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Quote and Person of the day - Kenji Miyazawa

“We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.”⠀– Kenji Miyazawa

Miyazawa, born 1896 was a Japanese novelist and poet of children's literature.⠀

Born into a wealthy pawnbroker’s family in rural Iwate, Japan, Miyazawa rejected his inheritance and embraced Nichiren Buddhism after reading the Lotus Sutra, spending several months living rough and proselyting on the streets of Tokyo. He also taught himself Esperanto despite spending most of his life in the countryside. Known as an eccentric, his ideas were not always accepted, as when he encouraged local farmers to grow with natural pesticides based on his studies of agronomy.⠀

Sensitive and compassionate, he also wrote poetry from his teens, and many of his poems are also considered classics. Profoundly affected by his younger sister’s death at only 24, Miyazawa returned to his hometown and devoted himself to his local area, teaching science at an agricultural high school. In his poem “The Morning of Last Farewell,” Miyazawa writes “You are truly bidding farewell on this day O my brave little sister Burning up pale white and gentle”.⠀

Miyazawa is best-known for the beloved short novel, “Night on the Galactic Railroad,” in which two friends catch a train to the stars and explore the cosmos together. It’s a gorgeous, complicated work that shares Miyazawa’s altruistic worldview, intersecting threads of friendship and tragedy, and care for the galaxy with care for our souls.⠀

At 37, Miyazawa died of pneumonia. Almost totally unknown as a poet in his lifetime, Kenji's work gained its reputation posthumously, and enjoyed a boom by the mid-1990s.⠀

Miyazawa believed that the spirit of Japanese people would die if they did not continue to recognize beauty and find happiness in concord with nature. He saw that humans, birds, insects, all creatures will pass on, and that it is the trees and the light and the wind that transport their messages into the future.

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