Takeshi Kitano (北野 武 Kitano Takeshi, born January 18, 1947) is a Japanese film director, comedian, singer, actor, 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. The Japanese film critic Nagaharu Yodogawa once dubbed him "the true successor" to 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). 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.