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No.65 — IWATE(2021)

Cultivating a Quiet Joy

Lucas B.B.



In this issue of Papersky we welcome you to the wondrous world of Kenji Miyazawa’s Ihatov. The Dreamland that author, philosopher, scientist, musician, record collector, vegetarian, and utopian social activist Kenji Miyazawa created based on his home state of Iwate.

Despite Kenji’s deep knowledge of the world, science and his awesome creativity; to many he is no more than a rusty old author of children’s literature whose name appears in Japanese textbooks. It’s our hope to update Kenji’s image to the true Philosophical, Genius, Hipster he is. And most importantly to share his grand vision to a peaceful life in the universe for all people with true equality amongst all living beings and an utmost respect for the natural environment.

To do this we travel to Iwate, visiting locations that influenced Kenji’s thinking and stories. We begin our exploration in his birth town of Hanamaki. Next up, we travel into the story The Night of the Oakwood which takes us to the Mount Hayachine area. From here it’s onto the town of Tono and into Kenji’s fantasy The Story of the the Zashiki Bokko. And we wrap things up by diving into Gauche the Cellist in Morioka before jumping on The Night on the Milky Way Train in the Sanriku area.

Kenji Miyazawa in his creation of Ihatov and through his stories, poems and essays was not only an astoundingly talented writer but he was a 21st Century visionary born in the 19th century. He was quietly writing while contently chuckling about a vision to enhance the welfare of all people everywhere. The constant theme running through all his work is interconnection: We are all connected to each other as well as to every natural phenomenon on Earth and in the universe. 

In short, his worldwide view is cosmic. He sees every object or phenomenon on Earth, organic or inorganic as being linked to all else both on this planet and in the universe. He is the grandaddy of chaos theory. And if read carefully one will notice his work cultivates a quiet joy to help Japan prosper into a more humanistic future. 

A trip to Ihatov, Iwate, to take in its day-to-day life, culture and people, and to straddle the worlds of Miyazawa Kenji and the present day. Our guests for the trip are Izumi Shiokawa, illustrator and lover of Kenji's literature, and musician Kojima Keitany Love.
text | Lucas B.B. photography | Shuhei Tonami