Studio DEEN of Fate/stay night are releasing an anime movie of the Buddhist text by Kentetsu Takamori, Naze Ikiru. Given the title Naze Ikiru -Rennyo Shonin to Yoshizaki Enjo- (Why We Live: The Priest Rennyo and the Yoshizaki Fire), the film will open in cinemas in Japan on May 21st and share the story of Ryoken. A young man wallowing in his grief, hatred and misfortune in life, he comes across the teachings of the holy priest Rennyo, giving the answer to “why we live” as passed down by the monk Shinran. Finding new meaning from this lesson, Ryoken becomes Rennyo’s apprentice, choosing to devote himself to worship and casting off his despair.
Hideaki Oba of Pandalian directs from a script by Takamori himself, co-written with Kiyoto Wada. Masaaki Kannan of Hetalia – Axis Powers designed the characters, and Suurkiitos is distributing the film. The cast includes Kotaro Satomi, known for portraying Hercule Poirot in Agatha Christie no Meitantei Poirot to Marple, in his first anime film role as Rennyo, and co-starring beside him is Katsuyuki Konishi as Ryoken.
The original book published by Ichimannendo sold one million copies in Japanese. This led to the text receiving an English translation, which is available under the title You Were Born for a Reason: The Real Purpose of Life, and summarised as follows:
You Were Born for a Reason has already sold more than half a million copies in its publication in Japanese as Naze ikiru, and is still going strong.
Life is vaguely pleasant in its way, and fulfilling.
But at the same time it is a disappointment, especially when one’s routine is the same day after day.
There is a nagging sense of emptiness.
In the middle of busy days, a sudden void opens in the heart, and thoughts arise:
My life was never meant to be this way.
What if it goes on like this to the bitter end?
What’s the point?
Shouldn’t there be something more?
We lose ourselves in work, love, family, or leisure, and we come to believe that these pursuits give us a reason for living, but only as long as we forget the shadow of death.
Why is our happiness always mixed with sadness?
Where can we find true happiness that will never fade away?
What is there in life that will never betray us, that we can devote ourselves to without regret?
These age-old questions cry out for clear answers.
You Were Born for a Reason addresses these questions head-on. It shows, through the prism of Shinran’s words, that human life has a definite purpose that must be accomplished, and that human life is infinitely precious and valuable. It points readers toward the way to attaining the true purpose of life.
Update: The Japanese film news site Cinema Today has shared the trailer for Naze Ikiru, and you can also find it streaming on the film’s official website. Anime News Network gave this placid preview the translation you’ll find below the video.
Ryoken: It’s my fault…
Text: Why do people live?
Rennyo: For what reason were we born?
Text: Kotaro Satomi as Rennyo
Rennyo: For what reason are we living?
Text: After 800 years, the truth of history is revealed!
Man: It’s the soldiers!
Text: The astonishing Naze Ikiru book that has over one million copies in print is finally adapted to film!
Soldier: Where is Rennyo!?
Logo: Naze Ikiru