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  • Writer's pictureAkiko Murakami

"空海ーKU-KAI ー": a new movie 2018

On February 24, 2018, a new movie titled "空海ーKU-KAIー”will be released in Japan. KUKAI (618-907) is one of the popular and famous monk and has been respected and worshiped by many people even today.

This is a movie made by a huge joint project between Japan and China.

I am looking forward to the movie, because they feature KUKAI's youth during Nara period (8th century), when he went to study Buddhism in Chang'an (長安), the Chinese capital city, witch was the biggest cosmopolitan, international city in the world at that time.

In fact, the capital city of Nara was modeled after Chang'an, today's Xi'an.

According to the online information...

"The Chinese title is "The Legend of the Demon Cat (Chinese: 妖猫传; pinyin: Yāo Māo Zhuàn) " is a 2017 fantasy mystery film directed by Chen Kaige, based on the novel Samana Kukai written by Japanese writer Yoneyama Mineo (well know by his pen name "Yumemakura Baku (夢枕漠). A set costing US$200 million and five years to create was constructed for the film. It was reported that the set will be turned into a theme park. It was already released in China in December 2017 in Mandarin. "


"The story is set in China during the Tang Dynasty (618–907). A demon cat appears and breaks the peace of the capital, Chang’an City, causing a series of strange events. A Chinese Poet Bai Letian (白居易)and A Japanese Monk Kukai(空海) join together to investigate the death of Concubine Yang (楊貴妃)by following the trail left by the cat, unveiling a buried fact."

I am also interested in seeing their art works, as I like some other Chinese history TV dramas and movies with Asian beauties, different from the Japanese.

<Who is KUKAI?>

Koyasan was founded about 1200 years ago by the great Buddhist monk Kobo Daishi Kukai (弘法大師 空海 774-835 ) as the center of Shingon Esoteric Buddhist study, practice and training. KUKAI was originally sent to China as one of Japanese envoy to study the newest Buddhism for 20 years. However, within 2 years, he mastered and received the entire authentic teachings, the title as a successor and many religious objects of Esoteric Shingon Buddhism by the Chinese grand master. After his return back to Japan, Kobo Daishi was granted Mt. Koya by the Emperor as an ideal location to build a monastery. Today, Kobo Daishi is known as and respected also as a scholar, civil servant, calligrapher, writer, and a civil engineer.

Located about 900m above sea level in a mountaintop, Koyasan has developed as a small town with many temples, monasteries, schools, museums, and shops, and has been a popular pilgrimage destination for centuries.

The most sacred place is called "Oku-no-in" where he is believed to be in the state of eternal meditation.

In 2004, Koyasan was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as a part of the “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range and the Cultural Landscapes that Surround Them”.

(Koyasan (高野山)is located in between Osaka and Wakayama and Nara prefecture. If you like to explore here :

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