ISBN-10:
0895267152
ISBN-13:
9780895267153
Pub. Date:
07/28/1996
Publisher:
Regnery Publishing
Kokoro

Kokoro

by Natsume Soseki, Edwin McClellan
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Overview

"The subject of 'Kokoro,' which can be translated as 'the heart of things' or as 'feeling,' is the delicate matter of the contrast between the meanings the various parties of a relationship attach to it. In the course of this exploration, Soseki brilliantly describes different levels of friendship, family relationships, and the devices by which men attempt to escape from their fundamental loneliness. The novel sustains throughout its length something approaching poetry, and it is rich in understanding and insight. The translation, by Edwin McClellan, is extremely good."

—Anthony West, The New Yorker

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780895267153
Publisher: Regnery Publishing
Publication date: 07/28/1996
Pages: 248
Sales rank: 119,465
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)
Lexile: 890L (what's this?)

About the Author

Natsume Soseki (1867-1916), one of Japan's most influential modern writers, is widely considered the foremost novelist of the Meiji era (1868-1914) and a master of psychological fiction. As well as his works of fiction, his essays, haiku, and kanshi have been influential and are popular even today. 
 
Meredith McKinney (translator) holds a PhD in medieval Japanese literature from the University in Canberra, where she teaches in the Japan Centre. She lived and taught in Japan for twenty years and now lives near Braidwood, New South Wales. Her other translations include Ravine and Other Stories, The Tale of Saigyo, and for Penguin Classics, The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon, and Kusamakura.

Read an Excerpt

Kokoro


By Natsume Soseki, Edwin McClellan

Dover Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Dover Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-486-12258-8



CHAPTER 1

Sensei and I


I always called him "Sensei." I shall therefore refer to him simply as "Sensei," and not by his real name. It is not because I consider it more discreet, but it is because I find it more natural, that I do so. Whenever the memory of him comes back to me now, I find that I think of him as "Sensei" still. And with pen in hand, I cannot bring myself to write of him in any other way.

It was at Kamakura, during the summer holidays, that I first met Sensei. I was then a very young student. I went there at the insistence of a friend of mine, who had gone to Kamakura to swim. We were not together for long. It had taken me a few days to get together enough money to cover the necessary expenses, and it was only three days after my arrival that my friend received a telegram from home demanding his return. His mother, the telegram explained, was ill. My friend, however, did not believe this. For some time his parents had been trying to persuade him, much against his will, to marry a certain girl. According to our modern outlook, he was really too young to marry. Moreover, he was not in the least fond of the girl. It was in order to avoid an unpleasant situation that instead of going home, as he normally would have done, he had gone to the resort near Tokyo to spend his holidays. He showed me the telegram, and asked me what he should do. I did not know what to tell him. It was, however, clear that if his mother was truly ill, he should go home. And so he decided to leave after all. I, who had taken so much trouble to join my friend, was left alone.

There were many days left before the beginning of term, and I was free either to stay in Kamakura or to go home. I decided to stay. My friend was from a wealthy family in the Central Provinces, and had no financial worries. But being a young student, his standard of living was much the same as my own. I was therefore not obliged, when I found myself alone, to change my lodgings.

My inn was in a rather out-of-the-way district of Kamakura, and if one wished to indulge in such fashionable pastimes as playing billiards and eating ice cream, one had to walk a long way across rice fields. If one went by rickshaw, it cost twenty sen. Remote as the district was, however, many rich families had built their villas there. It was quite near the sea also, which was convenient for swimmers such as myself.

I walked to the sea every day, between thatched cottages that were old and smoke-blackened. The beach was always crowded with men and women, and at times, the sea, like a public bath, would be covered with a mass of black heads. I never ceased to wonder how so many city holiday-makers could squeeze themselves into so small a town. Alone in this noisy and happy crowd, I managed to enjoy myself, dozing on the beach or splashing about in the water.

It was in the midst of this confusion that I found Sensei. In those days, there were two tea houses on the beach. For no particular reason, I had come to patronize one of them. Unlike those people with their great villas in the Hase area who had their own bathing huts, we in our part of the beach were obliged to make use of these tea houses which served also as communal changing rooms. In them the bathers would drink tea, rest, have their bathing suits rinsed, wash the salt from their bodies, and leave their hats and sunshades for safe-keeping. I owned no bathing suit to change into, but I was afraid of being robbed, and so I regularly left my things in the tea house before going into the water.


* * *

Sensei had just taken his clothes off and was about to go for a swim when I first laid eyes on him in the tea house. I had already had my swim, and was letting the wind blow gently on my wet body. Between us, there were numerous black heads moving about. I was in a relaxed frame of mind, and there was such a crowd on the beach that I should never have noticed him had he not been accompanied by a Westerner.

The Westerner, with his extremely pale skin, had already attracted my attention when I approached the tea house. He was standing with folded arms, facing the sea: carelessly thrown down on the stool by his side was a Japanese summer dress which he had been wearing. He had on him only a pair of drawers such as we were accustomed to wear. I found this particularly strange. Two days previously I had gone to Yuigahama, and sitting on top of a small dune close to the rear entrance of a Western-style hotel, I had whiled away the time watching the Westerners bathe. All of them had their torsos, arms, and thighs well-covered. The women especially seemed overly modest. Most of them were wearing brightly colored rubber caps which could be seen bobbing conspicuously amongst the waves. After having observed such a scene, it was natural that I should think this Westerner, who stood so lightly clad in our midst, quite extraordinary.

