Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Iconic Takeshi Kaneshiro Tree

By Asia Pop Culture

We are going to show you a magnificent and iconic tree today and the story behind it.

According to Taiwan News, The 'Takeshi Kaneshiro tree' is the most popular tourist destination in Taitung County (the middle part of the island) during the Lunar New Year (LNY) holiday this year.  The tree attracted 158,920 tourist visits during the LNY period based on the statistics of government’s tourism department.

The Takeshi Kaneshiro tree is actually a bischofia javanica tree, and was almost destroyed by Typhoon Matmo in 2015 (but later rescued by an expert arborist).  The landmark tree has become Taiwan’s best known one since the summer of 2013 after superstar Takeshi Kaneshiro (金城武)sipped tea in its shade in an EVA Airways TV commercial.



The commercial made the tree and the surrounding fields one of the most popular tourist destinations in the area. Below you will find an English version of the EVA Airways commercial.  The famous scene of tea sipping under the ever so popular tree starts at 0:58 (I believe Kaneshiro himself did the English voice over in the commercial.)  Eva Airways, a Taiwanese airline, was ranked in the top 10 (#8 in 2016 and #9 in 2015) among the top 100 airlines in the world, when none of the American airlines even made it to the top 30.

A little bit about Takeshi Kaneshiro...

His mother is Taiwanese and his father is from Okinawa, Japan. He was born and raised in Taipei but also holds Japanese citizenship.  He started his career as a pop singer in 1992, but never looked back after his acting and movie career took off in 1993. Although he is fluent in several languages (Chinese, Japanese, Cantonese, English, and Hokkien Taiwanese), and had huge commercial success in Japan, his work, however, is heavily concentrated in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

In 2003, Kaneshiro was featured in the Time Magazine and touted as the Asian film industry's Johnny Depp.  He was also interviewed by CNN in 2006.  In 2010, Kaneshiro was on the list of "the ten most gorgeous East Asian men in the world," and one of The Most Handsome Chinese Men in a 2016 poll.

Kaneshiro is well-known for avoiding the media spotlight, and in recent years has drastically cut down on his movie acting and public appearances.  Nevertheless, you can still see him on runways and commercials as he is a spokesperson and model for a lot of designer brands such as Prada and Emporio Armani.  

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