Kenji Miyazawa

Japanese poet and author of children's literature (1896-1933)

Kenji Miyazawa (27 August 1896 – 21 September 1933) was a Japanese poet and author.

Kenji Miyazawa (late 1920s)

Quotes edit

  • In spring I stopped eating the bodies of living things. Nonetheless, the other day I ate several slices of tuna sashimi as a form of magic to “undertake” my “communication” with “society.” I also stirred a cup of chawanmushi with a spoon. If the fish, while being eaten, had stood behind me and watched, what would he have thought? “I gave up my only life and this person is eating my body as if it were something distasteful.” “He’s eating me in anger.” “He’s eating me out of desperation.” “He’s thinking of me and, while quietly savoring my fat with his tongue, praying, ‘Fish, you will come with me as my companion some day, won’t you?’” “Damn! He’s eating my body!” Well, different fish would have had different thoughts. … Suppose I were the fish, and suppose that not only I were being eaten but my father were being eaten, my mother were being eaten, and my sister were also being eaten. And suppose I were behind the people eating us, watching. “Oh, look, that man has torn apart my sibling with chopsticks. Talking to the person next to him, he swallowed her, thinking nothing of it. Just a few minutes ago her body was lying there, cold. Now she must be disintegrating in a pitch-dark place under the influence of mysterious enzymes. Our entire family have given up our precious lives that we value, we’ve sacrificed them, but we haven’t won a thimbleful of pity from these people.” I must have been once a fish that was eaten.
    • Letter to Hosaka (May 1918); as quoted in Miyazawa Kenji: Selections, edited by Hiroaki Sato (University of California Press, 2007), pp. 12-13.
  • Buddhism's starting point is that all living things, we who are so full of pain and sadness, together with all these living things, want to liberate ourselves from this state of pain. … All living things have been repeating transmigration for immeasurable kalpa. … Sometimes a soul perceives itself as a human. At other times it is born in a beast, that is, what we call an animal. … As a result, the living things around us are all our parents and children, brothers and sisters, as they have been for a long time. People of different religions will think this idea too serious and terrifying. [Indeed] this is a serious world to a terrifying degree.
    • The Great Vegetarian Festival (1934); as quoted in Miyazawa Kenji: Selections, edited by Hiroaki Sato (University of California Press, 2007), p. 14.

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