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Written over the course of 1904-1906, Soseki Natsume's comic masterpiece, I Am a Cat, satirizes the foolishness of upper-middle-class Japanese society during the Meiji era. With acerbic wit and sardonic perspective, it follows the whimsical adventures of a world-weary stray kitten who comments on the follies and foibles of the people around him.
A classic of Japanese literature, I Am a Cat is one of Soseki's best-known novels. Considered by many as the greatest writer in modern Japanese history, Soseki's I Am a Cat is a classic novel sure to be enjoyed for years to come.
Botchan is a modern young man from the Tokyo metropolis, sent to the ultra-traditional Matsuyama district as a Maths teacher after his the death of his parents. Cynical, rebellious and immature, Botchan finds himself facing several tests, from the pupils - prone to playing tricks on their new, naïve teacher; the staff - vain, immoral, and in danger of becoming a bad influence on Botchan; and from his own as-yet-unformed nature, as he finds his place in the world. One of the most popular novels in Japan where it is considered a classic of adolescence, as seminal as The Catcher in the Rye, Botchan is as funny, poignant and memorable as it was when first published, over 100 years ago.
In J. Cohn's introduction to his colourful translation, he discusses Botchan's success, the book's clash between Western intellectualism and traditional Japanese values, and the importance of names and nicknames in the novel.
Natsume Soseki's Kusamakura—meaning “grass pillow”—follows its nameless young artist-narrator on a meandering walking tour of the mountains. At the inn at a hot spring resort, he has a series of mysterious encounters with Nami, the lovely young daughter of the establishment. Nami, or "beauty," is the center of this elegant novel, the still point around which the artist moves and the enigmatic subject of Soseki's word painting. In the author's words, Kusamakura is "a haiku-style novel, that lives through beauty." Written at a time when Japan was opening its doors to the rest of the world, Kusamakura turns inward, to the pristine mountain idyll and the taciturn lyricism of its courtship scenes, enshrining the essence of old Japan in a work of enchanting literary nostalgia.
Soseki Natsume is considered to be one of Japan's most beloved and respected authors. And Then is ranked as one of his most insightful and stirring novels.
Daisuke, the protagonist, is a man in his twenties who is struggling with his personal purpose and identity as well as the changing social landscape of Meiji-era Japan. As Japan enters the Twentieth Century, ancient customs give way to western ideals, and Daisuke works to resolve his feelings of disconnection and abandonment during this time of change. Thanks to his father's wealth, Daisuke has the luxury of having time to develop his philosophies and ruminate on their meaning while remaining intellectually aloof from traditional Japanese culture and the demands of growing industrialization.
Then Daisuke's life takes an unexpected turn when he is reunited with his college friend and his sickly wife. At first, Daisuke's stoicism allows him to act according to his intellect, but his intellectual fortress begins to show its vulnerabilities as his emotions start to hold greater sway over his inner life. Daisuke must now weigh his choices in a culture that has always operated on the razor's edge of societal obligation and personal freedom.
Soseki Natsume's comic masterpiece, I Am a Cat, satirizes the foolishness of upper-middle-class Japanese society in early 20th century Tokyo. Written with biting wit and sardonic perspective, it follows the whimsical adventures of a rather cynical stray kitten. He finds his way into the home of an English teacher, where his running commentary on the follies and foibles of the people around him has been making readers laugh for more than a century.
This is the very first manga edition in English of this classic piece of Japanese literature. The story lends itself well to a graphic novel format, allowing readers to pick up on the more subtle cues of the expressive cat, while also being immersed in the world of his perceptive narration. It is true to classic manga form, and is read back to front.
The cast of characters includes:
- Kushami—His master, who is not good at his job and quite stupid
- The Kenedas—A conceited couple with a spoiled daughter
- Meitei—Kushami's friend who is fond of jokes and tall tales
- A group of local cats including lovely Mikeko, and violent Kuro
Beautifully illustrated by Japanese artist Chiroru Kobato, this edition provides a visual, entertaining look at a unique period in Japan's history—filled with cultural and societal changes, rapid modernization and a feeling of limitless possibility—through the eyes of an unlikely narrator.
Light and Dark, Natsume Soseki's longest novel and masterpiece, although unfinished, is a minutely observed study of haute-bourgeois manners on the eve of World War I. It is also a psychological portrait of a new marriage that achieves a depth and exactitude of character revelation that had no precedent in Japan at the time of its publication and has not been equaled since. With Light and Dark, Soseki invented the modern Japanese novel.
Recovering in a clinic following surgery, thirty-year-old Tsuda Yoshio receives visits from a procession of intimates: his coquettish young wife, O-Nobu; his unsparing younger sister, O-Hide, who blames O-Nobu's extravagance for her brother's financial difficulties; his self-deprecating friend, Kobayashi, a ne'er-do-well and troublemaker who might have stepped from the pages of a Dostoevsky novel; and his employer's wife, Madam Yoshikawa, a conniving meddler with a connection to Tsuda that is unknown to the others. Divergent interests create friction among this closely interrelated cast of characters that explodes into scenes of jealousy, rancor, and recrimination that will astonish Western readers conditioned to expect Japanese reticence.
Released from the clinic, Tsuda leaves Tokyo to continue his convalescence at a hot-springs resort. For reasons of her own, Madam Yoshikawa informs him that a woman who inhabits his dreams, Kiyoko, is staying alone at the same inn, recovering from a miscarriage. Dissuading O-Nobu from accompanying him, Tsuda travels to the spa, a lengthy journey fraught with real and symbolic obstacles that feels like a passage from one world to another. He encounters Kiyoko, who attempts to avoid him, but finally manages a meeting alone with her in her room. Soseki's final scene is a sublime exercise in indirection that leaves Tsuda to "explain the meaning of her smile."
Sanshirō (1908) is a novel by Natsume Sōseki. Inspired by the author’s experience as a student from the countryside who moved to Tokyo, Sanshirō is a story of family, growth, and identity that captures the isolation and humor of adjusting to life on one’s own. Recognized as a powerful story by generations of readers, Sanshirō is a classic novel from one of Japan’s most successful twentieth century writers.
Raised on the island of Kyushu, Sanshirō Ogawa excels in high school and earns the chance to continue his studies at the University of Tokyo. On his way there, he naively accepts an invitation to share a room with a young woman in Nagoya, realizing only too late that she has other things than sleep in mind. As he adjusts to life in the big city, he finds himself stumbling into more uncomfortable situations with women, radical political figures, and interfering colleagues, all of which shape his sense of identity while teaching him the value of trust, courage, and self-respect. While he misses his family and friends in Kyushu, Sanshirō learns to value his newfound independence, forming friendships that will last a lifetime. Sanshirō proves a gifted student but struggles to understand the intricacies of academic life. As he begins a relationship with the lovely Mineko, he begins to doubt his ability to defy tradition. Will he return home to raise a family in Kyushu, or remain in Tokyo to chart a path of his own? Eminently human, Sanshirō is a beloved story of isolation, morality, and conflict from a master of Japanese fiction.
With a beautifully designed cover and professionally typeset manuscript, this edition of Natsume Sōseki’s Sanshirō is a classic work of Japanese literature reimagined for modern readers.