Biography of Dōgen


The film is a biography of Dōgen Zenji, a Japanese Zen Buddhist teacher.
The story is based on the novel "Eihei no kaze: Dōgen no shōgai" written by Tetsuo Ōtani in 2001.

Movie Data

Title: Zen
Original title: 禅 Zen
Published: 2009
Length: 127 minutes

Director: Banmei Takahashi
Script: Banmei Takahashi, Tetsuo Ōtani
Music: Ryūdō Uzaki

Kankurō Nakamura: Dōgen
Yuki Uchida: Orin
Ryushin Tei: Jakuen / Kugyō Minamotono
Kengo Kōra: Shunryō
Ken'ichirō Yasui: Gikai
Jun Murakami: Ejō
Masanobu Katsumura: Yoshishige Hatano
Tatsuya Fujiwara: Tokiyori Hōjō
Tianyong Zheng: Nyōjō
Masahiko Nishimura: Setsu-ō
Shun Sugata: Kōnin
Shō Aikawa: Matsuzō
Takashi Sasano: Rōsō
Keiko Takahashi: Ishi


In the 13th century the monk Dogen (Kantaro Nakamura) strives after the true Buddhist teaching which he can't find his temple. He decides to travel to China where he is unsuccessful in his search at first, too. He eventually meets the monk Kugyo (Ryushin Tei) on his travels who introduces him to his teacher Ju-ching (Zheng Tianyong). From him Dogen learns the way of the Zen Buddhism until he reaches enlightenment after a few years and goes back to Japan with his new experience.
There he first has a hard time to establish his new and only true way of Buddhism. However, his patience and wisdom makes him gather a steadily rising number of disciples around him. Dogen is also supported by Kugyo and the converted monk Ejo (Jun Murakami), so that Dogen can easily survive a few throwbacks.
The local monk orders aren't happy about Dogen's new teaching and drive him off over and over again, but with the help of the nobleman Yoshishige Hatano (Masanobu Katsumura) the monk can finally build up a centre of Buddhist peace in Echizen from where he brings his teachings to such different individuals as the lady of easy virtue Orin (Yuki Uchida) or the regent Hojo Tokiyori (Tatsuya Fujiwara).