Miyazawa Kenji

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Miyazawa Kenji

Kenji Miyazawa (宮 沢 賢治, Miyazawa Kenji ?, Hanamaki, Iwate Prefecture, August 27, 1896 – ibid., September 21, 1933) was a renowned poet and writer of Japanese children’s books , active during the last years of the Taishō era and the beginning of the Shōwa era. He was also a leading professor of agricultural sciences, cellist, devout Buddhist, vegetarian and utopian social activist.

Some of his best known works include Ginga Tetsudō no Yoru, Kaze no Matasaburō, Sero Hiki no Gōshu and Taneyamagahara no Yoru. Miyazawa converted to Nichiren Buddhism after reading the Lotus Sutra, which he saw as a guide for his personal life, and joined the Kokuchūkai, a Nichiren Buddhist organization. His religious and social beliefs created a wedge between him and his wealthy family, especially his father, although after his death his family would follow him and become also Nichiren Buddhism. Miyazawa founded the Rasu Farmers Association to improve the lives of the farmers in Iwate prefecture. He also spoke Esperanto and translated some of his poems into the language.

Miyazawa died of pneumonia in 1933. In life he was a relatively unknown poet, gaining recognition posthumously, enjoying a boom in the mid-1990s, on the centenary of his birth, a museum dedicated to his life and works was inaugurated in 1982 in his hometown of Hanamaki. Many of his children’s stories have been adapted to anime series, especially Ginga Tetsudō no Yoru. Many of his tanka and poetry in free verse have been translated into multiple languages ​​and are still popular today.

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