This is a short film in NHK’s Japanology series dealing with the types of so-called ‘Buddha’ statue in Japan. I put Buddha in brackets as it is more correctly identified as Buddhist, including Bodhisattva, guardians and gods, besides dedicated Buddha statues.
Be that as it may the film provides a reasonable overview of the subject and shows some of the best of the surviving works. One thing of interest that I didn’t realise before is that over 80% of Japanese Buddhist Statues are made of wood.
The program is helped along by a student of the genre, Yasumi Miyazawa, who provides some interesting information on the statues that are examined; and also by Kokei Eri, who is an artist still working in the living tradition.
The film, however, is not helped much by the anchorman, who admits to being atheist, or the interloper at around halfway stage, who introduces replicas on sale in Tokyo, which seems more like an advert than an integrated piece of reporting.