TENSYSTEM Inc. is a Japanese production company. It was established in 2000 by Kunihiko Tanaka, a video journalist. The main purpose and theme of the company is to think about the human and earth through the Himalaya world. In other words, it believes the Himalaya reflects various aspects of the both.
I(Tanaka) have started to contact the Himalayan region in 1987 when I was a university student. I first visited Tibet and was totally fascinated by the landscape, Tibetan Buddhism culture and the local people with hospitality and sense of humor.
I went to Nepal the following year and trekked the Kumbu region where many 7-8000m peaks including Mt. Everest (Chomolungma / Sagarmatha) towered. Closely seeing Mt. Everest from Kala Patthar, I deeply felt the Universe. The high mountains impressed me a lot, but what impressed me the most was "humans."
In the mountains, I stayed at a small lodge run by a local family. When evening came down there, an old woman of the family prayed toward Mt. Thamserk, a sacred mountain. The white peak of the mountain was stained redly with sunset. She kept reciting Tibetan Buddhism sutra with silent voice, looking deeply at the mountain. Her figure was like "a sacred poem." I naturally hoped her very peaceful moment could be protected for all time.
The other impressive people were Tibetan refugees in a refugee community. I first leaned about so called "Tibet issue" from a British backpacker when I was traveling in Tibet the previous year. He also told me that many Tibetans fled for Nepal, crossing over the Himalayas each year. I really hoped to meet and talk to Tibetan refugees.
I visited a refugee community in Pokhara. The people clearly looked poor and made a living, selling Tibetan handicrafts. They honestly talked to me about how they escaped and felt about Tibet. I was totally shocked by their stories. Suddenly, big questions came to my mind: "Why I and many Japanese haven't known the very serious facts,", "Why the Japanese media hardly reported it?" (Later, working for a Japanese TV station, I understood the reason)
My honest "sympathy" toward the refugees and "anger" toward the media at that time later led to producing a documentary titled "Tibetan refugees: A Struggle Beyond Generations."
Through travel and coverage of the Himalayan region,I've got many Himalayan friends. In 2004, I was invited to the Himalaya Film Festival in Amsterdam. There, I could get to know Himalayan film directors from India, Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet. In 2006, thanks to many people's support, I as the executive director could hold the Himalaya Film Festival Tokyo 2006. My "Himalayan network" has been expanding.
It's been almost 20 years since I started to explore the Himalayan world, but it's only half done. I'll continue to cover it from my unique standpoint.
As always, I appreciate your continuing support for my activities.
TANAKA Kunihiko (2007)