Stories that Examine Ethical Questions|
Kenji was a devout believer in the Nichiren sect of Buddhism, and his stories often deal with ethical themes. In The Fire Stone, Homoi, a little rabbit, saves a baby lark from drowning and, in gratitude, is presented with the fire stone, a jewel which blazes brilliantly or fades to a dull, cloudy color according to the conduct of its master. In Ku the Rat, Ku, an arrogant rat who prides himself on always being up on the latest news, is finally eaten by some kittens who are his pupils. The Spider, the Slub, and the Raccoon is told in a humorous style but the three pupils take to heart the instruction of Mr. Badger, their teacher, that "bigger is better," and consequently all of them meet with a pitiful fate.
The question "What is true happiness?" asked by Giovanni, the boy who travels through Night On The Milky Way Train, is a theme that permeates the story. The Kimonos Scholar Aramharad Saw proposes that the true nature of human beings is that "they can't help pondering what true goodness is." One angle Kenji approached this problem from is stated in a line from the fourth of his open letters: "We must search for true happiness for all living creatures."
The fundamental belief underlying Kenji's moral code was that all living creatures are mutually dependent, and the individual cannot attain true happiness apart from the happiness of all.
Who is Kenji Miyazawa? The World of Kenji Miyazawa