Saturday, September 3, 2022

Review of "On the Fourth Day of the Narcissus Month," by Kenji Miyazawa

 Review of

On the Fourth Day of the Narcissus Month, by Kenji Miyazawa ISBN 4763123122

Five out of five stars

 A look into the culture of northern Japan

 Kenji Miyazawa grew up northern Japan where the winters are harsh. Therefore, it is natural that his stories would feature mythical creatures of snow, ice and strong cold winds. The characters are Snow Boy, snow wolves, a child and Old Snow Woman. The main descriptions are of how these creatures move and function in a harsh winter environment.

 The form is very much that of a fairy tale about the environment, which is familiar, but the approach is distinctly Japanese. There is no danger to the humans other than that from the elements. They talk to each other in pleasant, helpful tones. It ends with a child out in the elements being rescued by his dad after that child interacted with Snow Boy.

 It is a story that must be read slowly in order to discern the subtleties. It is a fairy tale that gives insight into how Japanese in the regions where the weather is wintry look at and rationalize their surroundings. The goal of publication was to further the interaction between cultures and in this case it was a success.

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