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Kenji Boys
The “Kenji” still alive and Well to this day

Gaku Tomikawa
Local Producer

Kenji Miyazawa was interested in a wide variety of studies, cultures, and natural providence, devoting his passion and ideas to these throughout his life. This series of stories features the young men of Iwate who perpetuate such creativity and spirituality in the modern world.


A daily dialogue with two people high above the clouds. 

“I’m now working as a producer to support local young people and entrepreneurs, creating graphic designs, packaging, websites, and videos, as well as producing videos, books, and products to communicate the appeal of Tōno. I hope to be able to give something back to Tōno and other parts of Iwate by bringing together people, things, and experiences.”

Until 5 years ago, Tomikawa was a desk jockey in a Tokyo ad agency. After relocating to Tōno as a founding member of a project to revitalize the region by luring in transplants, he fell in love with the rich culture of the land and has since been grafting as a local producer.

“Tōno is full of legends about the existence of the Zashiki Warashi or someone’s encounter with a kappa, and I couldn’t get enough of it. This land belies an endless crossover between our world and the other realm; I truly felt that I could enter into that story, and that it would be fun to learn about the long-held beliefs in nature and the wisdom that is so important for living. Right now, I’m assiduously researching “The Tōno Monogatari” and I’m even challenging myself to write a book about a real hunter who lived 400 years ago and appears in the story.”

Tomikawa came to admire Kunio Yanagita after discovering the Tōno Monogatari, but it was after he came to live in Iwate that he really kindled his interests in Kenji Miyazawa:

“Influenced by Kenji, I became interested not only in his creativity but also in minerals. The geology of Iwate is unique and interesting because it has moved over tens of thousands of years, and there are stones with strong magnetic force in the mountains where mountain priests practiced asceticism in the old days. I’m wondering if there is a link between the special power of mountain priests and the existence of abundant minerals and remain fixated on what lies beneath the ground in Iwate. Kunio Yanagida and Kenji Miyazawa. I’m very happy with my current activities, as if I’m having a dialogue with two people high above the clouds.”

Gaku Tomikawa
Born in Niigata Prefecture. After working for an advertising company in Tokyo, transplanted to Tōno in 2016. After participating in the launch of Next Commons Lab, he established his own production company, “Tomikawaya.” He is also the vice president of the Tōno Culture Friends Association and a board member of the Tōno City Tourism Association.

text | Miguel Utsunomiya Photography | Shuhei Tonami