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Once and Forever: The Tales of Kenji Miyazawa

Miyazawa, Kenji

Published by Kodansha Amer Inc, 1997
ISBN 10: 4770021844 / ISBN 13: 9784770021847
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About the Book

Bibliographic Details

Title: Once and Forever: The Tales of Kenji ...

Publisher: Kodansha Amer Inc

Publication Date: 1997

Binding: Soft cover

Book Condition: Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good


edge wear, scuffing to dust jacket, covers. pages are lightly age toned, but unmarked. binding tight. Bookseller Inventory # 039703

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Synopsis: It is time that Kenji Miyazawa, long recognized as a writer of genius in his own country, enjoyed the same reputation abroad. Are his fables, in which acorns quarrel and flowers fret about losing their looks, written for children or adults? They are for both: for adventurous young minds, but also for older readers in whom the spark of curiosity, combined with a taste for fantasy and a love of language, is still alight.

This collection, appearing for the first time in paperback, brings together the best of his stories. They range from cautionary tales to small prose poems, from social satire to unmistakable tragedy. All share an intense delight in the natural world -- a sense of oneness with other living creatures and with the vast universe around us.

Miyazawa is entirely original. No other Japanese writer, before or since, has told stories as fresh in detail but universal in scope as this man who lived and died, still young, in Japan's far north.

About the Author: Kenji Miyazawa was born in 1896 in Iwate, one of the northernmost prefectures of Japan and a land of heavy snows and barren soil.

During his high-school years, he studied Zen Buddhism, and was to carry a copy of the Lotus Sutra with him for the rest of his life. Around this time, he also began to write his own simple but passionate brand of poetry.

Three years after graduating from an agricultural college, he went to Tokyo with the aim of making writing his profession, but he soon returned to help look after a sick sister. After she died, he took a teaching position in his home town, and though he subsequently made numerous trips to Tokyo in connection with his literary efforts, Iwate remained his home.

There he organized a children's club and held record concerts. He became interested in the cello and the organ, trying to teach himself but eventually taking lessons in both instruments; he also learned Esperanto.

Miyazawa's days were devoted to using his background in agronomy to instruct and help the local farmers, while at night he practiced his music and wrote. When his health failed in 1929, he was bedridden for a year, but he was soon exploring new interests, including mathematics and calligraphy.

He died of a lung infection in 1933.

The translator, John Bester, is one of the foremost translators of Japanese fiction. In 1990 he received the first Noma Translation Award for his English version of a short-story collection by Yukio Mishima entitled Acts of Worship.

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