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Kokoro

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,936 Ratings  ·  638 Reviews

Hailed by The New Yorker as "rich in understanding and insight," Kokoro — "the heart of things" — is the work of one of Japan's most popular authors. This thought-provoking trilogy of stories explores the very essence of loneliness and stands as a stirring introduction to modern Japanese literature.
Paperback, 171 pages
Published March 1st 2002 by Quiet Vision Pub (first published 1914)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Samadrita
A languid, melancholic dream of a novel which pierces the heart of the reader with its quiet intensity.

Cautious in its narrative tread on the ground of contentious issues, delicate in its broaching of subjects like the indignity of death, sin and redemption, existentialist ennui, self-recrimination and misanthropy, 'Kokoro' is a masterful recounting of a tragedy which unfolds against the backdrop of the dying years of the Meiji era. As Emperor Meiji breathes his last taking along with him the an
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[P]
Jun 29, 2015 [P] rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A few years ago I had arranged to meet up with a girl I was loosely dating. I liked her a lot, but as she is a DJ, who works late nights, seeing each other was not easy. I had agreed to go to the club she was playing at that night and wait for her to finish, which would be something like 3am. As I didn’t want to spend the entire night stood at the side of the DJ booth waiting for her I asked my brother if he wanted to join me. I explained why I wanted to go out, I assured him that I would be fre ...more
Mariel
Apr 22, 2011 Mariel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: when it dies
Recommended to Mariel by: when it lives
Kokoro translates to "the heart of things". I only know this because the translator's forward said it was so. I need a translator, from my heart's mind to yours (anyone?)... I am afraid that I will wander around in the dark mental spaces again. Gray shades of life experiences and emotional (not necessarily reality) experiences. Who could pick up on the undertones and relevances? I'm truly afraid that worse than making no sense, I'll be sitting at the feet (Muppet babies feet? Peanuts gang feet? ...more
Praj
Feb 14, 2015 Praj rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ns, にほん
"How can I escape,except through faith,madness or death?"

Kokoro is an epic melodrama of isolation and self-inflicted guilt. A beautiful heartfelt experience from the exploring friendship between a young graduate student and his mentor(Sensei).Soseki brilliantly unveils an intricate web of egoism,guilt,temptations and loneliness through various anecdotes on Sensei's reclusive living. No wonder Soseki succeeded Lafacdio Hearn as a lecturer in English Literature in the Imperial University(1903).
Hadrian
Apr 29, 2015 Hadrian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, japan
Reread, 4/29/2015.

I was reminded about this book by some of Kate Beaton's lovely comics (here, with some plot spoilers) and I thought to reread it again.

All humor aside, this book has stirring emotional set pieces which seem even more interesting and important on second reading.
David
Mar 13, 2011 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: big-red-circle
I was concerned that I was finding it a bit dull, and Sensei felt too dramatic and self-important to care what happens to him. He certainly isn't likeable, but his testament in the last chapter is enthralling and makes the book. It leaves us with a very strange ending.

"loneliness is the price we have to pay for being in the modern age, so full of freedom, independence, and our own egotistical selves"

"But what affected me most was his last sentence, which had perhaps been written as an afterthoug
...more
Mahsa
Jun 18, 2016 Mahsa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
اعتماد داشتن اتفاق قشنگ اما خطرناکیه؛ قشنگ چون با داشتنش آرامش خاطر هست، و خطرناک چون با یکبار از دست دادنض تمام سیستم اعتقادی یک آدم از هم میپاشه و میتونه باعث بشه اعتماد برای یک زندگی از دست بره و هرگز برنگرده. شاید بشه گفت اعتماد یکبار مصرف به حساب میاد؛ اگه یک بار خراب بشه، دیگه نمیشه ازش استفاده کرد.

