Film director Takeshi Kitano is awarded France’s Legion of Honor

Kyodo

Japanese film director Takeshi Kitano received the Legion of Honor, France’s most prestigious award, on Tuesday for his impact on contemporary arts.

“I feel (this award) has empowered me to try and conquer new genres,” Kitano, 69, said at an award ceremony held in Paris.

Kitano was named an officer, the fourth-ranked honor in the l’ordre national de la legion d’honneur (the National Order of the Legion of Honor).

Former French culture minister Jack Lang presented the award to Kitano, praising the film director for his novel approach in film and television.

Kitano told reporters after the ceremony, “I am very thankful to France for appreciating (my work).”

The Legion of Honor, founded by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, recognizes eminent service in fields such as culture, science and business. Among the approximately 1,500 foreigners given the honor, 10 percent are Japanese, according to the French Embassy in Tokyo.

Kitano, who is also a television personality, has been twice awarded France’s Order of the Arts and Letters, reaching knight, the third rank, in 1999 and commander, the first rank, in 2010. The order, founded in 1957, is awarded by the culture ministry.