"SHINTO: THE WAY OF THE KAMI"
A medium length documentary film made for film festivals.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
Shinto: The Way of The Kami is a medium-length (about 40 minutes) documentary film about the Japanese philosophy of life. A Shinto priestess, Hiroko, guides us through this unique philosophy, which is based on gratitude and connection to the kami - the energy of nature.
Kami are manifestations of the interconnecting energy of the universe. Usually hidden from this world, they inhabit a complementary existence that mirrors our own. Sometimes we can feel them in the elements of landscape or forces of nature. When you reach a harmony with awe-inspiring aspects of nature, then you are conscious of the way of the kami.
Hiroko Takayama is a priestess at the Dazaifu Tenmangu - a shrine dedicated to the kami of learning, culture and arts. Hiroko was an IBM employee for 10 years. Only when she became a priestess, did she start to truly appreciate the nature surrounding her. Now she frequently goes on trips to the mountains surrounding Fukuoka, the city she lives in.
From an early age, I was fascinated by Japanese culture and pop-culture. During my last two visits to Japan (in 2010 and 2017), I noticed that their native philosophy, Shinto, has influence over nearly every aspect of the country, from culture to everyday life. I would like to create a film about that philosophy. A philosophy which has such an amazing influence on life in a country that interests me.
I have always liked spending time in natural environments. However, only when I started filming this project, did I realise that there may be some deeper connection between us and nature. The connection which is being gradually lost in an evermore industrialized world. This connection became even more apparent to me - and I believe to all of us - during these days of the pandemic.
BENEFITS OF WATCHING THIS FILM
You, just like me, may begin to realize that there is more to nature than meets the eye. Thanks to this film, when lockdown ends you may be better equipped to start experiencing the wonders of nature again. As for now, you can experience the beautiful and exotic nature of Japan through our film.
WHY IS THIS FILM PROJECT UNIQUE?
Shinto has been largely inaccessible to documentary filmmakers - until now.
Our guide in the film is a Shinto priestess, Hiroko. For a woman to be a Shinto priestess is an extremely rare profession.
We document the transition from Heisei to Reiwa period. This transition was marked by a private Shinto ceremony attended by only about 10 priests and our film crew.
The film will try to convey the meaning of Shinto through images and sounds. There are very few scenes with dialogue.
This is a documentary film, but it is shot with cinematic-quality images, 4K resolution and high-end camera.
This project was filmed in and around the city of Fukuoka in Japan. The three main locations were:
Dazaifu Tenmangu shrine: https://www.dazaifutenmangu.or.jp/en/
Hakozaki Shrine: https://www.hakozakigu.or.jp/
Shikaumi Shrine: http://www.shikaumi-jinja.jp/