Takeshi Kitano interview

© T.Kitano

Famous showman and star of the small screen in his native japan where he hosts  no fewer than eight shows a week, takeshi kitano is “delighted “to be the tara’s ambassador in the nippon archipelago. Here’s what one of japan’s most prominent film directors has to say.

TARA EXPÉDITIONS NEWS : Thank you, Takeshi Kitano, for accepting to take part in this interview…

TAKESHI KITANO  : It’s a pleasure ! I’m  very  interested in the  Tara. She belongs to agnès b. Allow me to ask you the first question : Where is the Tara at the moment?

This summer (2015)  she’ll be heading to Greenland and then on to Sweden and Great Britain before returning to France. Allow me to ask you the second question : What is it about the Tara that interests you?

When I was a teenager I was a big fan of Jacques Cousteau and his voyages around the world. His films were shown on Japanese television and they were very popular at the time. Cousteau was such a huge influence that I wanted to follow in his footsteps and become a marine biologist. So I went to study at the scientific faculty of Meiji University, but it wasn’t for me… It seems to me that the Tarais involved in a similar adventure, albeit one with a different mind-set. What’s changed since Cousteau’s days is that the state of the planet has got worse. The natural balance has never been in such great danger because of climate change and global warming. The climate is changing and humans are paying the price. Upheavals that perhaps only now are we realizing their gravity.


” It seems to me, like it does to so many others, that the Earth is in a terrible state! I am very happy to make my modest contribution… “


The Tara will soon be undertaking a long expedition, lasting two years, to Asia and she’ll be stopping off in Japan before setting out on a second Arctic drift in 2019..

In the meantime, if I can find a gap in my work agenda— and it is very full — I would really love to embark on the Tara. In 2019 I would love to go to the North Pole with the Tara and her team so I could do some reporting and explain to viewers back home in Japan why the polar ice-cap is melting and that polar bears are having to swim miles and miles to reach stable ice. And even if I can’t go aboard the Tara, I will still be able to relay the information on Japanese TV channels. I could  talk  about  the  Tara, as I have been doing recently, and encourage tele-vision  producers  to  talk about the  expedition  in  their  programmes.  That  way  Tara Expeditions will get more and more enthusiastic supporters in my home country ! In  my programmes I often remind viewers,  as  well  as the  big companies  in  Japan —a  country  which  is  often  considered to be the fifth biggest polluter in the world and  home to big businesses such as Toyota—that  we  need to make greater  efforts  to  reduce CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. I have also asked business leaders and major Japanese industrials to actively support Tara Expeditions. One of them said to me: “Sponsor the Tara yourself !

Could the Tara help raise awareness of climate change among the Japanese ?

Yes, probably, because the strength of Tara Expeditions is, as I see it, that you know how to use the big media outlets to get the results of your research into the public arena, in particular  television.  TV is the  media of the people. It’s only with the small screen that we can talk to the majority about environmental  problems.  The questions that Tara Expeditions  raises are not always easy to understand for the ordinary man in the street.

You are interested in the  sea. When you  were a child, your father took you by the hand one  fine  morning  to  see  the  sea  for the  first  time,  in  the  south of  Tokyo. One of  your  films is called A Scene at the Sea(1). You have also talked in the past about Jacques Mayol, a Frenchman who often came to Japan to swim with dolphins…

Mayol, yes… The diver made famous in the film by Besson, The Big Blue. Mayol was able, I believe, to hold his breath for seven or eight minutes during deep-sea dives. Mayol practised yoga during his visits to Japan, a particular type of yoga that helped him develop his breathing technique. But I must come back to Cousteau, he really impressed me. In the end I didn’t become a marine biologist. Life decided otherwise and I took to the stage, theatre… But this interest for the planet, for the sea and the natural world has remained with me. And it seems to me, like it does to so many others, that the Earth is in a terrible state ! I am very happy to make my modest contribution to the actions of the Tara.


(1) The film’s Japanese title is Ano natsu, ichiban shizukana umi.


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- “Le journal Tara Expéditions” : The Tara Expéditions Newspaper n°10

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