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Kokoro

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3.99  ·  Rating details ·  12,545 Ratings  ·  988 Reviews
Thieves, gamblers, prostitutes, confidence men: these and other such types mingled with priests, merchants, and ordinary citizens along the great trunk road between Edo (Tokyo) and Kyoto in early 19th century Japan. This colorful cast of thousands eddies and swirls around ne'er-do-well narrator Katsu Kochiki (1802-1850). Written after he had retired and adopted the name "M ...more
Paperback, Gateway Editions, 248 pages
Published 1991 by Regnery Gateway (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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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
...more
Marita
The Meiji period in Japan during the second half of the twentieth century ushered in major changes. After the death of Emperor Meiji in 1912, Japan would be irrevocably changed. This melancholic novel reflects various aspects of this change.

The unnamed protagonist, a university student, strikes up a friendship with someone he admires and refers to as ‘Sensei’ throughout the novel, which translates as ‘teacher’ or ‘master’. It is (let’s call him X for the purpose of this review) X who actively pu
...more
[P]
Jun 28, 2015 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
Edward
Mar 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Introduction
About the Title
Acknowledgments
Suggestions for Further Reading


--Kokoro

Notes
Michael Finocchiaro
I have mentioned elsewhere that the later Soseki books tend to be darker and more melancholic not to say extremely pessimistic and Kokoro definitely fits this mold. I am NOT taking anything away from the gorgeous language and descriptions here nor the intimate conversations primarily by writing between the protagonist and his Sensei, but it is not something to read if you are down in the dumps. The narrative devices are original even for Soseki and his mastery of character and betrayal of emotio ...more
Camille Stein
Oct 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sōseki in 1912






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 de
...more
Mariel
Apr 08, 2011 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
Mar 20, 2010 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).
RK-ique
Mar 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As with many 'classic' Japanese novels, 'Kokoro' is a rumination on changing mores. Japan went through many culture shaking changes between the time in 1853 that U.S. Navy Commander and erstwhile 'diplomat' threatened Tokyo with bombardment if Japan did not enter into diplomatic discussions and the post-WWII period.

I found this book to be both fascinating and frustrating as it carries the reader over various times of change. Indeed, I often found myself to be quite upset at the characters as th
...more
Carol
I aspire to compose a review. This book richly deserves it.
Emilio Berra
May 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: letto
La sconfitta

"Con malizia ho conseguito la vittoria ; ma, come uomo, sono stato sconfitto".

Scritto nel 1914, due anni prima della morte dell'autore, grandissimo scrittore giapponese, N. Soseki.
La vicenda si svolge nel '12. Due i protagonisti : uno studente universitario e un più maturo signore, enigmatico e un po' inquietante, un uomo colto che vive di rendita, in modo agiato ma non propriamente ricco, insieme alla bellissima moglie.
Il ragazzo, colpito dall'intelligenza e dalla cultura di questo
...more
Magdalen
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan
Kokoro is the story of an unnamed protagonist who meets his mentor whom he refers to as Sensei. Truth be told not much take place in the book as far as action is concerned so if you are looking for a page turner you'll probably end up disappointed. However, Soseki manages to portray a whole era masterfully and he really unravels the depths of human psyche. The themes included in the book are mistrusting people, dysfunctional communication, inability to relate to other people's feelings, sadness, ...more
Hadrian
Aug 28, 2010 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.
Nancy Oakes
11/30/2016 - update: thanks to my love for foreign films, British comedy and other shows which for some reason we cannot get here, we have multi-region dvd capability & so I was able to watch the movie based on this novel. Scroll to the bottom of this post if at all interested in the film.*

Kokoro is,as I discovered, one of those novels where a second reading and a bit of research can completely change what you thought about it after the first time through. The second read was spurred by 1) d
...more
Kinga
Dec 08, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pub-1914
My book club buddy made us all read it because he was dating a Japanese girl and wanted to learn more about her culture (I hope one day someone reads Prus for me, that would be real love). Anyway, they've been married for a while now, so that should give you an idea how behind I am with my reviews.

After all the melodrama of the Western literature, reading Kokoro was a refreshing experience of emotional restraint. It's an absolute classic, written in 1914, the end of Meiji era when Japan was goi
...more
Anh Thư
Dec 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
mấy quyển nổi tiếng của Soseki đa phần đều đã bán ở Việt Nam. trong số các quyển đó, quyển làm mình thích Soseki là Gối đầu lên cỏ, quyển làm mình phục Soseki là Tôi là con mèo, quyển làm mình say Soseki là Mười đêm mộng, quyển làm mình đồng cảm với Soseki là Sanshiro, nhưng quyển làm mình quên bản thân đi mà buồn thay cho Soseki là Nỗi lòng.
Carol Rodríguez
Apr 19, 2015 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
...more
Pavle
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kako kaže prevodilac, Kokoro se prevodi kao „heart of things“. To je bio jedan od razloga što sam uzeo Sosekija da čitam – naslov mi je bio poetičan i nekako lep. Taman da pročitam nešto što nije depresivno. Red je.

Na verovatno ničije iznenadjenje sem moje, ispostavlja se da je Kokoro depresivan roman. Veoma. Nema skoro pa ništa afirmativno da kaže na bilo koju temu koju dotiče. Tematski je i podeljen na tri dela, iako se lako može ta podela aproksimirati na dva: konstrukciju i de(kon)strukciju.
...more
Sinem A.
Oct 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
sade ve melankolik bir roman. tüm olayları bir mektup üzerinden okuyup insanın iyiliği ve kötülüğü üzerine derin düşüncelere sevk ediyor insanı.
Mahsa
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
Pau
Jun 12, 2016 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
Mar 01, 2012 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
Anne
Jul 27, 2007 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
David
Apr 21, 2009 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
linhtalinhtinh
Aug 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: like-a-lot, other-lit
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
Hanan Al_Jbaili
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
قصة تتفرع ببطء وتؤدة لرسم المجتمع الياباني من زاوية نظر ورؤية المؤلف بتروي كعادة اليابانيين في التأمل في اطار كاريكاتوري احيانا يضيف الكثير من الحيوية للسرد(صديقتي الغالية آية ارجو أن اكون وفقت في جذبك دون حرق القصة كما اتهمتني سابقا:))
Daniel Clausen
Aug 18, 2013 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
Ruba AlTurki
Sep 21, 2015 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
...more
PeggyCarter
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Creo que este libro va a tenerme asimilando su lectura unos días... ha terminado emocionándome, sentimientos a flor de piel.

Se trata de una obra de la literatura japonesa clásica, de lectura obligatoria en los colegios japoneses y mi primer acercamiento a este país en cuanto a literatura se refiere.
Con capítulos cortos y una pluma sublime, el autor expresa con palabras perfectamente los sentimientos humanos, las pasiones, la fragilidad del alma...
Todo gira entorno a temas tan humanos como la mue
...more
Rise
Sep 10, 2010 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
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Japanese Literature: Kokoro - February-March 2013 Read 29 150 Jul 28, 2013 10:28PM  
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1,107 followers
Natsume Sōseki (夏目 漱石, February 9, 1867 – December 9, 1916), born Natsume Kinnosuke (夏目 金之助), was a Japanese novelist. 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 the front of the Japanese 1000 yen not ...more
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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.” 261 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.” 197 likes
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