Review of the book “The Cat Office” by Miyazawa Kenji

“The Cat Office” is a collection of short stories by the Japanese writer Miyazawa Kenji, first published in 1934. The work focuses on the lives of animals and nature, and their struggle to survive in an increasingly more industrialized and urban.

The book “The Cat Office”, by Miyazawa Kenji, is a collection of twenty-five fantastic and poetic stories that transport us to the world of Ihatov, a utopia created by the author where human beings and animals coexist with a deep connection with nature. and Buddhism. The story that gives the book its title tells the life of some cats who work in an office in charge of recording feline history and geography, and who discriminate against one of their colleagues for not having a breed. Through this fable, Miyazawa Kenji tells us about tolerance, compassion and the value of diversity.

Miyazawa Kenji (1896-1933) was a Japanese writer, poet, and educator who was born and lived in the Tohoku region of northern Japan. His work is inspired by the folklore, culture and landscape of his homeland, as well as his Buddhist faith and social commitment. Although he was not recognized during his lifetime, today he is considered one of the great masters of 20th century Japanese literature, and his stories have been adapted to film, theater and manga.

In this edition of Satori, Miyazawa Kenji’s stories are presented translated directly from Japanese by Kuniko Ikeda and Marta Añorbe Mateos, two experts in Japanese literature who have respected the author’s original style and have added explanatory notes to facilitate the reader’s understanding. In addition, the book includes a biographical and critical introduction about Miyazawa Kenji and his work, as well as original illustrations created for this occasion by the Japanese artist Shuichi Yoshida.

Another notable story in the collection is “The Man Who Planted Trees,” which tells the story of a man who dedicates his life to planting trees in a desolate and barren region. The tale is a fascinating exploration of ecology and human responsibility towards the environment, and is full of surprising and exciting twists.

Miyazawa’s prose is poetic and evocative, and his ability to create complex, realistic characters is impressive. The author also uses detailed description of nature and animals to create an authentic and rich atmosphere in the stories.

“The Cat Office” is a book that invites us to dream, reflect and enjoy the beauty and magic of words. An essential book for lovers of Japanese literature and for all those who want to discover a unique and unforgettable author.

In conclusion, “The Cat Office” is a masterpiece of Japanese literature and a fascinating exploration of ecology, spirituality, and connection to nature. The collection is a must-read for anyone interested in Japanese literature and the exploration of universal themes through fiction. Miyazawa manages to convey a deep connection with nature and the importance of respecting the environment, themes that remain very relevant today.


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