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1: The Signifi cance of Miyazawa Kenji’s Ideals in (Post-) Modern Japanese Children’s Literature

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on the visual representation of Miyazawa Kenji's tales, taking a more intertextual approach in the analysis of picture books. Some detail of Kenji's life in light of his beliefs not only provides the historically different socio-cultural context from which the tales arose, but also helps draw out issues related to holistic constructions of self and subjectivity, providing a deeper appreciation of some of the codes. Kenji's stories are generally seen as Buddhist parables or spiritual metaphors, explanation of Buddhist elements operating in the tales provides the basis for the later analysis. Both cultural and artistic traditions that form the basis of cultural coding have implications for how the picture books will be read in both verbal and pictorial representation. The chapter concentrates on many of Kenji's Buddhist ideals that are broadly considered to be enigmatic. Kenji's tales were slowly recognised, especially within the field of children's literature.

Keywords: Buddhist parables; children's literature; Miyazawa Kenjis; picture books; spiritual metaphors



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