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About the Music Composed by Kenji Miyazawa

Shigeru Oikawa

When we hear the name of Kenji Miyazawa, first of all, we are reminded of him as a writer of fairy tales. He loved Iwate Prefecture and called it an ideal land of Ihatov. He wrote lots of children's stories and poems based on various places in Ihatov. In the meantime, he abored Takuboku Ishikawa, a famous poet from the same prefecture and left many excellent works about him such as "Haru to Syura". In the beginning, he groped for the life of a religionist, but, soon later, decided to be a farmer and energetically led the local farmers under the famine, in the fertilization of the land based on the theory of geology which resulted in the exhausted demise at the age of 37. The more we learn his serious, enthusiastic and charming life, the more we are impressed compared with our standardized way of life.

Kenji's work for children had much influence on the following writers. For example, "Galaxy Train 999" written by Mr.Reiji Matsumoto was based on Kenji's "The Night when the Galaxy Train Leaves" and Mr.Hayao Miyazaki, the author of "My Neighbor Totoro" got a hint from Kenji's "An Acorn and A Wildcat".

In Kenji's literary works, there appears lots of places in the district of Ihatov as the scenes of his stories. The City of Esashi where I was born often shows up in his stories. He wrote many fairy tales, poems and plays on the bases of Taneyama, Gorin-Pass, Town of Hitokabe, Kenbai and Shishi Odori. His masterpiece of "Kaze no Matasaburo" is one of them.

Though Kenji is well known as writer of fairy tales, poet, geologist and teacher, he also showed much interest in music and paintings. He left several unique water-color pictures. It is said that he enjoyed classical music and comic operas then popular in Asakusa District so that one of his stories "Camp of Famine" shows much influence from the comic operas in Asakusa. Kenji is also famous for his collection of classical music discs. It numbered several dozen which was considered a big collection at that time and he was respected as the No.1 disc collector in Hanamaki. At the Rasuchijin Sociey, Kenji was said to often hold record disc concerts inviting his pupils and friends. In this way, it is assumed that he met such musical masterpieces as New World by Dovolsak, Opera Oberon by Weber, Opera Faust by Gunot, etc. Among them, Kenji wrote the words to his favorite tunes in his works of "Taneyamagahara", "Hinoshima no Uta", "Kakureki March". In the story of "Cellist Goush", the No.6 Symphony which he practiced in preparation of the town's concert deemed Beethoven's Symphony No.6 "Pastoral" which was said his most favorite music.

Kenji himself composed nine pieces of music. As mentioned above, he enjoyed writing words to his favorite Western music which numbered 12 pieces now. (The music in the film of Kazeno-matasaburo" produced by Nikkatsu Film Co. is considered his original.) After enjoying such Western classical masterpieces as Beethoven and Dovolsak, he seemed to find the beauty of local sound and composed them to music. This seems the reason why his musical pieces give us a mixture of Western and local(Ihatov) impression. As he wrote words to all of his pieces, they are famous as songs but their melodies are so beautiful that they are often played by musical instruments only.


Oikawa was in charge of their arrangement by recorder ensemble infusing parodies and humour since he also came from the area of Ihatov and feels the same sensitivity as Kenji's. It is his pleasure if you enjoy Kenji's romantic pleasurable and sensitive abundancy from the world of Kenji's music. In this connection, we express our gratitude to Mr. Taihei Sato in referring to his books of "Music by Kenji Miyazawa" and "His Complete Work". Moreover, we are thankful to the understanding and cooperation of The Memorial Museum of Kenji Miyazawa.


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