Synopsis by Eleanor Mannikka
This docudrama by Kon Ichikawa is based on a real-life incident that took place in 1950. The Temple of the Golden Pavilion (also the title of a novel on the subject by Yukio Mishima) rests in the northern hills of Kyoto. The original pavilion was a villa constructed by the Shogun Yoshimitsu (1358-1409) as a place for leisurely relaxation. After he died, the gold-leafed building was given over for religious use as a temple. As this drama relates, a stuttering temple acolyte who loved the building and all the sacred meaning it held, burnt it to the ground. The crazed young man (played by Raizo Ichikawa) believed that Buddhism had become too commercialized after World War II, had sold out its ideals, in fact. His slow descent into mental instability and his final act of arson are the topic of this film. Whereas most Westerners might require more explanation, the story in this drama as it stands would already be known to the average Japanese audience.
Japanese [nationality], priest, temple, arson, Buddhism, commercialism, corruption
High Artistic Quality