Japanese monk Ryushin Takiyama was recently featured in a video clip set in a meditation hall at Koyasan Ekoin Temple in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan. The video, which mixes traditional postures with carefully choreographed dance moves, is set to an electronic dance music track titled “Sutra Remix” by composer Kenta Higashioji. Takiyama has teamed up with Japanese candy company Morinaga and the video features their Ramune candies as part of the routine.
Takiyama is accompanied by a group of students from Koyasan High School dressed in Buddhist robes. The video begins with a view of the huge main entrance to the temple, with towering Dharma protectors towering over a lone monk, who stands at the central gate. Onlookers then see shots of the temple courtyard and of students marching in formation. The music begins slowly as the camera follows inside the meditation room. Takiyama moves serenely through the high school students, who face each other with their hands held in prayer.
As the music changes to a faster tempo, Takiyama begins her dance, mixing elements of street dance with traditional Buddhist gestures. A student is seen taking a candy to the beat of the bass, and then the students also start dancing.
The video was made to encourage students in Japan as they prepare for the upcoming entrance exams with a ceremony known as the “Success Prayer Dance” (合格 祈願 ダ ン ス; gōkaku kigan dansu). Japanese high schools are known to be among the most stressful in the world, with nearly a third of students showing moderate to severe symptoms of depression in 2021.
Japan’s strict restrictions on COVID-19 over the past two years have made matters even more difficult. A high school student from Aichi Prefecture told investigators, “Except for classes, all other school activities have been canceled. How come some adults have told schools to forbid students to go out, but these same adults do whatever they want? I can’t understand this. (Japanese)
The video debuted on December 19 and has been viewed some 45,000 times at the time of writing. As part of the campaign, a representative from the Morinaga company brought Ramune candies to the temple to be blessed. Students were encouraged to participate in a Twitter campaign from December 24 to January 4, and 100 were selected to receive the blessed candy.
This is not the first music video directed by Takiyama, a performing arts graduate from Kyoto University of the Arts. He has performed on Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy” and Sam Smith and Normani’s “Dancing with a Stranger” in recent videos. He also created the Koyasan Dance Project to showcase his combined interests in Buddhist practice and contemporary dance.
The global pandemic has reached 300.2 million cases with some 5.47 million deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins Resource Center. Japan, like many countries in East Asia, is doing relatively well compared to the United States and many countries in Europe. So far, the country has recorded 1,741,837 confirmed cases and 18,395 deaths. Japan recently tightened restrictions on travel and social activities in response to the community spread of the omicron variant.
Real Buddhist monk shows hot (and sweet) EDM dance moves in Mount Koya video (Sora News 24)
Japanese monk ’tilted’ his roof to EDM music to cheer on college dead (NewsBeezer)
Japanese Buddhist monk dances on EDM in candy ad to bless students taking exams (The smart room)
Koyasan dance project
Koyasan Ekoin Temple
Almost a third of Japanese high school students show symptoms of depression (Japanese)
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