Fantasy as Reality of the Mind

Kenji possessed both finely-honed scientific observational powers and an enduring childlike spirit. He journeyed back and forth between a levelheaded observation of the real world and an imaginary, mythological world, and was able to bind the two together. You could say that Kenji was at the same time a scientist and a shaman----he transcended boundaries, mediating between both sides.
For Kenji, fantasy was not an illusion, but "a place and a time where my mind has surely traveled before" (from an advertisement for The Restaurant of Many Orders). Kenji believed that no matter how strange or curious it may seem, imaginings born from the deep recesses of our minds contain an element of truth.
The rapport that the human characters in Kenji's stories feel with the animals they encounter and with their natural surroundings intensifies until it crosses over into a fantasy world; Kenji almost always portrays this shift in the character's state of mind in a sensitive and realistic way. Kojuro in The Bears of Nametoko and Kenju in The Origin of the Deer Dance, both mountain villagers familiar with the living habits of the animals in the vicinity, happen on to private conversations the animals are having and suddenly find that they are able to understand the animals' language. The reader is given a careful description of the feelings of the characters as they experience these unusual situations. The main character in Rose-Sea Elementary School, whose name we are not given but who recounts the entire story in the first person, has a similar experience.
Indra's Net the common sense viewpoint of the observer becomes bound up in an original way with fantasy. This traveler with a scientifically discerning mind, walking tiredly in the thin air of the highlands, finds himself suddenly entering a magical world which he relates to the reader from a scientific perspective that he maintains throughout the story.

Humor in Kenji's Stories
Rhythm in Kenji's Stories
Poems and Stories: Gifts of the Stars, Wind, and Animals
Poetry Encounters Science
Poetry Encounters Science (2)
Fantasy as Reality of the Mind
Broadminded Acceptance of Outsiders and Strangers
A Literature for Adolescents
Multiplicity of Meaning in Kenji's Stories
Stories that Examine Ethical Questions
Stories that Examine Ecological Questions
Kenji the Teacher
Kenji the Social Reformer

Who is Kenji Miyazawa? The World of Kenji Miyazawa