[Call for Film Review] The Buddha Mummies of North Japan

February 17 Update: We have received review proposal for the documentary. Thank you for your interest!

The Canadian Journal of Buddhist Studies is accepting review of the documentary The Buddha Mummies of North Japan by Shayne Dahl and Satoshi Watanabe (color, 20 min, 2017).

About the documentary

At select temples throughout northeastern Japan, the robed bodies of self-mummified Buddhist monks are worshipped as “Living Buddhas.” They are thought to heal the sick, protect the living, and continue to inspire monks with the intense dedication of their ascetic discipline centuries before.

The Buddha Mummies of North Japan includes interviews with the monks who attend to these “Living Buddhas,” descriptions of the dieting regime and austerities required in order to self-mummify, and a rare redressing ritual in which the robes of the mummies are cut into talismans for devotees.

This is the first independent documentary to capture these mummified monks on film, to observe key ceremonies of their 12-year ritual cycle, and to present interviews with leading scholars on this rare form of contemporary Buddhism.  

Subject Areas

Buddhism, Religious Studies, Ritual, Asian Studies  

Selected Screenings

Best Cinematography, Documentary Short Film Festival
Best Documentary, University of Toronto Film Festival
Best Graduate Student Film, SVA Film Festival
Royal Anthropological Institute Film Festival
Taiwan International Ethnographic Film Festival
Society for the Anthropology of Religion Biennial Conference
Association of Asian Studies Annual Meeting

Submission guidelines

Interested reviewers are welcome to contact our Book Review Editor, Jacqueline Ho, at jdho@mtroyal.ca for the screening link, password, and other information.

The film review submission deadline for CJBS Issue 16 (2021) is April 1, 2021.

Featured image by Documentary Educational Resources

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