Kenji for You Japanese

Interview with Hideo Shiobara

Mr. Shiobara, you took pictures of Kenji's students which were published in a photograph collection "Kenji Sensei wa Ho-hoh to Cyu ni Matta (Our Teacher Flew in the Sky)." Why did you start to take these pictures?
I became acquainted with Ms. Toshiko Toriyama, who wrote passages in the book. She asked me to do this job.
If Kenji were alive, he would be a hundred years old, so naturally his students are quite old, aren't they?
Yes. They are in their late eighties to nineties. They were taught by Kenji at Hanamaki Agricultural School when they were what would now be junior high and high school students.
When you saw Kenji's students, what impressed you?
Although they learned from Kenji more than seventy years ago, their impression of him has remained vivid in each student's heart. He was a great influence. Also, Kenji's many different aspects remain in each student's memory. I was surprised Kenji was such a many-sided person.
What can you give us as examples of Kenji's many-sidedness?
For example, Mr. Nagasaka has a strong memory that Kenji was a person who understood the urge to do mischief. Mr. Nagasaka was a boy who liked to do mischief and actually did so many times. Although Kenji knew what Mr.Nagasaka did, Kenji did not scold him seriously but humorously instead. Kenji also took his students to a scary place at night to test their courage. Another student Mr. Terui remembered Kenji's childlike purity well. One time Mr. Terui went on a boat with Kenji. After Kenji dropped an apple into the water, he excitedly observed it bobbing up and down, and then dropped the apple again and again.
Mr. Segawa remembered well the contents of Kenji's lectures, didn't he?
Yes. He talked about Kenji's fascinating lecture about cells handing down the memory of life for several hundred million years.

Profile of Hideo Shiohara

  • Was born in 1954.
  • After graduating from high school, participated in workshops organized by photographer Taido Moriyama and others.
  • Karawan, Thai singer of "life songs" in 1985, and then became a freelance cameraman.
  • Met Toshiko Toriyama and began to photograph her activities, during which he also took photographs of Kenji's students.
  • Participated in and exhibition for the AIDS campaign in Thailand in 1986.
  • Participated in the photograph collection for documenting "88 Nen Inochi no Matsuri (Life Festival)" in 1988.
  • Traveled to Czech Republic with Allen Ginsberg after democratization and. Photographs of this trip were published in magazines like "Ningen Kazoku (The Human Family)" in 1989.
  • Published photos of Kenji Miyazawa's students in "Sensei wa Ho-hoh to Chu ni Matta (Our Teacher Flew in the Sky)" in 1992.
  • Produced documentary video of Thichnhat Hanh's performance in Japan in 1994.
  • Began to photograph Kenji's school from 1994.

Kenji for you The World of Kenji Miyazawa