典座 -TENZO- TENZO
- jig theater
- SHIBATA Shuhei and MIYAKE Yuko
Director TOMITA Katsuya, known for films such us “Saudade” and “Bangkok Nites”, presents this unique film commissioned by the All Japan Young Soto Zen.
The film explores the significance and essence of Buddhist beliefs after the Great East Japan Earthquake, even it may be unconventional, there is no other film that delves into the theme of “faith” so directly. The remarkable presence of the cast, who seem to portray themselves as they live and carry out their lives in that region, gives the film a sense of authenticity seen in other works by TOMITA Katsuya. It’s as if we are personally touching the lives of these genuine individuals, and the film’s power is so compelling that it blurs the lines between fiction and documentary. When the Soto Zen nun AOYAMA Shundo appears as a mentor in the film, her words draw you in, leaving you surprised by the depth of the teachings that can be imparted through the medium of film. While rooted in the local, it also reaches out to the universe.
- TOMITA Katsuya
The film “TENZO” is a film which was created in collaboration with young Zen Buddhist monks who requested it. In the process of creating this work, I first needed to learn about the teachings of Soto Zen, a sect within Zen Buddhism. So, I asked the young monks to introduce me to the most important master of the Soto Zen tradition. Their unanimous choice was the Zen nun AOYAMA Shundo, their mentor.
We decided to visit mentor Aoyama first and foremost. We wanted to present ourselves as we truly were. So, we began by mimicking the Zen question-and-answer style that disciples use when addressing their mentor. We set up cameras and started filming this interaction as a documentary. Indeed, we were immediately captivated by mentor Aoyama’s presence.
“TENZO” refers to the name given to the monks responsible for preparing meals for practicing monks. This unique title within the Soto Zen tradition became the film’s title. This film features actual monks. They were playing roles and posing questions, such as the concepts of enlightenment, salvation, and the nature of religion. It provides us, who live in the world after the “3.11” Great East Japan Earthquake, with an opportunity to contemplate these profound themes.