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The Manga Biography of Kenji Miyazawa, Author of "Night of the Milky Way Railway"

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Kenji Miyazawa (1896 1933) is one of Japan's most beloved writers and poets. He has recently become known as the unofficial poet laureate of the tsunami-stricken districts of northern Japan. Some of you may know him from his fantasy novel "Night of the Milky Way Railway" (or the anime version, "Night on the Galactic Railroad"). Others may know him from his short stories, s Kenji Miyazawa (1896 1933) is one of Japan's most beloved writers and poets. He has recently become known as the unofficial poet laureate of the tsunami-stricken districts of northern Japan. Some of you may know him from his fantasy novel "Night of the Milky Way Railway" (or the anime version, "Night on the Galactic Railroad"). Others may know him from his short stories, such as "The Restaurant of Many Orders." Still others will know him from his poetry, such as "Someone who is unfazed by the rain." Some have enjoyed the anime "Spring and Chaos," which beautifully depicts the world of creativity and imagination in which he lived as a mature artist. Few in the English-speaking world, however, know the full story of his life in any detail. This is precisely the story told in "The Manga Biography of Kenji Miyazawa, Author of Night of the Milky Way Railway." From being a somewhat odd child, to his early empathy for others, to his passion for rock collecting, mountain climbing, and the beauty of nature, to his study of soil sciences and fertilizers, his awakening to fantasy literature, poetry, and music, to the devastating loss of his sister, his religious conflicts with his father, his vegetarianism, his heroic and sometime quixotic efforts to come to the aid of impoverished local farmers, and, finally, to his failing health and eventual death at the age of thirty-seven -- all this and more is graphically depicted in this marvelous manga devoted to the short but full life of Kenji Miyazawa. "Upon finishing the book, I found myself moved to tears." Michael, Goodreads "--absolutely wonderful little book." Maria Papova, brainpicker "Brief, but surprisingly complex and information-rich." Ed Sizemore, Manga Worth Reading "--essential." David Cozy, Japan Times


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Kenji Miyazawa (1896 1933) is one of Japan's most beloved writers and poets. He has recently become known as the unofficial poet laureate of the tsunami-stricken districts of northern Japan. Some of you may know him from his fantasy novel "Night of the Milky Way Railway" (or the anime version, "Night on the Galactic Railroad"). Others may know him from his short stories, s Kenji Miyazawa (1896 1933) is one of Japan's most beloved writers and poets. He has recently become known as the unofficial poet laureate of the tsunami-stricken districts of northern Japan. Some of you may know him from his fantasy novel "Night of the Milky Way Railway" (or the anime version, "Night on the Galactic Railroad"). Others may know him from his short stories, such as "The Restaurant of Many Orders." Still others will know him from his poetry, such as "Someone who is unfazed by the rain." Some have enjoyed the anime "Spring and Chaos," which beautifully depicts the world of creativity and imagination in which he lived as a mature artist. Few in the English-speaking world, however, know the full story of his life in any detail. This is precisely the story told in "The Manga Biography of Kenji Miyazawa, Author of Night of the Milky Way Railway." From being a somewhat odd child, to his early empathy for others, to his passion for rock collecting, mountain climbing, and the beauty of nature, to his study of soil sciences and fertilizers, his awakening to fantasy literature, poetry, and music, to the devastating loss of his sister, his religious conflicts with his father, his vegetarianism, his heroic and sometime quixotic efforts to come to the aid of impoverished local farmers, and, finally, to his failing health and eventual death at the age of thirty-seven -- all this and more is graphically depicted in this marvelous manga devoted to the short but full life of Kenji Miyazawa. "Upon finishing the book, I found myself moved to tears." Michael, Goodreads "--absolutely wonderful little book." Maria Papova, brainpicker "Brief, but surprisingly complex and information-rich." Ed Sizemore, Manga Worth Reading "--essential." David Cozy, Japan Times

21 review for The Manga Biography of Kenji Miyazawa, Author of "Night of the Milky Way Railway"

