The Life of Confucius is a fascinating docu-drama produced in full animation It is the first film to be coproduced between Japan, Korea and Taiwan.
Our story is set in ancient China, a period in which numerous kingdoms rose and fell and incessant war brought disturbance and turmoil to the land.
In 551 B.C., Confucius was born in the small kingdom of Lu. He was an illegitimate offspring of a military general of the kingdom Lu and the daughter of a shaman. His father died when Confucius was only three years old and left Confucius to grow up suppressed and disdained as an illicit child. While Confucius suffered hardships making a living, he gradually began to develop a deep doubt: "why are there so many wars? Why is life so painful?"
During this period of time, a myriad of thinkers appeared in China, one after another. Each tried to solve the problems of warfare by different methods - some through politics, others through the power of money, religion or simply by renouncing the world.
As Confucius grew and developed, and thought his various experiences, he found that the answer to these eternal questions lies in "li", the Chinese word for courtesy. Confucius though that the ideal society could only be realized by establishing rules based on morals that would remain forever unchanged.
Confucius' scholarship and administrative abilities gradually became known ot the world and disciples from various kingdoms began to gather around him. Confucius was invited to lead the Kingdom of Lu as it's new Premier.
As Premier, Confucius began to renovate the entire internal structure of politics and diplomacy in Lu. He applied this theory of "li" and started to work, with great determination, towards the realization of an ideal society. The minds of the people of Lu immediately became stable, the economy prospered and the kingdom became a great threat to neighboring kingdoms.
Qi tried to conquer Lu, but repulsed by the nimble tactics of Confucius, conceded its regions to Lu. Qi thought that Lu was unrivaled in military power, and hence developed a scheme to bring the downfall of Confucius. 80 beautiful women were sent to Lu to emasculating the King of Lu and this plot of lust was successful. Confucius was obliged to resign as the King of Lu and the estranged Confucius no longer captivated the attention of the people.
Confucius and his disciples set forth on a journey through various kingdoms. His quest was to find a great king and to once again realize his ideals under this great king's throne. Confucius never found this great King of his dreams.
At the age of 68, after wandering for 10 years, he returned to Lu where he edited two famous books which were written in the previous dynasty. He also compiled the history of the Kingdom of Lu.
© 1995 NHK ENTERPRISES 21/ JAPAN/KBS - KOREA/ PTV - TAIWAN
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