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Night on the Galactic Railroad
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Night on the Galactic Railroad

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  1,108 ratings  ·  132 reviews
One night, alone on a hilltop, a young boy is swept aboard a magical train bound for the Milky Way. A classic in Japan, this tender fable is a book of great wisdom, offering insight into the afterlife.
Audio Cassette
Published 1995 by Central Park Media (first published October 1934)
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BurukaniroHakase The book contains only the Night of the Milky Way Railway with very useful explanations of the symbols in each chapter and has also fragments from…moreThe book contains only the Night of the Milky Way Railway with very useful explanations of the symbols in each chapter and has also fragments from previous versions (different from the last version also left unfinished by the author) added.
The cover and the publication year match the book that I have, but the publisher is M.E. Sharpe, Inc., not Routledge.(less)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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 ·  1,108 ratings  ·  132 reviews

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Susan Budd
Jun 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Namu myoho renge kyo. This is the mantra of Nichiren Buddhism. It means ‘Veneration to the Sutra of the Lotus of the Wonderful Law.’ To understand Kenji Miyazawa and his marvelous Milky Way Railroad, one must understand his devotion to Nichiren Buddhism.

Nichiren Buddhists believe that the whole of the dharma is in the title of the Lotus Sutra and that enlightenment can be achieved in this lifetime through faith in the Lotus Sutra. This faith is expressed by chanting Namu myoho renge kyo.
Jan 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I think I remember reading somewhere that Gabriel Garcia Marquez was amazed when he read The Metamorphosis, that he wished he'd known sooner that someone could write stories like that. That's pretty much what this was like for me. (Ignoring the fact that Marquez has more cultural significance) The strange thing is, it's nothing I haven't seen before. This short book is a dreamlike I-Spy game of Miyazaki tropes like you wouldn't believe—but for as much wonder as Miyazaki films inspire, Miyazawa ...more
A short tale of two boys, Giovanni and Campanella, which deals with themes such as dreams, loss and eventually life itself. It's a bittersweet story with an unexpected ending, that seems to me to have been a blend of 'The Little Prince' and 'The Polar Express'. I just wish I had the opportunity to read it as a child - I'm sure it would have left an indelible mark on me then.
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
if kenji miyazawa punched me id thank him
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got this book when a friend mentioned something along the lines of "There's a nice, new edition of these kinda weird, kinda psychedelic, Japanese stories". For me it wasn't easy to read, but definitely worth it. Some stories were touching, some interesting and fun, some were just... weird.
And the book is physically gorgeous.
Edward Rathke
Sep 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A quick read, but holds its weight with longer, heavier tomes about similar subject matter. It's oneiric and whimsical, at turns touching and beautiful.

At its center is the search for happiness and what it means.

--[. . .] a person creates happiness around him when he does something good. That's why I'm sure my mum will forgive me.--

--If we can run like this, we can run anywhere in the whole wide world!--

--'May I enquire as to where you boys would be heading?' asked the man timidly.
'Further than
Ha Thu 'Yvonne' Do
This book is obviously not easy to comprehend without researching further on its 1910s context and the author's realm of perspectives outta the universe. However so, it's a dreamy journey of 2 primary school students over the Milky Way bound to the celestial after-life and as it was on a railroad, they hopped on and off the train to meet with other characters at each stop, but in the end only one of them had the return ticket to be back home. Their first-hand experience with many major ...more
Manuel Alfonseca
Mar 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Suggestive children story about a couple of boys, one of which (Giovanni) is a social outcast, with an absent father (he is hunting otters in the far north), a sick mother and a set of hostile classmates (all but Campanella) who are always teasing him. Suddenly, Giovanni and Campanella find themselves travelling in a mysterious railway along the Milky Way. The reader will discover gradually the destination of the trip and the origin of the different travellers. In spite of the names of the ...more
Angel 一匹狼
I read this almost 20 years ago, as a freshperson (freshbeing?), just 18, 19 years old. I used to go to the translation and interpretation faculty's library, that was pretty close to my own building, in my free time, and I started to pick up books by Japanese authors. My fascination for Japanese literature (a 'new' type of literature I knew little about) was starting to flourish, and Kenji Miyazawa's "銀河鉄道の夜" (in its Castilian translation) fell into my hands. I read it, and enjoyed it, even if I ...more
Exuberant visuals with a heart so pure and good, the book is sure a treasure. Loved it.
Oct 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who are ok with symbolism and imagery
Recommended to Calochortus by: My sister
Shelves: books-i-have
I read a different version of Galaxy Train -- I think it was supposed to be a translation for Japanese native-speakers to learn english. However, I think that perhaps I liked that. My version came with cute Italian-style graphite drawings, too~

Anyway, what to say about Miyazawa? I guess his view of classes and society is nicely packaged in Galaxy Train -- this isn't really a fairy tale, and it really isn't a dream. Sure, you could take it as that, but that defeats Miyazawa's original purpose.
Mar 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I give the story 4 stars for the story itself; I fear the translation has not done Kenji Miyazawa's beautiful "children's" story any favors. Alas, it is the only readily available affordable translation.

