• Director Yujiro Seki

    My name is Yujiro Seki, and over the course of the past several years I singlehandedly planned, shot and edited a feature length documentary, called Carving the Divine.


    I had the rare opportunity to follow a guild of Buddhist sculptors from the studio of Būshi, Koun Seki, a former apprentice of the legendary Būshi, Kourin Saito. Master Seki is a pioneer in preserving and advancing the art of Būshi: He’s not only taken many apprentices under his wing; he’s also established a school for the Japanese public to learn the craft.


    I was also grateful to be able to feature one of Japan’s foremost Būshi, Kourin Saito himself. Grand Master Saito shows not only the craftsmanship, but also the passion and discipline it takes to master this demanding art form.


    Lastly, I was granted rare access into the life and rites of Buddhist priests, and especially those of Shigon, or “True Word” Buddhism. When I explained the import of the film, these priests granted me the honor and privilege of filming from within their alter area, a secretive space within temples that’s usually off limits to anyone outside the priestly class.

  • Publications and Media


    Carving the Buddha—the Same Way—for 1,400 Years: The director of “Carving The Divine” discusses how traditional Būshi sculptors in Japan preserve their craft.

    By Tricycle

    "I found that modern Būshi would be the perfect subject to put my heart into. Though many aspects of Japanese culture have been appreciated by the Western world, the Būshi tradition remains virtually unknown outside of Japan. Since my family had been in the Buddhist furniture and statues business for so long, I had access to the Būshi world. I knew my Japanese identity would allow me to make a movie few others could, and believed my American sensibility help me share it effectively with a Western audience."



    How To Complete An Innovative Documentary: Strategies From Filmmaker Yujiro Seki, Creator Of Carving The Divine

    By Authority Magazine

    "As a Japanese person, I felt that I had a responsibility to tell an authentic story of Japan, especially if the subject is about 1400 years of tradition. This is the precise reason why I took my time to complete Carving the Divine. I captured a tremendous amount of footage and organizing it was a pure nightmare. But, as I patiently made revision after revision, I felt great for so many years of work coming together."



    The Way of the Būshi Bridging Past and Present, East and West

    By Discover Nikkei: Japanese Migrants and their Descendants

    "These sculptures created by būshi are not mere crafts. They have a deep spiritual connection to the collective Japanese psyche. So if I can use skills, gained by straddling continents and cultures, to bridge peoples and preserve and enrich the spiritual significance of these sculptures, that would be a fantastic accomplishment, and one that will go far in mending my divided identity." (Spanish and Portuguese languages are available)




    Overcoming Obstacles With Japanese Filmmaker, Yujiro Seki

    By Thrive Global

    “I wanted to make something that speaks to my soul and to the world. I wanted to make a piece of work that would last long after I die. This is when I decided to work on the subject about the Buddhist sculptors of Japan, Būshi.”


  • Yujiro Seki

    Born and raised in Japan, Yujiro Seki discovered his passion for film-making when he was in high school. Through making his first feature film, Sokonashi Deka (The Enigmatic Detective), he became enamored with the imaginative possibilities of cinema and vowed to master the art through study in the United States. Despite the fact that starting a new life in a new country was a challenge in itself, Seki earned a BA in Film from the University of California, Berkeley, and completed a short film, Sashimi Taco, for his senior, honors thesis. Following his graduation, Seki moved to Los Angeles to work as a director of the video department for Intermarket Design, and as a film instructor at Montecito Fine Arts College of Design. After attaining permanent U.S. residency, Seki began studying full time in the Cinematography program at UCLA Extension. Upon graduating from that program, he embarked on the journey of making his feature documentary project, Carving the Divine:

    The Way of the Būshi, Buddhist Sculptors of Japan

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