As I watched, he turned his head to the side and spoke a few words to a Japanese, who happened to be bending down to pick up a small towel which he had dropped on the sand. The Japanese then tied the towel around his head, and immediately began to walk towards the sea. This man was Sensei.

From sheer curiosity, I stood and watched the two men walk side by side towards the sea. They strode determinedly into the water, and making their way through the noisy crowd, finally reached a quieter and deeper part of the sea. Then they began to swim out, and did not stop until their heads had almost disappeared from my sight. They turned around, and swam straight back to the beach. At the tea house, they dried themselves without washing the salt off with fresh water from the well and, quickly donning their clothes, they walked away.

After their departure, I sat down, and lighting a cigarette, I began idly to wonder about Sensei. I could not help feeling that I had seen him somewhere before, but failed to recollect where or when I had met him.

I was a bored young man then, and for lack of anything better to do, I went to the tea house the following day at exactly the same hour, hoping to see Sensei again. This time, he arrived without the Westerner, wearing a straw hat. After carefully placing his spectacles on a nearby table and then tying his hand towel around his head, he once more walked quickly down the beach. And when I saw him wading through the same noisy crowd, and then swim out all alone, I was suddenly overcome with the desire to follow him. I splashed through the shallow water until I was far enough out, and then began to swim towards Sensei. Contrary to my expectation, however, he made his way back to the beach in a sort of arc, rather than in a straight line. I was further disappointed when I returned, dripping wet, to the tea house: he had already dressed, and was on his way out.


* * *

I saw Sensei again the next day, when I went to the beach at the same hour; and again on the following day. But no opportunity arose for a conversation, or even a casual greeting, between us. His attitude, besides, seemed somewhat unsociable. He would arrive punctually at the usual hour, and depart as punctually after his swim. He was always aloof, and no matter how gay the crowd around him might be, he seemed totally indifferent to his surroundings. The Westerner, with whom he had first come, never showed himself again. Sensei was always alone.

One day, however, after his usual swim, Sensei was about to put on his summer dress which he had left on the bench, when he noticed that the dress, for some reason, was covered with sand. As he was shaking his dress, I saw his spectacles, which had been lying beneath it, fall to the ground. He seemed not to miss them until he had finished tying his belt. When he began suddenly to look for them, I approached, and bending down, I picked up his spectacles from under the bench. "Thank you," he said, as I handed them to him.

The next day, I followed Sensei into the sea, and swam after him. When we had gone more than a couple of hundred yards out, Sensei turned and spoke to me. The sea stretched, wide and blue, all around us, and there seemed to be no one near us. The bright sun shone on the water and the mountains, as far as the eye could see. My whole body seemed to be filled with a sense of freedom and joy, and I splashed about wildly in the sea. Sensei had stopped moving, and was floating quietly on his back. I then imitated him. The dazzling blue of the sky beat against my face, and I felt as though little, bright darts were being thrown into my eyes. And I cried out, "What fun this is!"

After a while, Sensei moved to an upright position, and said, "Shall we go back?" I, who was young and hardy, wanted very much to stay. But I answered willingly enough, "Yes, let us go back." And we returned to the shore together.

That was the beginning of our friendship. But I did not yet know where Sensei lived.

It was, I think, on the afternoon of the third day following our swim together that Sensei, when we met at the tea house, suddenly asked me, "Do you intend to stay in Kamakura long?" I had really no idea how much longer I would be in Kamakura, so I said, "I don't know." I then saw that Sensei was grinning, and I suddenly became embarrassed. I could not help blurting out, "And you, Sensei?" It was then that I began to call him "Sensei."

That evening, I visited Sensei at his lodgings. He was not staying at an ordinary inn, but had his rooms in a mansion-like building within the grounds of a large temple. I saw that he had no ties of any kind with the other people staying there. He smiled wryly at the way I persisted in addressing him as "Sensei," and I found myself explaining that it was my habit to so address my elders. I asked him about the Westerner, and he told me that his friend was no longer in Kamakura. His friend, I was told, was somewhat eccentric. He spoke to me of other things concerning the Westerner too, and then remarked that it was strange that he, who had so few acquaintances among his fellow Japanese, should have become intimate with a foreigner. Finally, before leaving, I said to Sensei that I felt I had met him somewhere before but that I could not remember where or when. I was young, and as I said this, I hoped, and indeed expected, that he would confess to the same feeling. But after pondering awhile, Sensei said to me, "I cannot remember ever having met you before. Are you not mistaken?" And I was filled with a new and deep sense of disappointment.


* * *

I returned to Tokyo at the end of the month. Sensei had left the resort long before me. As we were taking leave of each other, I had asked him, "Would it be all right if I visited you at your home now and then?" And he had answered quite simply, "Yes, of course." I had been under the impression that we were intimate friends, and had somehow expected a warmer reply. My self-confidence, I remember, was rather shaken then.

Often, during my association with Sensei, I was disappointed in this way. Sometimes, Sensei seemed to know that I had been hurt, and sometimes, he seemed not to know. But no matter how often I experienced such trifling disappointments, I never felt any desire to part from Sensei. Indeed, each time I suffered a rebuff, I wished more than ever to push our friendship further. I thought that with greater intimacy, I would perhaps find in him those things that I looked for. I was very young, it is true. But I think that I would not have behaved quite so simply towards others. I did not understand then why it was that I should behave thus towards Sensei only. But now, when Sensei is dead, I am beginning to understand. It was not that Sensei disliked me at first. His curt and cold ways were not designed to express his dislike of me, but they were meant rather as a warning to me that I would not want him as a friend. It was because he despised himself that he refused to accept openheartedly the intimacy of others. I feel great pity for him.

