Kenji Miyazawa

Kenji Miyazawa is a Japanese writer who lived from 1896 to 1933. He mainly wrote short stories with animals as protagonists; these fairy-tales make him one of the most widely read writers in Japanese schools, and his stories are often published in the form of picture books.

Kenji Miyazawa was born in the village of Hanamaki in Iwate Prefecture in the north of Japan. He also spent most of his life there, working as as a teacher. He had very broad interests – he studied Buddhism, was interested in agriculture (he even founded an association supporting sustainable development in Hanamaki), and studied foreign languages – English and Esperanto. He also studied music.

He was very close with his sister who died at an early age. Some of the poems in Haru to shura collection were dedicated to her.

Kenji Miyazawa dreamed of a literary career, he was not appreciated during his lifetime. He spent the end of his life in poverty, which unfortunately negatively impacted his health, and he died of pneumonia at a young age. Some of his works, including the poem Ame ni mo makezu (“Strong in the Rain”), were accidentally found in Miyazawa’s notebook. It has become his best-known work.

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