Natsume Soseki

(redirected from Natsume Kinnosuke)

Natsume Soseki

Natsume Soseki (näˈtso͞oˈmĕ sōˈsĕˈkē), 1867–1916, Japanese writer. Soseki ranks along with Mori Ogai as one of two giants of early modern Japanese letters. Although Soseki began his career as a scholar of English literature, he later resigned from his position at Tokyo Imperial Univ. to devote his time to writing. His first published work, Wagahai wa neko de aru [I am a cat], a satirical portrait of human vanity, was followed by increasingly pessimistic, brooding novels such as Kokoro [heart] and his unfinished masterpiece, Meian [light and darkness]. Soseki's works often dwell upon the alienation of modern humanity, the search for morality, and the difficulty of human communication.
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Natsume Soseki


(pseudonym of Natsume Kinnosuke). Born Jan. 5, 1867, in Tokyo; died there Dec. 9, 1916. Japanese writer.

Natsume Soseki wrote poetry in the haiku genre. His first novel, I Am a Cat (1905–06; Russian translation, 1960), was a satire on the Japanese intelligentsia. In his novella Master Darling (1906; Russian translation, 1960), Natsume Soseki depicted an inexperienced young teacher in conflict with the stifling provincial milieu.

Natsume Soseki developed his own aesthetic theory of beauty, contrasting it with the utilitarian ideals of modern life, for example, in his novella The Three-cornered World (1906). The tragedy of the Japanese intellectual, endowed with a sensitive conscience and crushed by the external superiority of Western European culture and at the same time not yet free of the old feudal shackles, became the main theme of Natsume Soseki’s psychological novels. These include the trilogy Sanshiro (1908), And Then (1909), and The Gate (1910)—all of which appeared in Russian translation in 1973—Heart (1914; Russian translation, 1935), and his unfinished Light and Darkness (1916).


Istoriia sovremennoi iaponskoi literatury. Moscow, 1961.
Konrad, N. Iaponskaia literatura. Moscow, 1974.
Grivnin, V. Natsume Soseki: Biobibliograficheskii ukazatel’. Moscow, 1959.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.