Chiken, a young Buddhist monk from the Yamanashi region of Japan, has dedicated his life to serving the local community. For example, he teaches people about sustainable food consumption and mans a suicide helpline. In the meantime, his old friend Ryogyo – also a monk – is helping out in Fukushima, working on the reconstruction of the region hard hit by the tsunami of 2011, which devastated Ryogo's temple and the lives of the inhabitants. The two monks face the socio-economic consequences of the recent past and wonder aloud what is the right way to carry on living.
More than fifteen years after his debut Above the Clouds, in which Chiken also plays the lead role, filmmaker Tomita Katsuya returns to the same character in this docudrama that imperceptibly mixes fictional elements with real events and situations. This makes Tenzo a very special work that beautifully depicts the modern lives of these two monks dedicated to service.