun
2016 See You Tomorrow 擺渡人 Guan Chun
2017 This Is Not What I Expected 喜歡你 Lu Jin
2021 Sons of the Neon Night 風林火山


Year English title Original title Role Notes
1991 Grass Scholar 草地狀元 Chen Nai-chien [25]
1995 Colour Of Amour 富士彩色顯人生
1995 The Miracle on a Christmas Night 聖夜の奇跡 Mr. Bell
1998 God, Please Give Me More Time 神様、もう少しだけ Keigo Ishikawa
2000 Love 2000 二千年の恋 The Assassin / Yurij Maroev
2002 Golden Bowl ゴールデンボウル Shu Akutagawa

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2001 Onimusha: Warlords Samanosuke Akechi Voice, Japanese version
2004 Onimusha 3: Demon Siege Samanosuke Akechi Voice, Japanese version
2018 Onimusha: Warlords Samanosuke Akechi Voice, Japanese version / Guest creator


Studio albums[edit]

Album No. Album details Track listing
1st Heartbreaking Nights
  • Released: September 1992
  • Language: Mandarin
Track listing
  1. A Summer Affair
  2. Heartbreaking Night
  3. The unlicensed youth
  4. Still Love You
  5. Classmate
  6. Comfortable life away
  7. Tokyo Blues
  8. 108 Call Me
  9. I do not
  10. Distant cherry rain
2nd Just You And Me
  • Released: June 1993
  • Language: Mandarin
Track listing
  1. Just You And Me
  2. Because love you
  3. Looking back at you
  4. I etc.
  5. Be My Girl ...... Be My Girl....
  6. Love was not sure
  7. Kikuko girl
  8. Lying eyes
  9. Friends
  10. Good night to You
3rd Tender Superman
  • Released: February 1994
  • Language: Mandarin
Track listing
  1. Tender Superman
  2. Let's Fall In Love
  3. Love Me Once Again
  4. It is not known
  5. You Sweetheart
  6. Valentine's Day gift of flowers
  7. A Thousand Temptations
  8. The gray sky
  9. You
  10. Heart Pain Inside
4th Ideal Lover
  • Released: December 1994
  • Language: Mandarin
Track listing
  1. Standard lover
  2. The trouble is you do not want to
  3. Let me say to you
  4. Blue smile
  5. Deciduous season
  6. Pure tears
  7. I really treasure
  8. Courageous say goodbye
  9. No love pm
  10. Tell Laura I Love Her (remake)
5th Missed Date
  • Released: December 1994
  • Language: Cantonese
Track listing
  1. Scam
  2. Will love return
  3. Lonely and others
  4. Paranoia
  5. You want to ever
  6. Loving Heart
  7. Love Me Once Again
  8. I see the paradise
  9. Love
  10. Cover Girl
6th Dear My Beloved
  • Released: June 1995
  • Language: Cantonese
Track listing
  1. Who can
  2. The occasion
  3. Love me!
  4. Still love you like before
  5. Burning Passion
  6. Dear My Beloved
  7. Sunshine Lover
  8. I do not want to cry
  9. With your life
  10. Or are you lucky
7th Secretly Drunk
  • Released: October 1995
  • Language: Mandarin
Track listing
  1. I cried to stop carrying
  2. Love You Deeply
  3. Don't want to leave
  4. And I miss not meet
  5. Road Of The Heart
  6. Secretly Drunk
  7. In the summer of love burning
  8. Lonely people fear most crying
  9. That love
  10. Love Rhapsody
8th No Matter How Hard
  • Released: October 1996
  • Language: Mandarin
Track listing
  1. No Matter How Hard
  2. I love her with your shadow
  3. Green space
  4. Capricorn
  5. Happier
  6. A love so much
  7. Because of your
  8. My tears
  9. New Day Of The City
  10. Taipei Aniki
9th Best Collection: Takeshi Kaneshiro's Best Songs
  • Released: June 1998
  • Language: Mandarin
Track listing
  1. Ideal Lover
  2. No Matter How Hard
  3. Don't Gry Behind My Back
  4. Don't Wanna Be In Trouble
  5. Crazy Love Song
  6. Secretly Drunk
  7. Route To South
  8. Taipei Aniki
  9. Say Goodbye
  10. Love You Deeply
  11. Love Me
  12. Sunshine Lover
  13. Tender Superman
  14. Only You And Me
  15. Road Of The Heart
  16. Heartbreaking Night


