Interview: Inheriting traditional Tibetan culture not only promotes regional revitalization, says Japanese director

(Xinhua) 15:01, May 23, 2021

Photo taken on July 17, 2020 shows Tibetan antelopes near Rongmar Township of Nyima County at the Qiangtang National Nature Reserve in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region. (Xinhua/Chogo)

TOKYO, May 23 (Xinhua) -- "The inheritance of traditional Tibetan culture as a way to get rid of poverty, and fostering a new industry through the inheritance of Thang-ka painting technology, so as to promote the region's revitalization and development, is such a great deed," said Japanese documentary director Takashi Inoue.

He made the remarks in an interview with Xinhua in Tokyo about his work, a China-Japan co-produced documentary called "The land of sky, home of the Thang-ka painters," which was re-broadcast on NHK on Sunday.

Born in 1952, Inoue graduated from Waseda University and started working in NHK in 1976, focusing on filming documentaries in the areas of history, culture, art and others. He currently works as an honorary professor at Tokyo University of the Arts and a columnist.

When the documentary "The land of sky, home of the Thang-ka painters" was broadcast on various channels of NHK in March, the exquisite art of Thang-ka and the story of young Tibetan people's unremitting effort and self-improvement struggle have moved many Japanese audiences, winning a good reputation for the documentary.

Japanese viewers have been giving the documentary high marks on social media.

"I have a goal to see the real Thang-ka before I die!" "These young people who do not give up to the environment or the climate, who can embrace their dreams in the face of adversity and grow tenaciously are really remarkable. It is really a tour de force," they commented.

Speaking about the reasons for the popularity of the documentary among Japanese audiences, Inoue said that they are very interested in Tibetan culture, and the stories of the documentary's hero and heroine are very touching.

"Through the hard work and study at the art institute, the heroine became a well-known technician of Thang-ka craft and ushered in a great change in life. The hero, who used to be a 'troubled teenager,' cleansed his spirit and created a brand new self through painting. Their struggle and growth are themes that resonate with not only Chinese and Japanese audiences, but also global audiences," the director said.

Inoue said the documentary also conveyed his new understanding of China that China is always committed to cultural preservation.

In the 1990s, Inoue traveled almost all over China for a documentary series on China's reform and opening up. He said he has witnessed China's changes firsthand.

Inoue said that what deserves attention is China's inheritance and protection of traditional culture.

"In the process of modernization, it is easy to gradually ignore some traditional cultures. I have noticed that the Chinese government has made great efforts in cultural protection to revitalize traditional culture. It's a great deed. More and more people are recognizing the value of traditional Tibetan culture," he said.

Inoue said he believes that to pass on painting skills and protect traditional culture is not only the revitalization of culture, but also the revival of tradition and a way to get rid of poverty.

The persistence and efforts of Tibetan youths in inheriting traditional culture are touching, he said. "I want to be able to pass on these emotions to Japan and hope that young Japanese people can get inspirations from them."

"The world China will face in the future may be more complicated, but there is no doubt that reform and opening up have borne fruitful results in China," said the Japanese director.

"On May 20, we started filming the documentary 'Return of the antiques,' which is a cooperation with China," the director said with great anticipation. Enditem

(Web editor: Meng Bin, Bianji)


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