Sunday, March 13, 2011

miyazawa kenji

Yesterday afternoon I started watching Fuji TV, streaming live with non-stop coverage of the unfolding disasters. Watching the coverage by reporters embedded in what used to be towns up and down the Pacific coast, I had to think of Miyazawa Kenji, a poet, writer (of children's books), agronomist, astronomer, and vegetarian Buddhist. Kenji was born in Hanamaki, in Iwate prefecture, and died there in 1933 at age 37. He devoted the last ten years of his life to trying to better the lives of impoverished peasants in his home prefecture. I love Kenji's writings and admire his life. It was a thrill to live in his 'homeland' of Ihatov for my last 10 or so years in Japan. Kenji also studied Esperanto. Ihatov is the Esperanto version of the prefecture's name.