Miyazawa Kenji read Emerson’s Essays First and Second Series, which was translated into Japanese by Togawa Shūkotsu in 1911-1912，in his junior high school days. As Ōsawa Masayoshi has pointed out, Miyazawa’s belief in Hokke may have been influenced by Emerson. However, in this essay, I would like to focus my attention on another aspect of Emerson’s influence upon Miyazawa Kenji.
Miyazawa is considered a unique poet in Japan; especially his poetic theory is said to be unique in the history of Japanese literature. I would like to show that Miyazawa’s poetic theory was influenced by Emerson’s essay “The Poet.”
The fundamentals of Miyazawa’s theory can be summarized as follows. The main part of the poet’s work is to listen to the voice of nature carefully. The poet is a representative of human beings, for he can describe the truth that nobody has ever discovered. Therefore, a good poem may seem inconsistent and difficult to understand. These characteristics correspond to Emerson's attitude to poetry as described in "The Poet."
Although Miyazawa insisted that his works were not poems but mental sketches, if we consider the strong influence of Emerson’s poetic theory on him, we should regard his mental sketches as poems and Miyazawa Kenji as a poet. The poet Miyazawa Kenji was born when he read Emerson's essays.