Last Sunday I went with my friend Ryo to see a reading/play of the Nighthawk Star at my local library in Ena. The play was put on by a local group of actors, and Ryo knew about half the cast and support crew. The play was held upstairs in a soundproof room, and there were about 40 or 50 people in the audience which is pretty good I guess, considering they didn't seem to advertise it much, apart from a flyer left at the entrance of the library. The Nighthawk Star is very well known in Japan as most children read it in elementary school, and there were plenty of children in the audience. But the moral to the story, or Kenji's intentions in writing it can be difficult to work out. A couple of people asked me what the meaning of the story was, so this is what I told them was my interpretation. Of course it is no more than an interpretation and there are certainly more possibilities than this one, but this is the feeling I get from reading the story. This contains a spoiler, so you might want to read The Nighthawk Star before reading any further.
Nighthawk is teased and bullied on a daily basis and he has an awfully hard time of it, but when Hawk demands he change his name or else, then he finally has to make a tough decision. He does have options, he could choose to fly away to a far distant place, he even contemplates just letting Hawk have his way, but he never bends to Hawk's wishes to change his name. Ultimately he decides to fly out of this world and go to where the sun or the stars are. He turns to the sun and the stars for help, but they have no reason or motivation to help him. If he wants to make it to where they are, he must do it on his own. So he lets out a mighty roar like that of Hawk, he pushes himself far beyond what he thought he could do, he flies and flies until he can't flap his wings any longer, he uses every ounce of energy he has, and does it, he makes it to where he wanted to be.
I believe the moral to this story is that if you want to get somewhere or achieve something great in life (or in the after world) then you won't get there by asking others to take you. Regardless of what it is you want to be or do, if you want to create something original, or you want to be someone great, or you have a vision of what you want to be, you need to go through a long period of study and training, of trials and tribulations to get there. This is true for all the great artists, the great writers, the great thinkers, but it is also true for the people around us. There are no shortage of examples if we care to look. And it is these trials and tribulations that toughen us up and make us what we are, or gives us our vision of what we want to become. For those that are getting bullied, I believe the story says to stay true to your own beliefs, to push through with all your might, because your time will come and you will rise above all others.
That is my personal interpretation of the story. What about you? Have you read The Nighthawk Star? What do you think it means?