Kukai (1989)
Kukai Image Cover
Additional Images
Director:Junya Sato
Date Added:2011-01-01
Tags: Buddhism drama

Summary: http://www.fieldsbooks.com/cgi-bin/fields/DSTD04180.html

A grand scale historical saga! Transcending the last thousand years of time, the legendary Kukai's great journey is revisited!

Kukai: he turned his gaze sharply into the form of all phenomena, and pursued the depths of their origination. The current production starring Kinya Kitaoji is a historical drama of a giant, Kukai, whose accomplishments were far reaching in influencing Japan's development.

Mao Saeki was born in Sanuki, Japan in the 5th year of the Hoki period (774 CE). Though he held promise as a gifted scholar, he grew weary of the university's academia, turned to ascetic training in mountains in mountains and plains, and eventually encountered Mikkyo (Esoteric Buddhism). After officially becoming a monk, he had his name changed to Kukai, and journeyed to T'ang China as a national overseas cultural student. When he was thirty-three he formed a teacher-disciple bond with Hi-Kuo Acarya, who was then considered the greatest master of Mikkyo. He was conferred the techeings of Shingon Mikkyo in only three months, after which he returned to Japan. He dedicated the rest of his life to propagate these teachings. Kukai had always contemplated the source of "life." He taught us to become Buddha while we are still alive, without fear, while we still feel the life-breath of all that exists.He gave hope to those who suffered from sickness, lent his knowledge and power to those who were in anguish of flood-disasters, and gathered everyone's contribution to build the great temples of Koyasan. Finaaly, when he was sixty-one, he entered eternal samadhi (meditation), while surrounded with reverence by his top disciples.

Under the direction of film director Junya Sato, with an exorbitant production budget of 1.2 billion Yen, the film was shot on location in China. Actual-sized envoy ships to T'ang were recreated for the cinematography; this is a historical spectacle of grand scale.

Released Showa 59 (1984): A Toei - All Shingon-shu Youth Alliance Film-Production Headquarters joint production. Approximately 168 minutes. Subtitled.