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Kenji Miyazawa (1896-1933) was one of Japan's most beloved writers and poets. This poem was found after his death at the age of 37. Be not defeated by the rain, nor let the wind prove your better. Succumb not to the snows of winter. Nor be bested by the heat of summer. Be strong in body. Unfettered by desire. Not enticed to anger. Cultivate a quiet joy. Count yourself last in everything. Put others before you. Watch well and listen closely. Hold the learned lessons dear. A thatch-roof house, in a mead Kenji Miyazawa (1896-1933) was one of Japan's most beloved writers and poets. This poem was found after his death at the age of 37. Be not defeated by the rain, nor let the wind prove your better. Succumb not to the snows of winter. Nor be bested by the heat of summer. Be strong in body. Unfettered by desire. Not enticed to anger. Cultivate a quiet joy. Count yourself last in everything. Put others before you. Watch well and listen closely. Hold the learned lessons dear. A thatch-roof house, in a meadow, nestled in a pine grove’s shade. A handful of rice, some miso, and a few vegetables to suffice for the day. If, to the East, a child lies sick: go forth and nurse him to health. If, to the West, an old lady stands exhausted: go forth, and relieve her of burden. If, to the South, a man lies dying: go forth with words of courage to dispel his fear. If, to the North, an argument or fight ensues: Go forth and beg them stop such a waste of effort and of spirit. In times of drought, shed tears of sympathy. In summers cold, walk in concern and empathy. Stand aloof of the unknowing masses: Better dismissed as useless than flattered as a “Great Man.” This is my goal, the person I strive to become.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Serdar

    Another one I forgot to add earlier. Marginal artwork, and the story is related with little imagination in the retelling, but the facts of Miyazawa's life are moving anyway. For a far more spellbinding treatment of the same material, go track down the short film "Spring and Chaos." Another one I forgot to add earlier. Marginal artwork, and the story is related with little imagination in the retelling, but the facts of Miyazawa's life are moving anyway. For a far more spellbinding treatment of the same material, go track down the short film "Spring and Chaos."

  3. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Kenji Miyazawa was a Japanese agriculturist, social activist, author, and poet. I would easily count him amongst the most admirable individuals I have have read of. People go on and on about the "tragedy" of the young deaths of people such as James Dean, Janis Joplin, etc... Keni Miyazawa's death at the age of 37 was greater tragedy than all of them combined. He was a pacifist, a vegetarian, a devout Buddhist, and a loving brother. Upon finishing the book, I found myself moved to tears. I cannot Kenji Miyazawa was a Japanese agriculturist, social activist, author, and poet. I would easily count him amongst the most admirable individuals I have have read of. People go on and on about the "tragedy" of the young deaths of people such as James Dean, Janis Joplin, etc... Keni Miyazawa's death at the age of 37 was greater tragedy than all of them combined. He was a pacifist, a vegetarian, a devout Buddhist, and a loving brother. Upon finishing the book, I found myself moved to tears. I cannot honestly find the words to convey my admiration for Miyazawa. Below is Kenji's most well known poem. Presented at the end of the book, it was written in 1931 during his illness, but not discovered until after his death. Someone who is unfazed by the rain, undaunted by the wind, unbowed by the snow or the summer sun. Who is sound of body, who wants nothing for himself, and who never gives in to anger, but is always smiling quietly within. Someone who eats eight bowls of brown rice a day, simple farmers’ fare, with a bowl of miso soup and a vegetable or two. In all things he never takes himself into account, always learns by watching and listening to others, and never forgets. He lives in a thatched hut in a meadow in the shadow of a pine grove, and if there is a sick child in the east, goes to care for that child. And if there is a mother overwhelmed by work in the west, goes to carry her bundles of rice. If someone is dying in the south, goes and says there is nothing to fear. If there is a dispute or lawsuit in the north, goes and says to stop being petty. And when there is a drought, he sheds tears. And when there is a cold spell in summer, he paces anxiously back and forth. Someone who is known far and wide as a dreamer and never praised, but is not a nuisance to anyone either ... That is the kind of person I would like to be.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bridgett

    I have never read anything by this writer, though I hope to someday. He sounds like he was a very good and kind man.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Latifah Eyksina

  6. 4 out of 5

    Chris Cabrera

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jack

  8. 5 out of 5

    Noel Arnold

  9. 4 out of 5

    Karene

  10. 5 out of 5

    Pio Perez

  11. 5 out of 5

    TEELOCK Mithilesh

  12. 5 out of 5

    Marina84

  13. 5 out of 5

    Raven

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jon Holt

  15. 4 out of 5

    abcdefg

  16. 5 out of 5

    Edward

  17. 4 out of 5

    No

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tin

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rose

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jaelyn Vallot

  21. 5 out of 5

    Alberto Andrade

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