این کتاب در اولین صفحاتش یک معما رو مطرح میکنه؛ معمای رفتار خاص و روش زندگی عجیب "سِنسی"، مردی که گذشتهش یک علامت سوال بزرگه و میل عجیبِ دونستن این گذشته در تمام صفحات کتاب مثل یک عطش دیوونهکنن
...more
Edward
May 04, 2015 Edward rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Introduction
About the Title
Acknowledgments
Suggestions for Further Reading


--Kokoro

Notes
Anne
Jul 27, 2007 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel, centered around the friendship of a young student and an elder "Sensei", deals with the transition from Japan's Meiji society to the modern era. The young student develops a strange fascination with the misanthrope Sensei and through vague conversations, and ultimately a tell-all epistle, discovers the truth behind the Sensei's ennui and malaise. The book moves slowly, and the reluctance of the characters to just say what they are thinking is a bit tedious, but it is well written and ...more
Pau
Jun 19, 2016 Pau rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
4,5/5

*Insertar onomatopeya de sorpresa* Vaya libro. Vaya personajes. Vaya drama.
En serio, leer esto fue una delicia. Hacía tiempo que no disfrutaba tanto con el desarrollo de los personajes. Es que creo que es lo más destacable del libro, la caracterización de los personajes. Cómo se explican todas las razones sentimentales/emocionales que influyen cuando un personaje toma una decisión.

No es un libro fácil de resumir ya que está dividido en tres partes y cada una de ellas tiene un hilo conduct
...more
Declan
Apr 22, 2012 Declan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very quiet book, one that whispers its way through the details of a friendship between two men but which brings us to an understanding of how the understated detail can be more intense and painful than one which is expressed loudly and with force. The level of restraint and discipline displayed are admirable in many ways, but they coexist with an a great deal of hypocrisy and an expectation of self-imposed subservience .

However the book was marred ,for me, from the beginning by the fa
...more
linhtalinhtinh
May 18, 2013 linhtalinhtinh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: other-lit, like-a-lot
I am deeply drawn into the atmosphere in Kokoro. There is something so "Japanese" about the book that I could not describe. Quiet, slow, serene, beautiful and seemingly calm, yet somehow so strong, so unsettling, stirring my heart. I enjoyed this feeling, the deeply unsettled emotions.

The story flows and unfolds so very slowly, still somehow I found myself devouring every single word. The mere 250 pages seem to last a lot longer, as if I have experienced the deep, silent, cautiously guarded sadn
...more
Camille Stein
Oct 14, 2013 Camille Stein rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“El camino a la verdad es solitario, remoto, escondido.
Pero con un corazón limpio, por él recorro pasados y presentes.
¿Hay un yo en las aguas azuladas, en las azuladas colinas?
Todo es cielo, todo es tierra: artificio no hay en ellos.
En la luz mortecina del crepúsculo, la luna se aparta de la hierba;
y la voz sorda del viento de otoño se queda entre los árboles.
Olvidaré mis ojos y mis oídos; perderé el cuerpo.
Solo en el vacío entonaré de la nube el blanco cántico.”

(Natsume Sōseki, 20 de noviembre
...more
Ruba AlTurki
Sep 27, 2015 Ruba AlTurki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
تقع الرواية في ثلاثة اجزاء ... وتتحدث عن علاقة طالب ب"المعلم" ، صدفة اللقاء وانجذاب هذا التلميذ للمعلم لسبب غامض لم يدركه هو نفسه، اكثر ما اعجبني بالرواية انها تتحدث بشخصية الطالب وعمره الساذجين ونظرته غير المكتملة للحياة والناس.
في الجزء الاول يتحدث عن المعلم وعنه وعن احاديثهما وحياتيهما<
ثم في الجزء الثاني ينتقل لوالده وحياته وعائلته في الريف.
ثم واخيرا رسالة المعلم.. حيث تتكشف كثير من الحقائق وكما هي كثير من الاعمال اليابانية تبدآ بهدوء وتتركك بهدوء خارجي ، لكنها تحدث فوضى داخلية عميقة.
الادب
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Ryan
Jan 15, 2016 Ryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Modern Japanese writers have this knack of tugging at one’s heartstrings. They express deep and honest sentiments without too much fuss. Their honesty is their own subtlety. They can avoid sentimentalism by hiding under its veil and peeking from it from time to time. Sōseki is one such writer, and in Kokoro he has given us an anatomy of loneliness and mortality. The existential pain is muted, as if dampening the piercing cries of a melodrama, only to produce a howling silence.