I intended of course to visit Sensei when I returned to Tokyo. There were still two weeks left before the beginning of lectures, and I thought I would visit him during that time. A few days after my return, however, I began to feel less inclined to do so. The atmosphere of the great city affected me a great deal, bringing back memories. Every time I saw a student in the streets, I found myself awaiting the coming of the new academic year with a feeling of hope and tense excitement. For a while, I forgot all about Sensei.

A month or so after the start of lectures, I became more relaxed. At the same time, I began to walk about the streets discontentedly, and to look around my room with a feeling that something was lacking in my life. I began to think of Sensei, and I found that I wanted to see him again.

The first time I went to his home, Sensei was out. I remember that I went again the following Sunday. It was a lovely day, and the sky was so blue that I was filled with a sense of wellbeing. Again, he was not at home. In Kamakura, Sensei had told me that he spent most of his time at home: indeed, he had even told me that he disliked to go out. Remembering this, I felt an unreasonable resentment at having twice failed to find him. I therefore hesitated in the front hall, staring at the maid who had informed me of her master's absence. She seemed to remember that I had called before and left my card. Asking me to wait, she went away. A lady then appeared, whom I took to be the mistress of the house. She was beautiful.

Very courteously, she told me of Sensei's whereabouts. I learned that every month, on the same day, it was Sensei's custom to take flowers to a certain grave in the cemetery at Zoshigaya. "He left here," said the lady regretfully, "hardly more than ten minutes ago." I thanked her and left. Before I had gone very far towards the busier part of town, I decided that it would be a pleasant walk to Zoshigaya. Besides, I might meet Sensei, I thought. I turned around and started to walk in the direction of Zoshigaya.

From the left side of a field I entered the cemetery and proceeded along a broad avenue bordered on each side by maple trees. There was a tea house at the end of the avenue, and I saw coming out of it someone that looked like Sensei. I walked towards him until I could see the sunlight reflected on the frame of his spectacles. Then, suddenly, I cried out aloud, "Sensei!" Sensei stopped, and saw me. "How in the world ...?" he said. Then again, "How in the world ...?" His words, repeated, seemed to have a strange echo-like effect in the stillness of the afternoon. I did not know what to say.

"Did you follow me? How ...?"

He seemed quite relaxed as he stood there, and his voice was calm. But there was on his face a strangely clouded expression.

I explained to Sensei how I happened to be there.

"Did my wife tell you whose grave I was visiting?"

"Oh, no."

"Well, I suppose there was no reason why she should. After all, she met you today for the first time. No, of course not, there was no need for her to tell you."

At last, he appeared satisfied. But I could not understand the reason for his remarks.

We walked between tombstones on our way out. Next to those with inscriptions such as "Isabella So-and-so ..." and "Login, Servant of God," were those with Buddhist inscriptions such as "All living things bear within themselves the essence of Buddha." There was one tombstone, I remember, on which was written, "Minister Plenipotentiary So-and-so." I stopped before one that was particularly small, and pointing at the three Chinese characters on it, I asked Sensei, "How does one read that?"

"I presume they are meant to be read as 'Andrew'," said Sensei, smiling stiffly.

Sensei did not seem to find the way in which different customs were reflected in the tombstones amusing or ironical, as I did. Silently, he listened to me for a while as I chattered on, pointing to this tombstone and that. But finally he turned to me and said, "You have never thought seriously of the reality of death, have you?" I became silent. Sensei said no more.

Towards the end of the cemetery, there stood a gingko tree, so large that it almost hid the sky from view. Sensei looked up at the tree and said, "In a little while, it will be beautiful here. The tree will be a mass of yellow, and the ground will be buried beneath a golden carpet of fallen leaves." Every month, I learned, Sensei made a point of walking by the tree at least once.

Not far from us in the cemetery, a man was leveling off a piece of rough ground. He stopped, and, resting on his hoe, he watched us. Turning to our left, we soon reached the main road.

Having no particular destination in mind, I continued to walk along with Sensei. Sensei was less talkative than usual. I felt no acute embarrassment, however, and I strolled unconcernedly by his side.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Kokoro by Natsume Soseki, Edwin McClellan. Copyright © 2006 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Part One: Sensei and I
Part Two: My Parents and I
Part Three: Sensei and His Testament

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"This elegant novel...suffuses the reader with a sense of old Japan."
-Los Angeles Times

"Soseki is the representative modern Japanese novelist, a figure of truly national stature."
-Haruki Murakami

