Director: Katsuya Tomita
Country: Japan
Year: 2019

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What role should monks and nuns play in modern society? How can communities heal in the wake of disaster? Chiken and Ryugyo, two classmates, grapple with the trauma of Japan’s post-Fukushima socio-economic crisis while trying to lead their respective communities. The ten years that have passed since their Zen training find the friends on different paths in life. Chiken leads a well-established temple, volunteers on a suicide hotline, and struggles to find work-life balace as a young father; Ryugyo lost his coastal temple in the tsunami and spends his days counseling neighbors and cleaning debris while coping with flashbacks and grief. Tenzo freely blends fact and fiction in a genre-bending experimental tale based on real Soto Zen monks.

This film will be available to stream until midnight EST on Friday, August 6.

Learn more about the film at sousei.gr.jp/tenzo.

Some of the cast and crew of Tenzo | © All-Japan Soto Young Priests Association

Chiken, a young monk, attempts to be a good husband and father while leading his temple through the post-Fukushima socioeconomic crisis. | Image © All-Japan Soto Young Priests Association

Ryugyo, a classmate and friend of Chiken, lost his seaside temple to the tsunami. Still haunted by loss, he councils others who lost their homes and clears debris. | Image © All-Japan Soto Young Priests Association

my soul drifts light upon a sea of trees

In a flashback scene, Ryugyo searches for bodies after the tsunami. | Image © All-Japan Soto Young Priests Association

my soul drifts light upon a sea of trees

Chiken looks out at the landscape. | Image © All-Japan Soto Young Priests Association

Chiken eats with his wife and son. | Image © All-Japan Soto Young Priests Association

Ryugyo looks at the ocean. | Image © All-Japan Soto Young Priests Association

A peek behind the scenes on the shoot of Tenzo. | © All-Japan Soto Young Priests Association