The novel is divide
...more
AC
May 11, 2012 AC rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found the first two parts of this book compellingly brilliant -- and had decided that the book was an allegory. The narrator of Parts I-II, who speaks in the first person, is not the author (note the ages/dates), but an exemplum of Japanese Modernity -- where Sensei is an exemplum of the Meiji period. But by the end of Part III, this interpretation was untenable, and the sheer neurosis of the story had begun to weigh on me. Hence the 4-stars (instead of 5).

The Emperor Meiji died in 1912; this
...more
Mag
Mar 30, 2013 Mag rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a classic revered among the Japanese. Even though it did not disappoint me in any way, I must say that I did not enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed books by Kawabata or Tanizaki. Not to mention Murakami, but he is a different era altogether.
Kokoro means heart in Japanese, and it stands for not only the physical heart but also for the metaphorical heart of the matter and the spiritual center of being. In the book, it can be taken to mean all of the above, and some aspects of it can even be
...more
Daniel Clausen
Oct 17, 2013 Daniel Clausen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
私はその人を常に先生と呼んでいた。だからここでもただ先生と書くだけで本名は打ち明けない。

This is the first line of Kokoro, a fantastic line that sets the stage for the story of the relationship between a young man and an older gentleman he refers to as Sensei.

"I usually call the person "sensei." And so, here I will just refer to him as "sensei" without revealing his true name."

Like much of Soseki's books, the tone is gentle with quite a bit of dialogue and not much of what Westerners would call action. Many of the book's themes are univer
...more
James Murphy
Oct 23, 2009 James Murphy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found the similarity of social issues with our own surprising in this novel of early 20th century Japan. They're issues we recognize and deal with: one's relations with family, the difficulty of finding work and a career following university, an older generation's perception of the irresponsibility of youth. It's a quiet novel full of gentle Japanese sensibilities. Yet beneath the calm surface is a story of young love and loneliness. And it's also about death as a solution in Japanese society. ...more
Todos Mis Libros
Me apetecía acercarme a este libro para poder estrenarme con el autor, que ya llamaba mi atención desde hace tiempo, y también poder leer algún clásico oriental.
Así que, incitada por una amiga que se lo había comprado de oferta muy barato, decidí comenzarlo sin pensármelo dos veces, ya que como no es el tipo de libros que suelo leer pensé aquello de; "ahora o nunca".

La verdad es que no me costó nada entrar en la historia, tenía mis reticencias porque un clásico y además japonés no era un panoram
...more
Mohammed Samih
كان الشتاء هذا العام دافئاً...
تعتبر هذه الرواية تجسيد لمرحلة أخرى في حياة الكاتب الياباني ناتسومي سوسيكي لقد تحول من كاتب بهجة إلى كاتب أسى تخوض إلى أعماق النفس البشرية، خصوصاً عند مقارنتها مع اعمال الكاتب السابقة مثل " بوتشان "، كما أنها تعتبر مثال حي وبارز للأدب الياباني الحديث ورغم أن الترجمة الحرفية لمعنى الرواية يأتي " قلب " إلا أن الأسم أقرب إلى " مشاعر" ، إن الملل هنا هو شيء لا بد منه خصوصاً إن لم تكن من هواة الحوارات الطويلة أو من المهتمين بالأدب الياباني ، إلا أن هذه الرواية بلا شك ستتر
...more
Jeremy
May 23, 2008 Jeremy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Natsume Soseki, the man whose face used to be on the 1000 yen note, single-handedly brought the modern era of literature to Japan. Kokoro is the story of a young student who befriends an often distant and unpredictable man he names "Sensei" and his discovery of Sensei's hidden past. I'd recommend this book to anyone who is interested in a novel of grand proportions that unfolds beautifully amidst the sensibilities and poetics of Japanese tradition while breaking way for the modern Japanese novel ...more
Lucas d'Auria Sánchez
Maravilloso libro. Esta obra me enseñó y recordó 4 cosas que una vez me dijeron un par de amigos: nunca hay que confiar en nadie; nunca hay que creerle nada a nadie; nunca hay que esperar nada de nadie; por último, nunca hay que creer que las buenas acciones de uno van a generar un efecto similar en los demás, porque los comportamientos humanos no se reducen a conclusiones binarias.
Quizás podríamos agregar una quinta enseñanza: nunca hacer nada por nadie.
Sarah
Jan 25, 2016 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japanese-lit
"You wished to cut open my heart and see the blood flow. I was then still alive. I did not want to die. That is why I refused you and postponed the granting of your wish to another day. Now, I myself am about to cut open my own heart, and drench your face with my blood. And I shall be satisfied if, when my heart stops beating, a new life lodges itself in your breast."