Customer Reviews

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Kokoro 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
hanabi33 More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book for a Japanese Literature class. It is a slightly slower read but still enjoyable. To really appreciate it, it is helpful to have a little background of Japanese history. Learning about the author's history is also interesting to compare and contrast Sensei and the Narrator in Kokoro to the author, Natsume Soseki.
diamond2011 More than 1 year ago
¿If my uncle, whom my father praised so much, could cheat me, then what reason have I to trust him?¿ (Soseki 143). This is a quote from one of the main characters in the book titled Kokoro. In this quote the main character Sensei is talking about how his uncle had betrayed him and how he doesn¿t trust him any more. In this book there is a lot of deceit and betrayal. The story is told by an unnamed narrator, a young man who wants to become Sensei¿s friend and know about his past. However, Sensei thinks it is a bad idea for them to become close and to have a close relationship. Although Sensei doesn¿t want to reveal his past a big surprise happens towards the end of the book. Most of the events in take place during the Meiji Restoration in Tokyo. I would recommend this book to people who love being kept on the edges of their seat and to people who love surprising endings.
Although the language of Kokoro is very formal, I recommend this book because it talks about friendship and family relationships. It is filled with drama and excitement along with sorrow and sadness. My favorite part in the book would be when the narrator first sees Sensei and how he describes him. The narrator states, ¿ his attitude, besides, seemed somewhat unsociable. He would arrive punctually at the usual hour, and part as punctually at the usual hour, and depart as punctually after his swim. Sensei was always alone.¿(Soseki 5)
I also recommend this book because of its author Natsume Soseki. He is an amazing writer and he was also very famous for writing books during the Meiji Era. Natsume¿s writing is very formal and he has a very different style unlike other authors. His style is unique and different. Natsume is concerned with ¿man¿s loneliness¿ in the modern world which is probably a good reason why his books are so good.
Some might say the book Kokoro is very boring, unexciting, and not entertaining at all because it took a long time to get to the climax in the book. On the other hand, I say this book is very entertaining, exciting, drama filled, and mature. Others think that this book isn¿t even made for a teenager to read, but if a teenager ever finds themselves feeling betrayed then Kokoro is the book for them to read. It is a book for people of all ages and it relates to people in many different ways.
In conclusion, I recommend this book because it talks about many different relationships between friends and family. It also has a bit of drama, excitement, and curiosity throughout the whole story. Kokoro is an excellent book for every one of all ages to read.
Marliesd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had to read this for a class a few years ago. Very interesting. A Japanese classic.
NoLongerHuman More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Ariel_torres More than 1 year ago
Kokoro Book Review

