Takeshi Kitano (北野 武 Kitano Takeshi, born 18 January 1947) is a Japanese director, comedian, singer (mostly as part of his comic career), actor, show host, film editor, presenter, screenwriter, author, poet, painter, and one-time video game designer who has received critical acclaim, both in his native Japan and abroad, for his idiosyncratic cinematic work. Japanese film critic Nagaharu Yodogawa once dubbed him "the true successor" to the influential filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. With the exception of his works as a film director, he is known almost exclusively by the name Beat Takeshi (ビートたけし Bīto Takeshi) – although he has been credited as the mononym "Takeshi" for his acting role in the movie Johnny Mnemonic. Since April 2005, he has been a professor at the Graduate School of Visual Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts. Kitano owns his own talent agency and production company, Office Kitano, which launched Tokyo Filmex in 2000.