Poetry Encounters Science
From his youth, Kenji loved mineral rocks---so much so that the people who him called him "little rocky Ken." He went on to study geology during his university days at Morioka (Morioka Higher Agricultural and Forestry School), and later as a research student. Kenji also worked for a while as an apprentice geologist.
Geologists dig through and observe many kinds of sedimentary rock layers to gain insight into the formative history and structure of regional topology and various rock strata. During his preliminary field work, Kenji would jot down his impressions of the things he observed as he roamed through the hills and fields and along the river banks. It is probably fair to say that this approach to his geological work became the foundation for all of the other work---teaching and writing---Kenji did throughout his life.
Kenji describes a collection of his poetry Spring and Ashura, published at about the same time as The Restaurant of Many Orders, as "mental sketches." These mental sketches were impressions of the natural surroundings, living creatures, and atmospheric phenomena he encountered in the hills and fields, and the flow of emotions, thoughts, and ideas they aroused, which he would record in detail in his notebooks. This artistic exercise can also be seen as a transformation of his geological field work. For Kenji, his mental sketches were a way to delve into the layers of his mind. The mental sketches were not simply a record of images, but, as a reading of the first section of Spring and Ashura will show, expressions born from a deeply methodological conciousness.
In Spring and Ashura, Kenji explores the relationship between passing time in the creation of the universe, earth, and life, and the phenomenon of the self.
He believed the perception we have of the "layers of time" in regard to such things as space and geology is no more than a phenomenon of our minds.
He relates his insight into the nature of being in a somewhat mischevious manner
As a result people and galaxies and Asura and sea urchins
Will think up new ontological proofs as they see them
Consuming their cosmic dust ....and breathing in salt water and air
In the end all of these make up a landscape of the heart
I assure you, however, that the scenes recorded here
Are scenes recorded solely in their natural state
( Quotation from KENJI MIYAZAWA POEMS translated by Roger Pulvers, published by Chikuma Shobo)

This passage embodies the dizzying wonder Kenji feels that the phenomenon of the self, that experiences and contemplates the footprints of the Universe, the Earth, and all life contained therein is, in fact, one more product generated from that continuing creation. Kenji's mental sketches are an investigation into the mental phenomena that exist within the layers of time.

Poetry Encounters Science (2)


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