Natsume Soseki--New Translation

Kokoro, one of  the best novels from pre World War II Japan is available in a new translation.  For those seeking entree into the world of Asian Literature, Kokoro   (Heart) offers a starting place that is curiously accessible to the western reader.  Unlike Japanese classics such as The Tale of Heike, The Tale of Genji, and even Narrow Road to the Deep North (On the Road to Oku), Kokoro provides handles and a story with incident that a western reader of realism and naturalism can grasp. In a certain sense, Kokoro is akin to Akira Kurasawa's Ikiru--distinctively Japanese, but with story elements and symbols that transcend the culture and reach out to grab and engage the reader.  Also there is less of the Ukiyo-e/ethereal feeling one might get with other Japanese writers. Another delightful novel, in three volumes, by Soseki is I Am the Cat.  Either of these works provides a starting place that is not so difficult or culturally dependent as say Yasunari Kawabata, Yukio Mishima, or even Kenzaburo Oe.

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