Once and forever: the tales of Kenji Miyazawa

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Kodansha, 1993 - Fiction - 273 pages
The magic of Miyazawa's tales reaches out to people of all ages and lands. The sophisticated reader can savor them consciously as literature, while the younger reader can delight in them as imaginative stories that comment on and deepen his own experience. The underlying themes are universal, but the forms and treatment can be appreciated at many levels and vary subtly from piece to piece. The sheer storytelling skill is most evident in pieces like the joyful, innocent "Wildcat and the Acorns," or in a classic cautionary tale like "The Restaurant of Many Orders." But even a superficially whimsical tale like "the Earth-god and the Fox" can in a short span construct a genuinely moving little tragedy. "The Last Deer Dance," a fanciful account of the origins of a well-known folk dance, works its gentle way to a climax of pure poetry. "Tokkobe Torako" makes folk superstitions the basis for a piece of amusing farce in a historical setting. And in "The Wild Pear," what seem to be two slight nature sketches succeed in encapsulating some of the cruelty and compensations of life itself... Almost every story has something fresh to offer. Yet all the different elements merge into are transcended by, an impression of embracing compassion for living creatures; of wry humor; and above all of a passionate love of nature - in particular, the four seasons of Miyazawa's native northern Japan. Clear-sighted yet never sadistic and rarely sentimental, the tales taken as a whole present a view of life that is fresh and acceptable to the modern reader. By bringing together the best of them, this book seeks to place Miyazawa firmly in the special niche he deserves in the history of Japanese and world literature.

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About the author (1993)

Miyazawa (1896-1933) was a teacher, author, poet, and scientist. His writings reflect his deep commitment to Buddhism as well as his interest in Western technology.

The NIPPON BONSAI ASSOCIATION is the single largest public bonsai organization in Japan. Initially begun as the Kokufu Bonsai Kai in 1934, the association has become increasingly active in bonsai circles over the years. As an artistic and cultural ambassador, the association has sought to develop a
high standard and to foster a broader awareness of the art of bonsai. Toward this end the association sponsors the annual Kokufu Bonsai-ten (the largest bonsai exhibition in Japan), publishes such periodicals as Bonsai Shunju, and conducts lectures and seminars on bonsai technique in Japan and
abroad.
Currently, the association has more than 300 chapters nationwide with approximately 20,000 members and some 300 members in 30 countries throughout the world.
JOHN YOSHIO NAKA is one of the foremost authorities on bonsai in the West and author of Bonsai Techniques. HIDEO ARAGAKI is an awardwinning columnist. His collected essays for the magazine Bonsai Shunju appeared in book form under the title of Shizen to Jinsei (Nature and Life) in 1987. HIDEO
MARUSHIMA, a practicing lawyer, writes extensively on bonsai and suiseki for various Japanese publications. His Nihon Bonsai Bonseki Shiko(An Interpretative History of Bonsai and Suiseki) was published in 1982.
With the exception of ten years lecturing at the University of Tokyo, JOHN BESTER, a graduate of the School of Oriental and African Studies of London University, has devoted most of his time in Japan to translation. In particular, the many literary and other translations that he has undertaken for
Kodansha International have established him in the front rank of the field.

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