¿Unless I take advantage of it while I can, I shall never again have the opportunity of passing on to you what I have learned from my own experience, and my promise to you will have been broken¿ (Sosecki 121). This novel Kokoro is about a young man who tries to get close to Sensei, an older man who is very secretive, and figure out his life background. The narrator, a young man from Tokyo Japan, becomes friends with Sensei and his family during the Meiji Era. He¿s very curious about this older mans life and works hard to find out who he is. I would recommend this book to people who like novels that are long mysteries.
One strength of Kokoro is it is written very poetic. It has a strong way of words that describes the events in the story very well. An example is ¿Rather, it is we, who are so certain of our good health that is in real danger¿ (Sosecki 85). What is going on in this sentence is the narrators¿ father is very sick and close to death. I guess what he¿s saying is that people that are so sure of their good health shouldn¿t be so absolute, because if something bad happens then they will sad and disappointed.
Another strenghth is its mysterious story. It talks about Sensei¿s great past. This is when the story becomes very interesting. An example is when Sensei starts to fall in love with another main character, Ojosan. Sensei writes in his letter to the narrator, ¿You are probably asking yourself: `If he was indeed in such a state, how is it that he was able to feel affection for Ojosan? How could he have enjoyed her bad flower arrangement and her koto-playing?¿ I can only answer that I truly did experience these conflicting emotions at the time, and that I can do no more than describe them to you as faithfully as I can¿ (Sosecki 150).
Some may say Kokoro is not a good book. They might say that the plot is very flat and the vocabulary is tough. However, some people are bound to enjoy this book because it¿s very popular and well written. Lots of people should take the opportunity to learn new words to expand their vocabulary.
In conclusion, I recommend this book because lots of people seem to enjoy and like this book and I think you would too.
Lakendra_5277 More than 1 year ago
¿There are no secrets better kept than the secrets that everybody guesses.¿ (George Bernard Shaw, 570: 13)
A man who lives in Tokyo, Japan that goes by the name Sensei is hiding life secrets from his family and friends. In the beginning of the novel Kokoro, Sensei and the narrator become close friends. The narrator desperately wants to know all about Sensei¿s life and hidden secrets. I highly recommend this novel to readers that like to discover secrets, but who can also understand challenging words and enjoy descriptive text.
One strength of Kokoro is the way it is written. It is written formally and is so descriptive that you can practically imagine everything that takes place. For example, after Sensei asks Okusan can he marry Ojasan, who is Okusan daughter, K becomes depressed and kills himself. ¿The dead had felt inordinately heavy. I sat still for a while, looking at the cold ears that I had just touched, and thick, close-cropped hair, which seemed to belong to some one alive.¿ (Soseki 231)
Another strength of the book is the mystery. The story builds up finding out the secrets of Sensei¿s life. For example, Sensei doesn¿t let the narrator in on his life until he feels the time is right. ¿By the time this letter reaches you, I shall probably have left this world-I shall be dead.¿ (Soseki 122) This quote explains how Sensei is the type of person that likes to keep his personal issues to himself.
Critics might say that they don¿t like waiting until the end of Kokoro to figure Sensei¿s secret out. The plot is slow paced and the reader does not begin even to get a clue what Sensei¿s secret is until the 3rd part. However, I believe that it is worth the wait.
In conclusion, I recommend Kokoro to those with a strong vocabulary and those who enjoy reading books that have descriptive details. I would recommend it to readers who like to discover secrets.
Vanesa_O More than 1 year ago
¿¿ What caused him to change so suddenly?¿But can a man change so because of the death of one friend? I should very much like to know. That is why I want you to tell me¿¿ (Soseki 41-42). In the novel Kokoro by Natsume Soseki, these are the questions that the narrator asks himself throughout the novel. This is a novel about a young man who is trying to figure out the secret of Sensei, an older man, who to him is very mysterious. This novel is told from the point of view of the young man who lives in Tokyo, Japan in the last years of the Meiji Era. I recommend this book to people who like books about friendships and death.
One strength of Kokoro is the way that it is written. There are many vivid descriptions throughout the book. This affects the reader because it makes you feel like you are really there. For example, the author describes how Sensei and the narrator met, very vividly. The narrator and Sensei are both on vacation in Kamakura. The narrator has been watching Sensei at the beach and after a few days he builds up the courage to talk to Sensei. He follows Sensei into the sea and swims after him. ¿When we had gone more than a couple hundred yards out, Sensei turned and spoke to me. The Sea stretched, wide and blue, all around us, and there seemed to be no one near us. The bright sun shone on the water and the mountains, as far as the eye could see¿ (Soseki 6).
Another strength of Kokoro is that the reader and the narrator are dying to know the secret of Sensei. The author hints about his secret in parts of the book. At this point, the narrator and Sensei are boarding a train back to Tokyo and are talking about Sensei¿s past. Sensei tells the narrator he was deceived by his family, however he does not tells him how. ¿¿Very well, then,¿ said Sensei. `I will tell you all about my past. But remember- no, never mind about that. Let me simply warn you that to know my past may do you no good¿Don¿t expect me to tell you until the proper time to do so has come¿¿ (Soseki 68).
On the other hand, some may say that it is not a good book because the writing style is old fashioned and that the vocabulary is challenging. However, high school students should be open to different styles of writing and should be reading books that challenge them intellectually.
In conclusion, I recommend Kokoro because when you find out the secret of Sensei it is worth your while. I recommend this book to people who like books about friendship and death.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
`¿A friend of mine happens to be buried there¿. ¿And you visit his grave every month?¿ ¿Yes¿. ¿Sensei told me no more that day¿¿ '16'. With this and more mysteries, the narrator, a Japanese student living in Japan during the Meiji Period, tells the story of an unknown friend, whom he calls ¿Sensei.¿ Sensei hides a dark past filled with secrets. Kokoro by Natsume Soseki is a story filled with many life lessons such as love, trust, compassion, wisdom, being open-minded, and many other things that all young people can learn about. The story is somewhat poetic. Mystery and descriptive language engages readers to keep reading. An example of the language in the book is the following- ¿On a cold, rainy day in November, I walked home as usual through the grounds of the temple of Konnyaku-Emma and up the narrow lane that led to the house¿ '96'. The story is first told by the narrator, which is mostly about his views with Sensei and Sensei¿s wife, ¿Shizu.¿ Later, Sensei reveals his dark past in his testament. The testament starts with Sensei losing a lot of his fortune, studying in college and university, and falling in love with the landlady¿s daughter in the boarding house where he resides. Sensei¿s weaknesses are seen thoroughly in the testament. Later, Sensei invites a school friend to live with him named ¿K¿. As a result, K also falls in love with ¿Ojosan¿, the landlady¿s daughter. ¿Are you going to keep your love for Ojosan a secret, or are you going to do something about it?¿ '21'. The conclusions toward those events lead to a shocking and revealing ending. With a mixture of historical fiction, readers are immersed into the world of Kokoro. Readers learn historical information about the Meiji Period in Japan, as well as living conditions during these times. With its enchanting words, Kokoro gives an insight in making the right decisions in life and their impacts. Natsume Soseki is still a favorite author of many contemporary Japanese readers. Possibly, the best writer of the Meiji Period, Soseki¿s Kokoro indeed is an unforgettable treasure for life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
