The Young Bamboo Master
FILMMAKER MUSHI tells the story of Takayuki Shimizu, A.K.A Zu Sensei.
This is the first episode of the series ‘Microperspectives’. Firstly, this project aims to tell stories of artists through the form of a mini-documentary. Many documentaries or shorts, I find myself watching and feeling that they only ‘tell stories’ from the director or the writer’s perspective (which is not a problem if that is their purpose). However, in this series I aim to ‘tell stories’ from the artists’ own perspective. To do this, I need to understand them as a person, and their vision as well as passion. This cannot not happen in one shoot. I’ve had to develop a personal relationship with many of the artists in order to interpret and transfer their meaning of life into my editing and videography. I’ve been grateful to have met many of these artists and to have worked with them. They are full of positivity, creativity, love and care and I strongly believe these characteristics are not only the bi-products of true sharing but also its prerequisites.
Takayuki Shimizu a.k.a. ‘Zu Sensei’ is a well known young bamboo master living in Beppu, a hot-spring haven city in southern Japan. I met him while attending a bamboo weaving workshop and he was our teacher. Up until this event, I’ve been making musically infused art-house type videos, but I had been wanting to create videos that also tell a story ‘verbally’ through mini-documentaries. This seemed like a great starting point and I found myself asking whether he would be up for taking part in this project. He initially rejected due to his busy schedule (Zu Sensei was flying to Belgium for his exhibition and workshop in a couple of days). Nonetheless, he came back and invited me to have tea with him at his house/workshop the next morning for a couple of hours.
In this tea session, our discussion started with the basics of bamboo and how he has come to live in the world of bamboo. After hearing his history, I was curious to find out how this individual with a business degree had come to walk the path of a craftsman. As we conversed, I started to understand that this is no form of cause and effect. He was about the here and the now. His path of bamboo is not only like breathing (a natural process needed for survival) but also full of pleasure. These two aspects together create this beautiful ‘flow’, when we are simply ‘being’ with not only enjoyment but also a conscious appreciation.
At first, this way of life may seem simple and easy, but we cannot and should not ignore that this ‘simplicity’ can only be achieved through sustained hard-work and dedication. He believes in the beauty he creates and shares this passion to those around him. This is why you can feel a sense of uplifting as well as tranquility when being in his presence, his aura is full of it. The aforementioned ‘flow’ to describe him is not natural to a being nor is it a permanent state. It is a path that one has taken and have polished after years of practice and dedication. There is a choice to walk this path of life and this path is for anyone, me and you.