Characters of Kenji's Works

Giovanni's father, a fisherman, leaves one day for the north sea and doesn't came home, so Giovanni, still only an elementary school student, has to work after school to support his ailing mother, and so is shunned by his classmates. He is a lonely, sensitive boy. In his dreams, Giovanni takes a trip through the galaxy on the night train to the stars with his best friend, Campanella. (From "Night on the Milky Way Train")

Saburou Takada and Matasaburou the wind imp
Saburou Takada comes from a far away town to a little schoolhouse in the mountains. Because his facial features and dress are quite different from the other village children, Saburou looks like a foreigner to them. They wonder if he could really be the wind imp, Matasaburou. (From "Matasaburou of the Wind")

Wildcat is the imperious boss of the countryside. Two hunters from the city who come to kill animals for sport, are treated to a bitter experience by Wildcat (The Restaurant of Many Orders). Another time, Wildcat sends a postcard to Ichiro, a boy from the nearby village who loves nature, beckoning him to come to the mountains to help settle a dispute among the acorns (Acorns and Wildcat). (From "The Restaurant of Many Orders" and "Acorns and Wildcat")

Homoi, the little rabbit
One day, Homoi rescues a baby lark who is drowning in the river. In gratitude, the king of the larks sends Homoi a precious stone known as the Fire Stone. The stone has a red flame flickering inside it which is said to change in reaction to its owner's conduct. The Fire Stone turns out to be quite a troublesome gift. (From "The Fire Stone")

Kojuro and the bears
Kojuro is a famous bear hunter. Fond of the bears and with intimate knowledge of their ways, Kojuro doesn't want to kill them, but he is forced to hunt in order to live, because there are no fields to cultivate. The bears are sympathetic to his feelings and equally fond of Kojuro. (From "The Bears of Nametoko")

Kaju and the deer
Kaju has a little field where he and his grandfather grow chestnut trees and millet. One day he falls out of a tree and hurts his knee, so he sets off for the hot spring to cure his injury. On the way, he stops to rest and when he starts on his way again, realizes he has left behind his cotton towel. When he goes back to get the towel, he is surprised to find a group of deer surrounding it. Kaju hides in the pampas grass to watch the deer. Entranced with the deer, before long he realizes that he can understand what they are saying. (From "The Origin of the Deer Dance")

The Police Chief
In the town of Puhara, the practice of catching fish with poison bags made from sansho bark is strictly forbidden. One day a new chief of police comes to town. One of his jobs is to crack down on poison bag fishing, but as it turns out, the police chief himself likes fishing with poison bags. (From "The Police Chief")

The Wild Man of the Hills
The wild man has eyes the color of smoky gold, disheveled hair, and peculiar clothes. Because of his strange appearance he is feared and rejected by the people of the village. But the wild man is really simple and honest by nature, and a friendship arises between him and an open-hearted village boy. (From "Night of the Festival")

The Earthgod
The earthgod, a folk god with wild, unkempt hair and ragged dirty clothes, lives in a shrine in the middle of a marshy hollow. He is enamored of the beautiful female birch tree standing in the middle of a stretch of open land, but he has a rival-a fox who is somewhat of a dandy, interested in anything new, and likes to show off his knowledge of astronomy and poetry. (From "The Earth God and the Fox")

Castor and Pollux
In the evening, the twin stars Castor and Pollux don their ephemeral robes of blue light and their slippers of white light and go to sit in the palace of heaven where they play their silver flutes all night long. The other stars, singers on the stage of the night sky, join in the Star Travelers song to the melody of the flutes. (From "The Twin Stars")

Kenju, completely unconcerned with his appearance, just loves to watch the movements of the rain, wind, birds and animals, so the other villagers suspect he may be somewhat mentally deficient. But the cedar forest Kenju plants becomes a wonderful gift for the next generation of children. (From "Kenju's Wood")

Gorsch, the cellist in the town orchestra, is the worst player in the group and is always being bullied by the conductor because of it. Many animals come late at night to visit Gorsch at his home, an old millhouse where he always practices, so they can listen to him play his cello. In the course of his encounters with the music-loving animals, he discovers the true soul of music. (From "Gorsch the Cellist")

Gusukou Budori
Budori Gusuko loses his parents during a famine and he goes through many subsequent hardships. In order to save the local villagers from back-breaking labor and crop damage due to the unusually cold weather, Budori begins to study and becomes an engineer at the bureau of volcanic research. At the end of the story, he sacrifices his life to blow up the volcano in order to prevent another cold spell. (From "Gusukou Budori, a Biography")

General Son Ba-yu
After thirty years in the desert guarding the northern frontier, General Son Ba-yu and his exhausted army finally return to the town of La-yu. The general, a young man when he left, is now 70 years old. As a result of 30 years of faithful service without ever once dismounting from his horse, the general's legs are so stiff that he is now unable to get off, and his face is covered with a gray, mossy growth. (From "The General and the Three Physicians Brothers")

Konzaburo, the fox
After the snow stops falling and the sun comes out, Shiro and Kanko tramp off across the fields, over the hard crust of the snow, to play. As if in answer to their chants, a little fox, Konzaburo, suddenly appears out of the woods. The friendship that develops between Shiro, Kanko, and Konzaburo overcomes the prejudicial adage they have been taught by adults that "foxes trick people." (From "Crossing the Snow")

The Nighthawk
The nighthawk is despised by the other birds because of his homely appearance. The hawk, annoyed that the nighthawk's name is similar to his own, threatens the nighthawk, ordering him to change his name. Hated by everyone, the poor nighthawk, thinking to take himself off to a faraway place before he is killed by the hawk, soars up into the night sky higher and higher, until at last, he burns a brilliant blue white and is transformed into a star. (From "The Nighthawk Star")

The Oven Cat
The cooking stove cat has a strange habit of sleeping inside the earthen cooking stove at night, so his nose and ears are covered with soot, giving him the appearance of a raccoon dog. The cooking stove cat works in Office No. Six, where the cats investigate geography and history. Because of his foolish appearance, the cooking stove cat is disliked by his colleagues the white cat, the tortoise shell cat, and the tabby cat. (From "The Cat Office")

Who is Kenji Miyazawa
Characters of Kenji's Works
The World of Kenji's Works
Kenji for You
The Local Climate and Kenji's Works
Collection of Essays on Kenji
English Translation of Kenji's Works
Kenji's Translated Works for Downloading
The World of Kenji Miyazawa