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3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  9,522 Ratings  ·  697 Reviews
"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 t ...more
Paperback, 248 pages
Published July 1st 1996 by Gateway Editions (first published 1914)
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Ramona Boldizsar I don't see much similarity if truth be told. Botchan (one of the author's earliest works), on the other hand, could be compared quite easily with…moreI don't see much similarity if truth be told. Botchan (one of the author's earliest works), on the other hand, could be compared quite easily with Catcher in the Rye. (less)
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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
Jul 05, 2016 Edward rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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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
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
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).
Carol Rodríguez
Sep 06, 2016 Carol Rodríguez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Este ha sido mi estreno con Sōseki (gracias al Club Pickwick), y he salido muy contenta con la experiencia. Es un libro pausado en la narración pero que me ha resultado muy ágil a la hora de leerlo; típico libro de autor japonés en el que parece que no ocurre nada, pero sí que ocurre. No sé muy bien cómo explicarlo, y puede resultar hasta contradictorio, pero siempre tengo esta sensación con los libros que llegan de Japón.

Lo cierto es que me ha gustado mucho. Se separa en tres partes, muy difer
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.
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
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
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
Jun 19, 2016 Pau rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites

*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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
Daniel Clausen
Oct 17, 2013 Daniel Clausen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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
Sep 24, 2016 Josh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
"I felt very strongly the sinfulness of man. It was this feeling that sent me to K's grave every month, that made me take care of my mother-in-law in her illness and behave gently towards my wife. It was this sense of sin that led me to feel sometimes that I would welcome a flogging even at the hands of strangers. When this desire for punishment became particularly strong, I would begin to feel that it should come from myself, and not others. Then I would think of death. Killing myself seemed a ...more
Sep 05, 2016 Paula rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
En esta novela se entrecruzan las vidas de un joven estudiante y un hombre en edad madura al que conocemos como sensei (maestro en japonés). Sin ser realmente maestro y alumno, el joven intuye una gran sabiduría y experiencia vital en este sensei, por lo que entabla una relación de amistad con él para aprender todo lo que él quiera o pueda enseñarle sobre la vida. Sin embargo el sensei es un hombre callado y taciturno y en ningún momento revela gran cosa sobre sí mismo o su pasado a pesar de que ...more
Laura Leaney
Aug 26, 2013 Laura Leaney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kokoro, which means "heart" in English, reverberates with connotations of “the heart of the matter” or “feeling.” The irony is that for most of the novel Natsume hides the heart of the matter until the very end, providing surprise, discovery, and a deep disquietude in the mind of the reader.

The translator Edwin McClellan provides a framework for understanding the novel, one of Japan's most famous. (Apparently Kokoro is mandatory reading for students). He tells us that "Soseki wrote [the book] i
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
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
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
Sep 07, 2016 Teresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Con este libro me he llevado una grata sorpresa, si bien tiene un ritmo pausado no se hace pesado, solamente una parte hacia la mitad del libro que si se me ha hecho tediosa. Al principio no le veía mucho el sentido al libro, dos personas que se conocen y traban amistad pero sin que se cuente nada realmente importante, es al final de libro donde lo entiendes todo y es que ciertas acontecimientos en la vida pueden hacer que uno cambie para siempre
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.
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
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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.” 205 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.” 155 likes
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