How can a secret hurt you? How can it keep you from having any friends and a good relationship with your wife? This is a problem with Sensei, the main character in the novel Kokoro by Natsume Soseki. The conflict is that Sensei is holding a secret that nobody knows, even his wife. It takes Sensei a long time to say what his secret is but when he does finally say it, it will hurt people badly. The story Kokoro takes place in Tokyo during the Meiji Period. There is a lot to learn about Sensei in the novel Kokoro. Sensei is an older man and is not a nice person until he meets the narrator. During the whole book at least once a month Sensei would take flowers to a grave. ¿It was Sensei¿s custom to take flowers to a certain grave in the cemetery at Zoshigaya.¿ (Soseki 9) Nobody ever goes to the cemetery with Sensei, not even his wife Shizu. The narrator goes with Sensei to the cemetery now because he¿s trying to find out why and who he¿s taking the flowers to. He¿s trying to see if this is a part of the secret Sensei doesn¿t have a good relationship with anybody. Sensei and Shizu don¿t act like husband and wife. They hardly talk to each other, and when they do, they don¿t have a lot to say. Sensei and Shizu don¿t go out together anywhere. Shizu is basically the maid of the house. As soon as Sensei meets the Narrator a lot of that changes. Sensei starts to go out a lot more to take walks and visit people. Sensei, Shizu, and the Narrator hang out with each other now. They have dinner together, talk more and have a better relationship. Sensei¿s and Shizu¿s relationship expands a lot ever since Sensei met the Narrator. This is strength because Sensei and Shizu are finally acting like a wife and a husband. They are talking more and doing more stuff together like going out. This book is recommended to people who are really interested in Japan and want to know more about the cultures in Japan. If you are interested in a mystery, then you will like the novel Kokoro by Natsume Soseki.
Guest More than 1 year ago
¿Calling All Secret Holders!!¿ Is it always good to keep secrets hidden? This is a question that one might ponder while reading the book Kokoro written by Natsume Soseki , about a secret hidden only by time and its keeper Sensei, who is often contemplated by our main character who has some what tried to soar under Sensei¿s wing his name is not mentioned, for he is the narrator. A strength that this book has is its descriptive language, which enables the reader to comprehend and visualize the scenery. For Soseki describes and details most of the book so it seems as if you are actually there, this quote from the book is a good example. ¿Behind the bench and next to the cedar sapling, dwarf bamboos, grow thickly over a small patch of ground, (Soseki 61).¿ That is only a taste of the richly detailed writing you will read in Kokoro The book raises this question: are secrets are good for bringing relationships together? Or do they tear relationships apart. A quote said by Shizu, one of the characters about her husband it reads, ¿I can¿t tell you all. If I do Sensei will be very angry.¿ (Soseki 47) Sensei. The novel¿s theme is one of its strengths, because everybody can relate to keeping secrets and how this can affect the people around them. This book is meant to be paid attention to, because if the reader misses one step, then they will fall into confusion. The possibilities are endless all the shocking turns will trick you. So, this book requires patience, and is perfect for anybody who has kept a secret that has affected a relationship in anyway, so that they can compare the situations.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A BOOK FOR INTELLECTUAL READERS ¿Should I go on living as I do now, like a mummy left in the midst of living beings, or should I . . .? (pg.125). This is the vigorous challenge that the main character, Sensei asks himself throughout the book. Kokoro is an intense novel written by Japanese author Natsume Soseki. In the novel, Sensei¿s life is depicted by the narrator, a young man who lives in Tokyo, Japan during the last years of the Meiji era. The narrator feels the want of Sensei¿s friendship. As their friendship progresses, Sensei¿s past seems confusing and hidden to the narrator. The narrator desperately wants to uncover Sensei¿s mystery. One of Kokoro¿s strong points is the plot. The story begins slowly by introducing the characters and setting, but gets more interesting as the story progresses by establishing the conflict. The reader is attracted to the secret Sensei hides from every character in the novel and the reader. In Part One of the novel, Sensei tells the narrator, ¿I will tell you all about my past. But remember ¿ no never mind about that. Let me simply warn you that to know my past may do you no good. It may be better to you not to know. And I cannot tell you just yet. Don¿t expect me to tell you until the proper time to do so has come.¿ (pg.68). Sensei is aware that the narrator and the reader want to know about his mysterious past, but he will keep the readers on the edge of their seats until it is revealed. The plot will keep the reader engaged because the secret is very significant. Another of Kokoro¿s strengths is the figurative language used by Natsume Soseki. The author describes what he is trying to show to the reader. One example is the way Sensei¿s questions himself about whether to commit suicide or live emotionless, ¿In those days, every time I thought of the latter alternative, I was seized with a terrible fear. I was like a man who runs to the edge of a cliff and looking down, sees that the abyss is bottomless.¿ (pg.125). The quote shows the reader that Sensei saw himself as a coward instead of just saying he was a coward. The writing is brilliant because its words are like a movie projecting in the reader¿s mind. In conclusion, readers who enjoy challenging and intense novels should read Kokoro. It was written in the early 1900s and the book¿s setting is just before that era. This novel was Soseki¿s last piece of work before his death. This gives an eerie feeling as you read the book, which is exceptional. The words he used in the novel are very descriptive and help the reader paint a picture of each scene in the book. The reader will enjoy Kokoro if they like to be intellectually challenged by words and enjoy mystery.
Guest More than 1 year ago
