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Miyazawa Kenji’s frame of mind as teacher and its relevance for playwright of the time

  • 日本硏究
  • 2020, (52), pp.149-179
  • DOI : 10.20404/jscau.2020.02.52.149
  • Publisher : The Center for Japanese Studies
  • Research Area : Humanities > Japanese Language and Literature
  • Received : December 31, 2019
  • Accepted : January 29, 2020
  • Published : February 20, 2020

park kyoung yeon 1

1단국대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The about 4 years of teaching was the period when Kenji got fascinated over the interests of his own while teaching various subjects. Though teaching he was able to make use and display his interests and capabilities in geology, pedology, botany, mathematics, astronomy, English, and so on. It was during this period when he was prolific in writing as well as got interested in playwrights. This research examines the teacher Kenji’s frame of mind on the basis of playwrights he wrote to be put on the stage together with his students. It investigates the process of him becoming a peasant activist from a teacher through examining the four playwrights「Hunger Camp」,「Square of Poran」,「Plant Doctor」, 「Daneyamagahara’s Night」 representing his consciousness and inner world after having become a teacher. Reflecting the phases of the times, 「Hunger Camp」 describes the dilemma which soldiers faced and that medals stand for and emphasizes the importance of productive agricultural activities as well as seeks after their means over nonproductive wars. 「Square of Poran」 contrasts Dr. Yamaneko, the symbol of the urban culture, with the youth through the banquet as a mise-en-scène. A peasant’s speech paves a way to discovering the true value of peasants, agriculture, and the mother nature. 「Plant Doctor」 emphatically expresses Kenji’s helplessness through a plant doctor. In spite of the doctor’s mistakes caused by impotence, peasants are contrastively good-natured. 「Daneyamagahara’s Night」 describes the hero’s conflicts between development and conservation of the nature at the age of disposal, expresses concerns over developments of the nature leading to disastrous consequences of its destruction and empathy into the nature. In all the four playwrights mentioned above, Kenji emphasizes the importance of peasants and agriculture through a variety of stage sceneries reflecting the phases of 1920’s. The importance, furthermore, is directed to the nature’s grandeur and gratitude to God. This paper reveals the characteristics of Kenji’s playwrights set in the phases of the time, his consciousness revealed as a teacher, his euphemistic depiction of the reality that wars cannot sustain life, and a fresh interpretation of dramatis personae and reality of the time.

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