Young Takeshi

Takeshi Kaneshiro is someone I have followed since he entered the entertainment industry in 1992. I was in high school then, and any newly minted Taiwan pop idol was bound to be an object of curiosity. This is the cover art from his first album.

I quickly dismissed Takeshi. Well, frankly, because he couldn’t sing a note worth his life. Takeshi debuted as a singer, and lordy was he terrible. I say this tongue-in-cheek because he knew he was terrible as well, and he would smile in his cute little boy way and we’d all go awwwww.

There was no market for Taiwan acting idols back then, so he had to pay his dues in the pop market first. Thankfully, for us and for him, Takeshi quickly got his ticket into the acting world, and left his first calling behind. But there remains a treasure trove of horrifically hilarious music videos of his pop idol days.

I have unearthed his very first single for your enjoyment, Night Heartbreaking. The music video also stars Charlie Yeung at her most Charlie-state of being. Who is Charlie Yeung, some of you may ask? Charlie is the equivalent of a Julia Ormond or a Claire Forlani or a Gretchen Mol. Do you remember these ladies?
Yes, they were all former anointed Hollywood It Girls that came and went. Charlie was undisputedly the most popular Hong Kong actress for a short few years in the mid-90s. She got her big debut starring in the movie Ashes of Time, Wong Kar Wei’s attempt at meta-wuxia. In that respect, Takeshi landed himself a pretty sweet leading lady for his music video frolicking at the beach.

Now, I present this video not as a diss of Takeshi, who has actually proven himself to be a good actor with great role selection. I still contend he was miscast as Zhuge Liang in Red Cliff, but he acquitted himself as best he could, and I appreciate that.

Takeshi is now a bona fide movie star, heartthrob, and qualified actor. I thought we can take a trip down memory lane to see his genesis from that (above) to this (below). Boy done grow up good, is all I have to say.


Young Takeshi — 9 Comments

  1. OMG!! Hello GORGEOUS! Takeshi was my guilty pleasure in highsch. We all publicly acknowledge he cant sing AT ALL, cant act that well…but his puppy cute gorgeousness mush my brain. I fell for him ridiculously in ChungKing Express (I gave canned pineapple another try*hate* coz of him) His cuteness in ChungKing ease my pain for RC still.

    So is his pop-singer phase the same as Aaron Kwok’s rise to fame in TW? Charlie Yeung very first job was a HK commercial w/ Aaron Kwok for jewelry and it’s still considered a gem of a CF.

  2. @ twin

    Yes, Takeshi as a singer phase was 92-96, which is the same time Aaron and Leon got famous in TW, plus Andy and Jacky were already famous, and the Four Star Kings exploded in TW by 1996.

    Btw, found a Cantonese song Takeshi sang, with his co-star being, yet again, Charlie. Makes me wonder if they secretly dated back then.

    Does his Cantonese sound horrendous or passable. Because he didn’t speak very good Mandarin either in those early days.

  3. *I have that 失約 CD* his Canto, to this day, sounds exactly like my bff’s Mom’s. She’s Japanese. So I can understand him perfectly, but doubt majority of HKers. There are words he’s right on, but illegible in 20% WHEN he’s singing (w/ lots of editing), his convo Canto is btn passable and horrendous haha. I didnt know his Mando is not v good. How about his Japanese?

    Oh, there’s a huge rumor they were, of coz last 10+ yrs the rumor has been Takeshi is in the closet. The actual rumor was they were in a love triangle w/ Nicky Wu! Charlie was not a good actress, but she did have chemistry w/ Takeshi and Nicky (in Butterfly Lovers)….and much later even w/ Aaron in After this, Our Exile.

  4. Takeshi!!! AWWWW. Thanks for the treat!

    It’s not just the devastating good looks (though they don’t hurt), he has an onscreen charm and amiability that makes him very watchable. I think he does reluctant hero, a la K-20, best.

    I thought Charlie rocked Ashes of Time.

  5. Now, that is just a beautiful, beautiful man. Also, he’s the one responsible for getting me to where I am today, to all of my beloved drama buddies! My first drama ever was Kamisama Mou Sukoshi Dake, and it started me on the path.

    Thank you God for Takeshi Kaneshiro, for so many reasons!


  6. Takeshi never gave me the toe shivers, but he’s one fine human speciman.

    @ twin – I was snarking a bit, I did hear about the Charlie-Takeshi-Nicky love triangle that probably never was. And about Nicky being gay – dude, until an Asian star gets married, the “he’s gay” tag will always stick with him. I mean, ferrsakes Andy Lau is married and peeps still won’t let the story die.

    Anyways, @ serendipity, I never really watched Ashes of Time seriously (watched it once and feel asleep), so don’t remember Charlie rocking her role. But do remember the brohahaha that such a newbie got such a plum casting. After Charlie, I think the next big famous first on looks HK starlet was Cecilia Cheung (am I right, mookie?).

  7. I thought Charlie was cringeworthy forgettable in Ashes of Time (*hug* Serendipity!) She had sth alluring, je ne sais quoi about her, not being anatomically beautiful, but a naivete that suits her roles may it be holding an egg basket w/ hair in her face in scorching midday desert for most of her screen time w/ a bit of sobbingsobbing. She’s a welcomed cipher in the midst of all the worldworn weary veterans both in RL and as wuxia masters in it, but I dont think she flexed any acting muscle.

    My fav Takeshi role is still ChungKing Express. Fallen Angel is not bad. But those r WKW, he’ll meta every bit of natural charisma (Takeshi has plenty) out of the actors and we can regard it as brilliant acting. I just find him very lost in most of his other performances, maybe it’s the language/cultural barrier?!

    yesyes Cecilia Cheung is the next one filling the pretty ingenue roles, but she really is born w/ the acting chops. She did dev. into the best actress in her gen, I’m glad she’s happily married raising kids w/ Nic, but it’s our lost she’s quit acting.

    Daniel Wu is the next Takeshi in HK cinema, famous way more for his looks than real acting chops, but I would also stand by Daniel as a better actor than Takeshi. He and Cecilia were breathtakingly haunting in the very gritty triad fare One Nite in MongKok. Cecilia completely blew me away in it.

    The K equivalent will definitely be Daniel Henney?! 😉

  8. Never realized this before but Takeshi looks a little like KiBum.

    I’ve only seen two movies of his but my favorite role is also ChungKing Express but I was much more smitten with Tony Leung especially when he was talking to the soap. So cute.

  9. Heh, it seems everyone’s fave Takeshi is Chungking Express (mine as well) – actually that’s my favorite WKW movie, period. Perfection!

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