Kokoro is a beautifully dark novel in a lot of different ways. Primarily, it's an exploration of guilt and mortality; mix that wit
...more
Akemi G
Sep 04, 2015 Akemi G rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As with other Japanese classics that are translated recently into English, I have mixed feelings in discussing this novel, which was written a century ago, when sociocultural background of male-female relationship was vastly different. Some aspects in the story might strike you as strange, or even stupid. If you can get over that resistance and be compassionate, however, this is an excellent story.

It looks like there are several versions of English translation. It would be interesting to compar
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Gitte
Loneliness is the price we have to pay for being born in this modern age, so full of freedom, independence, and our own egoistical selves.



The Beginning: I always called him “Sensei”

When I started reading Kokoro, I had just abandoned another book. A – to me – soulless book driven by plot alone. What I needed was a true reading experience. Not a book meant to shock or entertain, but a book where the words, sensations and characters drag you deep into their world. Natsume Soseki‘s poetry provided
...more
ジェイムズ・n. パウエル
As do many novels from this island nation, the protagonist here seems insular because immersed in a sea of feeling.

Here the emotion is the one coined by Japanese philosopher Motoori Norinaga: mono no aware,'a poignant feeling of the transience of things,' which Norinaga argued formed the sap of much of Japanese culture: from cherry blossom viewing to The Tale of Genji.

At the opening we find the protagonist immersed in this emotion while carrying out an odd daily ritual.

During the course of a l
...more
umberto
Nov 03, 2012 umberto rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, japan
I found reading Soseki's "Kokoro" interestingly enjoyable and impressive because at first I didn't think I'd reat it at all due to its plain title. I knew it's Japanese but it meant nothing to me, however, I read somewhere this novel is one of his outstanding works. So I thought reading it should be worth spending my free time.

"Kokoro" meaning "the heart of things" (p. vi) superbly translated by Edwin McClellan whom I've never read before is definitely one of Soseki's masterpieces since we reade
...more
Eddie Watkins
Oct 16, 2014 Eddie Watkins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japanese-fiction
This was a pleasant change of pace for me. After tearing through some Dennis Cooper where characters commit the most heinous acts without a pang of conscience, I enjoyed luxuriating in the soul-poisoning lifelong qualms of a man consumed by quilt and regret for something he wasn't even directly responsible for.

Kokoro would definitely resonate on more levels for someone deeply familiar with Japan's social history, its transitions from one era to another - in this case the ending of the Meiji era
...more
Taka
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Natsume Sōseki (夏目 漱石, February 9, 1867 – December 9, 1916), born Natsume Kinnosuke (夏目 金之助) was a Japanese novelist of the Meiji period (1868–1912). He is best known for his novels "Kokoro", "Botchan", "I Am a Cat" and his unfinished work "Light and Darkness". He was also a scholar of British literature and composer of haiku, kanshi, and fairy tales. From 1984 until 2004, his portrait appeared on ...more
More about Natsume Sōseki...

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“I believe that words uttered in passion contain a greater living truth than do those words which express thoughts rationally conceived. It is blood that moves the body. Words are not meant to stir the air only: they are capable of moving greater things.” 197 likes
“You seem to be under the impression that there is a special breed of bad humans. There is no such thing as a stereotype bad man in this world. Under normal conditions, everybody is more or less good, or, at least, ordinary. But tempt them, and they may suddenly change. That is what is so frightening about men.” 146 likes
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