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5: Kenji’s ‘Dekunobō’ Ideal in ‘Gōshu, the Cellist’ (Serohiki No Gōshu) and ‘Kenjū’s Park’ (Kenjū Kōenrin)

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Chapter Summary

This chapter deals with Miyazawa Kenji's dekunobō ideal. Two quite disparate protagonists from 'Serohiki no Gōshu', written in 1925, and 'Kenjū Kōenrin', written in about 1927, embody contrasting aspects of the altruistic ideal. The striving Gōshu represents the struggle towards the ideal, while the intellectually impaired Kenjū can be seen to epitomise its aim. There is some debate about the latter point, however, with some scholars arguing that Kenjū cannot exemplify the dekunobō ideal because of his lack of conscious purpose. In contrast, Gōshu's striving is seen as representative of the effort needed to achieve the ideal. Tokita Tsutomu, for instance, sees "the desire for hidden detachment exhibited in Gōshu" as a positive acknowledgment of "trying to actively connect with the future". This chapter examines how dekunobō intersubjectivity is reflected in these contrasting characters and their pictorial representations. It ironically introduces the dekunobō (dunce) as a model.

Keywords: dekunobō ideal; Gōshu; Kenju; Miyazawa Kenji



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