Miyazawa pulls deeply from the cosmic imagery of the Lotus Sutra, as well as it's message that all religions point toward the Dharma. At first the appearance of a Catholic Nun surprised me, and I thought it was a liberty taken by the translator, but no. With a little help from Google translate, I
Nov 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful story questioning the ideas of happiness, loneliness, and growth. Something of a coming of age tale but so much more. The themes are inseparable from the author and his ideas on nature, religion, and even love. The complexity of the tale is impressive and the threads to untangle are very fun.

Perhaps what I enjoyed most is just the images Miyazawa manges to paint. The sky swirls, colors dance, and one is lost in the aura of beauty put forth by the page. A milky river glows
Bryne Jocson
Nov 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished this book in one sitting! A really interesting plot with and ending that leaves you in mystery. I liked the theme the book portrays which is "What is true happiness?", but I wish it was answered more clearly. The relationship between Giovanni and Campanella was interesting and overall the story was very poetic with great sensory details. I recommend this to anyone with interest in a sad yet thoughtful and unique story of Giovanni and his journey with Campanella on the Milky Way ...more
Sep 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan
An excellent novella taking the reader on a journey through the Milky Way Railway where many new friends are met and adventures are had. Certainly reminiscent of some anime that I have seen (hardly ever watch it though). Unlike the other story (Restaurant of Many Orders) this seems to be more applicable to readers of all ages, with enough adult themes to keep the more matured authors in interest. The story is worth reading alone for the vivid imagery though.
Eric Hinkle
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dreamy, mesmerizing, philosophical. Beautiful and unpredictable. Supposedly the most beloved children's tale in Japan (although I found many of his others to be just as good or better).

I wish this edition had more illustrations -- even though there are quite a few -- because Miyazawa's scenes are so evocative and open-ended. There are several translations of this, and I'd be curious to read one or two more. Miyazawa's language seems like it could be interpreted in myriad forms.
Oct 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japanese-lit
It's hard to sum this story up in a few words. On the surface, it's a buddy trip story, but to where, and why. Then you realize that this simple story has great depth and moves toward the profound. I really appreciated the introduction that gives some background on Miyazawa and his times and provides insight into the content of Milky Way Railroad.
Jun 28, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn’t quite “get” this book. I had the same experience with The Little Prince , which is comparable to Night Train to the Stars , so I guess I’ve just got different tastes. I wish I enjoyed this style more.

Night Train centres on schoolchildren Giovanni and his only friend Campanella, who may or may not be anthropomorphic cats, judging by the illustrations. Giovanni and Campanella board a train which travels through the stars (because presumably the Japanese countryside isn’t interesting
Alexia Gonzalez
The story is about a poor little Japanese boy with an Italian name, and another little Japanese boy, also with an Italian name, who was rich. In their controversial friendship due to their social status, the poor boy faces a lot of torment among his classmates, then one evening during a festival the both of them find themselves mysteriously aboard a train traveling the Milky Way. During their time together they meet a variety of characters who in turn make them reflect on themselves. In the end ...more
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This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Read this with no preparation or study. Would have loved to read it with a class or book group.

First, it’s very dreamlike, and the colors are wonderful. Trying to illustrate it in my mind was difficult.

But there are some religious themes that I have no clue about! And I’m sure I’m missing a billion references.
I sort of enjoyed this, but just barely. There were some lovely, poignant passages reminiscent of The Little Prince, and beautiful descriptions, but the overall story failed to capture my attention. Also-- the Reader's Guide in this translation helped provide context, but the actual translation felt clunky and cumbersome.
Johnny Clyde
Unfortunately watched the film first and I wish I had read the book first. The film is quite an improvement I felt, because the book is very quick and the pacing doesn’t flow very well. Still enjoyable even with the heavy Christian themes
Jessica Zu
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
sad & hopeful
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"They could make out the radiant leaves of many walnut trees standing in the mist, and electric squirrels with gold halos peeping out of the mist with mischievous faces."
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japanese-fiction
Really great.
May 05, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A journey to one of the most beautiful fantasy worlds.
Milla Kivinen
Jan 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't particularly like children's books but this one was really nice.
Vielka Rojas
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: laser
Poetry in a fiction book.
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Japanese: 宮沢 賢治

Kenji Miyazawa (1896–1933) was born in Iwate, one of the northernmost prefectures in Japan. In high school, he studied Zen Buddhism and developed a lifelong devotion to the Lotus Sutra, a major influence on his writing. After graduating from an agricultural college, he moved to Tokyo to begin his writing career but had to return home to care for a sick sister. He remained in his
“Or as if all the world’s diamonds, that the diamond companies hide in order to keep prices up, had been abruptly dumped out and scattered recklessly all over.” 2 likes
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