Year Title Track listing Notes
2005 Perhaps Love
Track listing
No.4 Forgot Who I am (忘了我是誰)
(duet with Zhou Xun)
No.6 Beautiful Story (美麗故事)
(duet with Ji Jin-hee)
No.10 Crossroad (十字街頭)
(duet with Zhou Xun)
No.11 What If (假如)
Mandarin album

Awards and nominations[edit]

Takeshi Kaneshiro is one of 10 recipients of the 2010 Green Planet Film Award for Ten Best International Actors of the Decade (Asia).[26]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
1995 1st Golden Bauhinia Awards Best Actor Fallen Angels Nominated
1998 18th The Television Drama Academy Award Best Actor God, Please Give Me More Time Won
2002 33rd The Television Drama Academy Award Best Actor Golden Bowl Nominated
2006 43rd Golden Horse Awards Best Original Film Song Perhaps Love
(as performer of song "Crossroad")
7th Changchun Film Festival Best Actor Perhaps Love Nominated
2017 54th Golden Horse Awards Best Actor See You Tomorrow Nominated
2nd Golden Screen Awards Best Actor[27] This Is Not What I Expected Won

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Kaneshiro knocked from Horse". The Hollywood Reporter. 2008-10-31. Archived from the original on 2021-07-25.
  2. ^ a b 吳素柔 (2008-10-31). "非台灣電影工作者 金馬獎撤銷提名金城武". Central News Agency. Archived from the original on 2011-07-21.
  3. ^ "金城武老爸「真面目」曝光!竟撞臉日本資深諧星". yahoo. 民視新聞網. Retrieved 10 August 2021.
  4. ^ [1] Archived December 21, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ a b Drake, Kate (2003-09-29). "Movies: The versatile Takeshi Kaneshiro". TIME. Archived from the original on April 11, 2007. Retrieved 2012-11-02.
  6. ^ [2] Archived July 23, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Making the Great Leap". Newsweek. 2005-12-25. Retrieved 2018-08-12.
  8. ^ Kerr, George H. (2000) [1958]. Okinawa, the History of an Island People. Boston: Tuttle. p. xvii. ISBN 9780804820875. the character , very commonly found in surnames and place names ... Thus Kaneshiro can also be read Kinjo.
  9. ^ Elley, Derek (2005-09-14). "Perhaps Love". Variety. Retrieved 2018-08-12.
  10. ^ "CNN.com - Takeshi Kaneshiro Talkasia Transcript - Feb 10, 2006". www.cnn.com. Retrieved 2018-08-12.
  11. ^ "Ain't It Cool News: The best in movie, TV, DVD, and comic book news". Aintitcool.com. Retrieved 2012-11-02.
  12. ^ [3] Archived December 18, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ [4] Archived December 18, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "CNN.com - Takeshi Kaneshiro Talkasia Transcript - Feb 10, 2006". Edition.cnn.com. 2006-02-10. Retrieved 2012-11-02.
  15. ^ "Biotherm". Biotherm. Retrieved 2012-11-02.
  16. ^ "Wu Xia". Festival de Cannes. Retrieved 10 August 2021.
  17. ^ Brzeski, Patrick. "Golden Screen Awards: China's 'This Is Not What I Expected' Takes Top Honor". Golden Screen Awards. The Hollywood Reporter, LLC. Retrieved 10 August 2021.
  18. ^ Kilday, Gregg (2018-06-25). "Academy Invites Record 928 New Members". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2021-08-31.
  19. ^ "Meet the New Members 2018". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 2021-08-31.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  20. ^ "A look at Juno Mak's gangster flick 'Sons of the Neon Night'". cityonfire.com. Retrieved 2018-08-12.
  21. ^ "I Am not a 'Dream Guy' | ASIA TODAY News & Events". asiapacific.com. Retrieved 2018-08-12.
  22. ^ in TOUCH magazine (Hong Kong) Issue 46 Nov, 05
  23. ^ "ターザン". Disney. Retrieved February 2, 2022.
  24. ^ "映画「K-20 怪人二十面相・伝」アウトラインと全体概要|今、よみがえる〜映画「K-20 怪人二十面相・伝」". K-20.jp. Retrieved 2012-11-02.
  25. ^ "Takeshi Kaneshiro". chinesemov.com. Retrieved April 12, 2010.
  26. ^ "Green Planet Movie Awards Award Categories". Movie-voters.com. Archived from the original on 2012-04-22. Retrieved 2012-11-02.
  27. ^ "Golden Screen Awards: China's 'This Is Not What I Expected' Takes Top Honor". The Hollywood Reporter. October 29, 2017.

External links[edit]