KOKORO By: Natsume Soseki ¿At any rate, I persuaded myself that it was K¿s intention to submit his love for Ojosan. I became convinced that K, in his usual determined manner, would do all he could to win her.¿ In Kokoro, by Natsume Soseki, the main characters are Sensei and the narrator. The novel begins a long time ago, but as you read, you will notice that the time period changes. With time, the book will become very interesting. Sensei and K are best friends, but they both end up liking the same girl, Ojosan. K is Sensei¿s rival due to the love for Ojosan. Besides the crush, there is this secret going on that you will find out when reading the book. The story begins with a lot of dialogue, but there is this ¿secret¿ that we don¿t know about. Once the book is read all the way, we will find out what the secret is. This is also a weakness because this secret makes the novel a little confusing. Sensei has a great reason for wanting to visit the grave every month. ¿Believe me, visiting the grave is for me a truly serious matter.¿ (Soseki 13) This explains why he had a secret with his wife about visiting the grave every months and how much it meant for him. The characters were all interesting. The one that was the most fascinating was Sensei. He was the most exciting character because he has a lot in him for the readers to know and also has a great secret to be discovered. This is strength because it makes readers want to know more about the characters and to read the novel. ¿I wonder what had caused K to commit suicide. At first I was inclined to think that it was disappointment in love.¿ (Soseki 240) This shows part of what the secret is and how mysterious the novel gets at the end. This is clearly a worthwhile book, as most readers spend too much time reading it, but not everybody. The main action was the two suicides that occur, which is shocking for some readers. Towards the end the book, it gets awesome. You will enjoy reading this novel if you are patient and like mystery.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Denzel Henderson Humanities 1/9/07 Book Review It¿s nice how authors can write a story and make it sound so real when its not. In the Japanese novel Kokoro, the author writes about real life situation when the protagonist, the narrator, meets a mysterious man who he calls Sensei and becomes his apprentice. The novel, written by Natsume Soseki, is about the missing piece of the puzzle in a boy¿s life. The narrator in the story does not have a father figure but has a father, so the narrator clings on to the sensei and looks at him as a role model, a friend and a father figure. Set in Japan, Kokoro is a story about family and friendship. I recommend this book to anyone who likes to read realistic fiction. One strength of this novel is that the author makes you feel like you are literally in the book as you read it. The author also relates the book to real life situations when I say the author relates the book to real life situations I mean, in the book the narrator has a father but his father is not a father figure, and situations happen like that in the world. The author also makes the characters seem real in the story. ¿Sensei had just taken his clothes off and was about to go for a swim when I first laid eyes on him in the tea house.¿(pg.3) While the story is mostly realistic, some parts are confusing. My favorite part of the book is when the narrator first sees sensei and wants him to be his teacher. ¿Whenever the memory of him comes back to me now, I find that I think of him as ¿sensei¿ still.¿(pg.1) The reason it is confusing is because the narrator says he remembers Sensei, but at the time he was not dead. One weakness of this novel is the lack of description. The author does not describe how the characters look, nor does he describe the setting. . The narrator of the story didn¿t even have a name. As well, there¿s almost no figurative language in the book. This is a weakness because a story without sensory details is kind of dull and boring. However the strengths of Kokoro outweigh the weaknesses. I strongly recommend this novel to anyone who likes to read realistic books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Have you ever looked up to someone, besides your father, as a father-figure? I have, once in my life. Likewise, in the novel Kokoro, the narrator, looks up to a man who he meets on a beach as a father figure. In this novel by Natsume Soseki, the narrator follows this man, who he calls Sensei, as a friend at first, then later develops feelings for him and asks him to help him find a job. Set in Japan, after the isolationist period, Kokoro is a story about relationships. This is a book that I would not recommend to anyone, especially if you like action. One weakness of the book is the theme and how it is communicated. I felt kind of sad for myself that after reading the entire book, in the end, there was really no theme or message. The narrator just had a talk with sensei. Before he could say anything else sensei left the room. So he started to have a conversation with his wife and they talked about why sensei was so lonely. The narrator starts to get his things and head out. ¿I left sensei¿s house a little after ten o¿clock. As I was due to go home in two or three days¿ time, I said a few words of farewell before rising from my seat.¿ (p.73) Another weakness of the book is the story¿s conflict and plot. The book, to me, did not have very strong plot. I did not like the way the narrator just traveled through the book without feeling he was a very static character. Narrator receives a letter from Sensei and has waits a long time to read the letter. He finally sits down, on the train to Tokyo, and reads the letter. ¿The noise of the engine filled my ears as I sat down in a third-class carriage. At last, I was able to read sensei¿s letter from beginning to end.¿ (p.124) One strength of the book is the book¿s point of view. It showed the different people and their personalities, but it always lead back to the narrator. The narrator is talking to sensei¿s wife and doesn¿t want to be taken as argumentative. ¿I wanted to say more. But I was afraid of being taken for one of theses argumentative men, and so I became silent.¿ However, overall this book was ok in some ways. I didn¿t like it because I am a man who likes action and suspense. I need a real page turner. I wouldn¿t recommend this book to people who like action and suspense books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Have you ever been through all the different levels of friendship or family relationships? If not, then you should read Kokoro Natsume Soseki. Kokoro, a novel approximately 255 pages in length, takes place in Japan after the Meiji Restoration. The main characters in the story are the narrator, a university student, and his mentor, Sensei. Throughout the story, the conflict is that Sensei is very lonely during the last days of his life, and the only way to escape his loneliness is through death. The other two characters you should pay attention to are the narrator¿s father and Sensei¿s wife, who both are involved in the conflict. I would definitely recommend Kokoro, especially if you are in a relationship with a close friend. The story would teach you about commitment and how to help someone when they need it the most. Strength of Kokoro is the characterization. The protagonist is Sensei and the antagonist is the narrator because he is the opposition with whom Sensei must contend. Sensei is a round character because of his realistic personality. ¿And for Sensei the protagonist of Kokoro, the only means of escape from loneliness is death.¿ The narrator is a dynamic character because he changes significantly during the course of the story. The narrator changes through the teaching of life of by his companionship with Sensei. Kokoro¿s characterization allows the reader to get a closer look at how characters act throughout the whole story. Although the characterization is great, the greatest strength is the theme. The lesson that it teaches is how to learn about the different levels of relationships, as I had said in the beginning. ¿In the course of this exploration, Soseki brilliantly describes different levels of friendship, family relationships, and the devices by which men attempt to escape from their fundamental loneliness.