Night Train to the Stars:わが心の銀河鉄道 宮沢賢治物語

A biographical film of Kenji Miyazawa, Japan’s most popular fantasy novelist.

Kenji is an idealist from an early age, forming a utopian vision with his friend Kanai Hosaka that inspires them to work for the happiness of farmers, although his pawnbroker father, Masajiro, objects to such idealism. Kanai is expelled from school for outlining his revolutionary plans in an essay. Meanwhile, Kenji develops a devotion to the Nichiren sect of Buddhism and goes to Tokyo. While proselytising on a voluntary basis, he continues writing his fantasy stories at night. Kenji urges Kanai to join his group but Kanai refuses, saying that it will not benefit the farmers, and makes a decisive break from Kenji. On top of this, the death of his biggest supporter, his beloved sister Toshi, hits Kenji hard. Subsequently he regains contact with Kanai, who is now farming in Yamanashi prefecture and has gone a long way toward realising their original vision. Encouraged by what Kanai has achieved, he returns to Iwate prefecture to start his own experimental school in the family summer house. A tragic rainstorm hits the northern area of Japan and ruins most of the crops as well as many of those at Kenji’s school. His efforts to develop new farming methods and help poor farmers only serve to undermine his health, forcing him to close the school. Kenji dies at the age of just 37. It is only after his death, through the help of his family, that his writings become widely read. The film was made in 1996 to commemorate the centennial of his birth.

Date: 18 May 2017, 6.30pm
Venue: The Embassy of Japan in the UK, 101 – 104 Piccadilly, London W1J 7JT
Web: http://www.uk.emb-japan.go.jp/itpr_en/films_booking.html
Organiser: The Embassy of Japan in the UK

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