REIMS, France - Film director Takeshi Kitano was awarded the title of Chambellan d'Honneur on Friday by the Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne, a major French champagne industry group.
Kitano is the first person outside Europe to receive the prestigious award, which recognises those with extensive knowledge of champagne and French culture.
The Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne originated from an organisation established by aristocrats who favoured champagne wines in the 17th century. The group said Kitano was chosen for his wide recognition in France as a film director as well as his knowledge of champagne and French food culture.
Clad in formal haori and hakama attire, Kitano accepted a commemorative medal at an award ceremony held in Reims that day.
"I'm a little embarrassed, being awarded such a big title," Kitano said after the ceremony.