Takeshi Kaneshiro was born on October 11, 1973, in Taiwan of Japanese and Taiwanese parents. This unique background led to Kaneshiro being fluent in several languages, namely Mandarin, Japanese, Cantonese, Taiwanese, and English. Kaneshiro spent his childhood in Taiwan. His mixed background caused problems for him, and he was bullied at school by his fellow students. He had problems fitting in, and felt like an outsider both at his Japanese school and in his Taiwanese neighbourhood. For this reason he later moved to the Taipei American School.
Kaneshiro started his rise to stardom by making commercials during his school years, and at the age of fifteen was given the opportunity to be a pop star by a Taipei A&R company. In 1992, he launched a successful singing career in both Mandarin and Cantonese. As is traditional with Asian pop stars, Kaneshiro was offered roles in films, his first being in Taiwanese comedies. When given the chance, he eschewed the usual pop fodder in favor of quirky character parts. Internationally-acclaimed director Wong Kar-Wai worked with Kaneshiro on Chungking Express (1994) and Fallen Angels (1995), and speaks highly of his depth and versatility.
Kaneshiro's screen idol looks belie his talents; reportedly, Wong and
Kaneshiro collaborated on ideas for some scenes, and Kaneshiro's role
in Fallen Angels as a son missing his father is perhaps one of the best
and most loved in Wong Kar-Wai's oeuvre. Another notable role of Kaneshiro's
was in Lee Chi-Ngai's Lost and Found (1996), opposite Kelly Chen and
Michael Wong. Kaneshiro's humorous, but deeplly felt turn as a finder
of lost items was the centerpiece of this touching film.
After a sucessful run of films in Hong Kong, Kaneshiro was spotted by a Japanese TV producer who gave him a role in the unusual miniseries, God Please Give Me More Time (1998), about a musician who falls in love with an HIV-positive young girl. The controversial show was a huge success in Japan and sparked his Japanese film career. His subsequent Japanese films, Sleepless Town (1998) and Space Travelers (2000), continued to boost his profile in the territory. Kaneshiro also returned to Hong Kong for the hit romantic film Tempting Heart (1999), opposite Gigi Leung, and the romantic fantasy Lavender (2000), again with Kelly Chen.
Most recently, Kaneshiro starred in the 2002 Japanese box office smash The Returner, and worked opposite Gigi Leung again in the Hong Kong hit Turn Left, Turn Right (2003). Kaneshiro has also found success as an international print model for the designer label Prada, and appears extensively in advertisements all over Asia. (JamesPercy 2004)
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