An unpublished draft of a poem written by reputed poet and children’s book author Kenji Miyazawa (1896-1933) that was found last May in Iwate Prefecture has been included in a supplementary volume to a complete collection of his work, publishers said Wednesday.
The discovery is noteworthy as it comes about 80 years after Miyazawa is thought to have written the draft, and is valuable since it was assumed that all his poems and children’s books had already been published. The newfound poem depicts the landscape of the Geibikei Valley in southern Iwate Prefecture.
It was written on the back of a local map, printed during the early years of the Taisho Era (1912-1926). The map was found on the beam of a storehouse located at Miyazawa’s birthplace in Iwate’s Hanamaki, according to the publishers and Miyazawa’s family.
The draft poem was found when the decrepit storehouse was being demolished, Miyazawa’s family said.
The storehouse had once caught fire shortly before the end of World War II during an air raid, but the map on which Miyazawa had written the poem was safe as it had been placed at the bottom of paperwork stored on the beam.
The family said the draft could have gone undiscovered if the demolition of the storehouse had been pushed back by even one month. An earthquake that hit Iwate last June, about a month after the storehouse was razed, could have knocked the building down, they said.
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