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The Restaurant of Many Orders : Synopsis,What Kenji Miyazawa Wants to Communicate,Impressions of Japanese People



 Picture Book Profile

Author:Kenji Miyazawa

Illustrations (prints): Kunio Sato

Publisher: Kodomo no Miraisha

Published: 2010

Target age: 5 years old and up


Summary

The story of two gentlemen with a hound dog who have a terrible experience at a mysterious restaurant deep in the mountains.


What you can learn from this picture book

Due to the nature of the items, the contents of the book will be mentioned from here on. Please read this book with the understanding that it may contain so-called spoilers.


◆Danger of the natural (supernatural)

Two young gentlemen who entered the mountains were made to understand that they could not control everything by their own strength and skill alone by the events that took place deep in the mountains. The fact that the two men were dressed as English soldiers and carried shiny guns suggests that they were novices when it came to hunting and mountains. So early on, they went into the mountains with a lickety-split attitude. It's not the same thing as savage hunting, is it?


◆The difference between the city and the countryside

The gentlemen converted the mountain animals into cash, and at the same time, they also converted their dog's death due to dizziness into "a loss of 2,400 yen". Considering their body shape, their outfits, and the fact that the work was first published in 1924, it is likely that the two gentlemen are portraying adult worshippers of money.

Kenji called Iwate (the countryside) "Ihatove," or an ideal world, which indicates that he was critical of such superficial Western culture.


Live = Eat


To live is to eat. It is the same for all living things. We are not the only ones who eat. There is a possibility that we will be eaten too. The topsy-turvy (?) of the food chain. (Why are there animals on this mountain at all?

(Why are there no animals at all on this mountain ...... It is interesting that the wildcat side seems to have a capitalistic structure on the wildcat side too)


◆fearful aftereffects

As shown at the end of the piece, the two gentlemen return safely to Tokyo, but their faces are described as transformed by fear and never to return to their original appearance. The story can be interpreted as a lesson that terrible experiences and traumas never go away (the former interpretation is more common, but I wonder if it is also possible from the perspective of parenting).


◆Confrontation with God or supernatural beings

The dichotomy between human beings and supernatural beings seems to be depicted from the descriptions of a wildcat about to be eaten by a wildcat, a dog that is supposed to be dead coming back to life, etc. In the Taisho era (1912-1926), Western science and technology was still in its infancy.


During the Taisho era (1912-1926), Western science and technology were being introduced to Japan, and rapid modernization was underway. During this period, there were many scenes of conflict between scientific progress and traditional beliefs such as Shintoism and Buddhism. This work can also be seen as a conflict between a man with weapons and a mountain god.


As the gentlemen proceeded through the store, they left behind the items they were wearing in order. Finally, at the end,


  "I looked and saw a jacket, a wallet, and a necktie pin hanging on a branch over there or fluttering at the base of a tree over here. The wind was blowing, the grass was rustling, the leaves were rustling, and the trees were thumping,


And so it was returned to the gentlemen.

However, the shiny gun was not returned. (*Kenji's text does not say it was returned, but the picture depicts it being returned. I am of the opinion that it was not returned, so I will set aside the representation of the painting for the moment here. (Smithsonian ......).

When I was a child, I used to think of this part of the picture as "Wildcat took the gun. I interpreted it as, "Next time such a human comes into the mountains, let's not try to catch and eat him or her with such a complicated thing as a restaurant, but let's kill him or her with a single tata-ta-ta.

Now that I am an adult, I have come to think that the wind, which appears several times in this work, is not just wind, but the god of the mountain.

Where did the god put the guns?


This item is written based on the subjective viewpoint of the blogger. It does not reflect the author's thoughts or feelings.

I would be happy if it is useful as a reference for your children's mental growth and book reports, or for the self-development of adults.

If you have not yet read the works, please find them in bookstores or libraries and read them.



Comments from a child (5 years old)


It was scary but interesting.

I like "The wind blew in my face.


Mother's comment


I was drawn into this picture book by the unique view of the world that prints can create.

I remember when I was a child, I was so desperate to explain to my friends that I thought this wildcat was a Nekomata, and they were grossed out by my explanation (laugh).

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