A Literature for Adolescents|
One of the distinctive features of Kenji's poetical imagination is his fondness for sparkling, limpid, translucent images: a longing for the stars in the night sky, a patch of blue sky glimpsed between clouds, crystal-clear waters that sparkle as they flow gaily downstream. In early tales like The Twin Stars as well as in later works like Night On The Milky Way Train, regarded by many as one of Kenji's masterpieces, the reader feels the powerful energy that has been poured into the creation of these stories of the constellations and the Milky Way.
Kenji described his works as a "literature for adolescents," and certainly the clear and direct images that fill his tales harmonize with the sensitivity of boys and girls at this period of their lives.
Adolescence is a time when young people often disdain assimilating the values of adult society, and band together with others of their generation to reject the existing order and question established philosophical, moral, artistic, and political codes in an exhaustive search for their own answers.
Giovanni and his friend Campanella ride the Milky Way Train, and Giovanni wishes they could travel on and on forever. The two adolescents journey to a world far beyond the boundary of their everyday lives----a journey which persistently seeks the answer to the story's ethical theme "What is true happiness?" Night On The Milky Way Train explores this other-dimensional journey of limitless discovery by children on the road to adulthood.
The Nighthawk Star, the story of a nighthawk who is relentlessly ridiculed by the other birds for his ugliness and, wishing to escape his miserable life on earth, flies high up into the heavens hoping to turn into a star, is similar to Night On The Milky Way Train in that both stories tell of main characters who have been hurt by social relationships and chose to find themselves on an unbounded flight to the heavens.
Who is Kenji Miyazawa? The World of Kenji Miyazawa