October 26, 2016 / 1:27 PM / 10 months ago

Japanese director Kitano awarded France's Legion of Honour

Japanese director Takeshi Kitano speaks as he receives the "SAMURAI" award during the closing ceremony of the Tokyo International Film Festival in Tokyo October 31, 2014.Yuya Shino

PARIS (Reuters) - Japanese filmmaker and comedian Takeshi Kitano has been awarded "The Legion of Honour", one of France's highest awards, at a ceremony in Paris.

The 69-year-old director of "Violent Cop" and "Brother", better known under his stage name "Beat Takeshi", was bashful but emotional on receiving the medal and said that the award had given him a boost to explore new topics within his art.

"I feel that I've been suspended somewhere, stuck after having explored a certain number of genres in writing, music, theater and others," said Kitano. "But today thanks to this Legion of Honour I feel boosted with new energy to be able to tackle other domains that remain for me to discover."

Jack Lang, a former French minister of culture, bestowed the red lapelled medal on Kitano and praised his work for "inviting the spectator to overcome absurdity with the weapon of laughter".

Created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, the Legion of Honour has been awarded to other foreigners in the past including British musician Paul McCartney and Indian actor Shah Rukh Khan.

Reporting by Reuters Television; Writing by Adela Suliman.; Editing by Patrick Johnston/Mark Heinrich

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