Born in 1958, Casio Abe is the author of several books on Japanese film and popular culture. His most recent books include “Nihon Eiga no 21 Seiki ga Hajimaru” (2005 Kinema Junposha), “Mikio Naruse” (2005 Kawade Shobo Shinsha), “Boku ha Konna Nichijo ya Kanjo de dekiteimasu” (2007 Shobunsha) and “Manga ha Ugoku” (2008 Izumi Shobo). He was a specially appointed professor in Faculty of Arts, Course of Philosophy and Creative Writing at Rikkyo University from 2007-March 2012. He is a critic, poet and associate professor at Hokkaido University Graduate School of Letters, Filmology and Cultural Studies of Representation since April 2012. He reviews films, subculture and literature from fresh perspectives using various techniques with the ability to reconstruct in great detail. He is one of the few with monographs in both areas of film and subculture.
He published his first poetry book in 2008.
Beat Takeshi vs. Takeshi Kitano
World-renowned filmmaker Takeshi Kitano initially became popular in his native Japan through his legendarily caustic alter ego, the comedian Beat Takeshi. Here in the United States, he is primarily known for innovating a stylish noir aesthetic admired by such directors as Martin Scorcese and Quentin Tarantino. This collection of essays by Casio Abe, one of Japan’s preeminent cultural critics, examines both Kitano’s films and his Beat Takeshi persona, offering an incisive critique of the consumer culture that Kitano’s films and comedy both draw on and play against. It is the first book on Kitano’s work to be published in English.
“It is obvious that Takeshi is a great genius. When watching his films, one never knows what is around the corner. What is believed to be a straight line suddenly becomes a curving bend — it’s as if he’s in a deep, Zen-like meditation. If you watch his films more than once, you’ll discover even more layers of meaning in them. They are like works of modern art, just made with film, and it is important that they receive more recognition. I feel so much joy when watching his films; it is an honor to be one of his fans. I hope this book will bring to light the works of a true artist.”
— John Woo, director
“As an actor and a director, Takeshi Kitano is the most dynamic and fascinating Japanese cinema import of the past 15 years. This translation of Casio Abe’s in-depth study of his sometimes baffling oeuvre is a godsend for his non-Japanese speaking fans.”
— J. Hoberman, film critic The Village Voice
“Casio Abe’s double-sided portrait of *kamikaze* comedian and master director “Beat” Takeshi Kitano is as crafty and unpredictable as its subject: bullet-in-the-head funny one minute, gut-jabbingly sophisticated the next. A rare and compelling glimpse into the idiosyncratic world of contemporary Japanese Film Studies.”
— Chuck Stephens, Film Comment