Kenji for You Japanese

Interview with Hiroshi Oshima

Mr. Oshima, you said you were born and grew up in Morioka. What do you remember about your impression of Kenji Miyazawa when you were a boy?
Because adults casually called him "Kenji-san," I used to think he was a relative. Calling him "Kenji-san" showed a closeness and an affinity for him.
When I was at junior high school, I did not study hard, but I was interested in collecting plants, raising silkworms, and reading books. I randomly read many kinds of books including Kenji's works. However, I didn't think his works were so special and felt he only wrote about life in Tohoku already familiar to us.
There was not enough to eat, so many kids went to eat apples in an apple garden near the school. Though the farmer was upset because his crops were damaged, he didn't scold those kids, but divided the apple garden into sections where the kids could eat the apples or not. Thinking of it now, it seems like a warm story. The character of those kids is not very different from that of the children in "Matasaburo the Wind."
In Kenji's works, people and animals often talk with each other. Do you think this sense also comes from ordinary life in Tohoku?
Yes, I think so. I sometimes go out to Tono to take photos. If I stay there for a month, I can understand that animistic idea when I listen to conversation among the local people.
At the ryokan ( japanese hotel) several local people were talking. One man said it was raining heavily on the previous day, but the others said it was sunny. I wondered how the argument would be settled and kept listening to it.
Finally, they came to the conclusion that a rain cloud was chasing around after the man who claimed it was raining the previous day. I was amazed.
How has your feeling about Kenji changed as you got older?
When I came to Tokyo, Kenji was familiar to me, so I felt strange when I heard the opinion Kenji was greater than Takuboku. However, as time passed, I started to see my hometown and Kenji more objectively from a distance.

His Works

Profile of Hiroshi Oshima

  • Was born in Morioka City, Iwate Prefecture, in 1944.
  • Became a photographer. His photos have been presented in many exhibitions and also published in many books.
    • The exibition "Mihei" (Tanohata; Iwate Prefecture; Ohashi Gallery in Tokyo; Sendai; etc.) from 1973 to 77.
    • "Shima no Ichi (The Place of Islands)," "Tairajima Buraku Chizu (Survey of Tairajima Island's Village)" (PUT; Kagoshima Prefecture; etc.) from 1975 to 80.
    • "Heiwana Yumagure no E (Pictures of Peaceful Sunset)" (Minorta Gallery; Shinjuku; Osaka; etc.) in 1977.
    • "Koun no Machi (City of Happiness)" (Shashin Koen Bayashi) in 1987. -"Shashin Genron (The Theory of Photographic Illusion)" pubulished by Shobunsha in 1989.
    • "Hararu no Maboroshi --Rambo Aden (Rambo Aden --Illusion in Hararu)," Yosensha;
    • "City of Happiness (CD-ROM)," IMC in 1995;
    • "Sen no Kao, Sen no Kuni" Ethiopia (Ethiopia --A Thousand Faces and A Thousand Countries)" in 1996.
    • Established and edited a photographic theory magazine "Shashin Souchi (Photographic Methods)" in 1980.
    • Received first prize from the Photography Association in 1987.
    • His work "City of Happiness" was added to a permanent collections of Tokyo Museum of Photography and The Miyagi Museum.
  • Is an instructor at Musashino Art University and Meiji Gakuin University.

Kenji for you The World of Kenji Miyazawa