¿ The theme is communicated through the different perspectives of the two main characters we learn how one trusts another to later on also learn about each other¿s past and future lifetime. One weakness of this book is the lack of action and humor. Another weakness is the lack of description of the character¿s features. For example, when we first encounter the narrator¿s mother we only are told about how she acted. ¿My mother was surprisingly optimistic and unconcerned.¿ The lack of the character¿s features made it hard for me to look at the imagery or figurative language in the story. Finally, this is why I recommend this to anyone who would like to read about how far a relationship between two friends would go when one is having problems with his loneliness and the other with his family. Kokoro by Natsume Soseki is a great book to read because of how the story is told through the perspectives from the main characters. You would learn about how the characters came to be and how strong of a relationship both posses.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It¿s funny how books can change your perspective on life. I found out that if you keep a secret from everybody for too long, your story has to come out sometime. When I read the book Kokoro, I thought that proverb fit in perfectly with the book. The narrator of Kokoro is an adventurous school boy who likes to meet new people. He goes to a beach and meets the man he calls Sensei. This novel, written by Natsume Soseki, is about Sensei¿s struggle to tell the narrator his secret. This novel takes place in Tokyo, Japan in the early nineteen hundreds. Kokoro is a about one man¿s life and how he kept the story of all his teen years to himself until he finally writes that one letter to the narrator. I recommend Kokoro to anyone who likes novels that turn around at the end. Imagery is strong aspect of Soseki¿s work. I think that imagery is good because I think he writes some very unique stuff. When Soseki writes in a novel he is so descriptive and graphic. I think that that his stuff is very unique because he puts so much deliberation into the statement that he is trying to make. Also the descriptions are so vivid. Like¿¿¿The diploma was made of stiff paper, and, having become miss happen in the packing, it refused to stay still and collapsed each time my father tried to stand it up.¿ (p.83) I thought that this quote was very descriptive because Soseki explains how stiff the paper really is. One weakness of Kokoro is that the story¿s rising action is too long. The story does not really pick up until the end, (which is too long for me) The part I really liked was in the third part, when the narrator receives the letter from Sensei. ¿.Indeed, it would be more correct to say that I live alone in this world. How could I, then, have been of any help to you? However, that is of little importance. You see, when your letter came, I was trying desperately to decide what I should do with myself. I was thinking, 'Should I go on living as I do now, like a mummy left in the midst of living beings, or should I...?' (p.125) I liked this part because it shows that Sensei finally cared about someone besides himself. Another weakness of Kokoro is the end. I did not like the ending of the book I would have rather listen to a more exciting ending than the ending in the book now. The ending that I would of put is that the Narrator and Sensei could have at least met up before Sensei died. ¿One might say that I went through my marriage ceremony, which I had looked forward to for so long, in a state of nervous insecurity. But since I did not know my own self very well, I had a vague hope that perhaps marriage would enable me to begin a new life.¿ I recommend this book to anyone who likes surprises at the end of the book they are reading, also anyone who likes well language aknowledge books with great language.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It¿s funny how books can change your perspective on life. I found out that if you keep a secret from everybody for too long, your story has to come out sometime. When I read the book Kokoro, I thought that proverb fit in perfectly with the book. The narrator of Kokoro is an adventurous school boy who likes to meet new people. He goes to a beach and meets the man he calls Sensei. This novel, written by Natsume Soseki, is about Sensei¿s struggle to tell the narrator his secret. This novel takes place in Tokyo, Japan in the early nineteen hundreds. Kokoro is a about one man¿s life and how he kept the story of all his teen years to himself until he finally writes that one letter to the narrator. I recommend Kokoro to anyone who likes novels that turn around at the end. Imagery is strong aspect of Soseki¿s work. I think that imagery is good because I think he writes some very unique stuff. When Soseki writes in a novel he is so descriptive and graphic. I think that that his stuff is very unique because he puts so much deliberation into the statement that he is trying to make. Also the descriptions are so vivid. Like¿¿.. ¿The diploma was made of stiff paper, and, having become misshapen in the packing, it refused to stay still and collapsed each time my father tried to stand it up.¿ (p.83) I thought that this quote was very descriptive because Soseki explains how stiff the paper really is. One weakness of Kokoro is that the story¿s rising action is too long. The story does not really pick up until the end, (which is too long for me) The part I really liked was in the third part, when the narrator receives the letter from Sensei. ¿.Indeed, it would be more correct to say that I live alone in this world. How could I, then, have been of any help to you? However, that is of little importance. You see, when your letter came, I was trying desperately to decide what I should do with myself. I was thinking, 'Should I go on living as I do now, like a mummy left in the midst of living beings, or should I...?' (p.125) I liked this part because it shows that Sensei finally cared about someone besides himself. Another weakness of Kokoro is the end. I did not like the ending of the book I would have rather listen to a more exciting ending than the ending in the book now. The ending that I would of put is that the Narrator and Sensei could have at least met up before Sensei died. ¿One might say that I went through my marriage ceremony, which I had looked forward to for so long, in a state of nervous insecurity. But since I did not know my own self very well, I had a vague hope that perhaps marriage would enable me to begin a new life.¿ I recommend this book to anyone who likes surprises at the end of the book they are reading, also anyone who likes well acknowledge books with great language.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Kokoro' has a timeless quality about it, and people, from many generations from now, will still adore the book. It is a cerebral, philosophical, and melancholy book. One quote from the book sums up what I think the author meant to convey overall, and that quote is 'who are we to judge the needs of another man's heart?'
Guest More than 1 year ago
Kokoro is a outstanding novel that is brilliantly crafted. It is to be reread. It is rich with contextual foreshadowing clues. It speaks so much of its own time and period, but at the same time, it has universal appeal. This is an incredible novel that is well worth the journey.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Kokoro' means 'Heart' or 'Mind' in Japanese. You may not understand this novel.....If you're not Japanese. But if you are willing to try, go for it! This is my favorite novel in the world. I don't know how many times I've read it....and it makes me cry each time. This novel represents the spirit of Japan.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you are studying Japanese culture during Meiji era, this book tell you everything. Japanese People in Meiji era were intellectually much more complecated than our generations. Read it and analyze it by yourselves.