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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter presents an overview of this book. Miyazawa Kenji is one of the most renowned figures in the field of modern Japanese literature. He was devout Buddhist whose work heavily reflects his non-humanist worldview. Together with his Buddhist beliefs, he was also a natural scientist, with many other research interests that influenced his thinking and writing, including chemistry, agriculture, geology, education, art, astronomy and other religions such as Christianity. The book provides a close analysis of several pictorial representations of the seven select tales in order to address their different interpretations of specific Buddhist ideologies. It demonstrates how the stories are being coded or nuanced for a contemporary Japanese audience through, for instance: the artistic medium; the pictorial aspects omitted or emphasised; the particular story moments selected for depiction; or the different possible interpretive codes that come into play in the reading process.

Keywords: Buddhist beliefs; Japanese literature; Miyazawa Kenji; reading process; tales



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