John Ruskin and Kenji Miyazawa
An Idea of Nomin-Geijutsu (Peasant Art) and its European Legacy
My paper concerns an aspect of Ruskin’s influence on modern Japan, focusing on the life and work of Kenji Miyazawa (1896-1933), poet and author of children’s stories, who organised Rasu Chijin Kyōkai (Rasu Farmers Association) in the poverty-stricken farming communities of northern Japan, Hanamaki, Iwate prefecture, in 1926. The association was arguably influenced by Ruskin’s Guild of St George, as well as by his commitment to the Working Men’s College. Ruskin’s work had been introduced into Japan during the Taishō Era (1912-1926), with quite a few works translated into Japanese, including Unto This Last and Modern Painters.
Keywords: Guild of St George • Nōmin-Geijutsu (Peasant Art) • John Ruskin • Working Men’s College • Rasu Chijin Kyōkai (Rasu Farmers Association) • Modern Japan • Kenji Miyazawa • Taishō Era