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Words and Pictures Across Cultures - Kokoro - Essay Example

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Words and Pictures across Cultures
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The Meiji era which spanned September 1868 to July 1912 covered the first half of the Empire of Japan where the society transitioned from a time of isolated feudalism to a more modern era. …
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Words and Pictures Across Cultures - Kokoro
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Download file to see previous pages Major changes in its structure, politics, economy, military, as well as foreign relations were seen in this era. The social background existing in Japan at the end of the Meiji era had a significant role in the emotional tone of the novel Kokoro by Natsume Soseki. This paper shall discuss how the social background in Japan is threaded into the narrative and how it has impacted on the status and behaviour of the characters. This paper is being carried out in order to establish the emotional tone of the novel and how events in the history of Japan have impacted on the novel itself. Body Kokoro is a Japanese novel by Natsume Soseki, published in 1914 in series form in the Asahi Shinbun, a Japanese newspaper. The word Kokoro translates to ‘heart’ and also implies other meanings, including ‘feeling’ (McClellan, 1957, p. 240). The work refers to the transition of society from the Japanese Meiji era to the modern era where such transition was displayed in the exploration of the friendship between a young man and an older man known as Sensei or teacher. The isolation theme is highlighted in this book and follows the themes in Soseki’s pervious work where isolation was incorporated into egoism and guilt, not so much on shame (McClellan, 1957, p. 45). ...
The Sensei also narrates how he meets and befriends K who also falls in love with the widow. As Sensei proposed marriage, K committed suicide. Sensei lost much faith in humanity after the devastating events of his life and due to his guilt over his friend’s death. He then decided to take his life, soon after the suicide of General Nogi Maresuke. He was writing his friend to explain his decision. The social background during the Meiji era had a significant effect on the emotional tone of Kokoro. There is an enduring aura and feeling of melancholy in the book which slowly builds, significantly affecting people occupying positions of authority (Eto Jun, 1970, p. 55). Shizu’s mother died from kidney failure, and Sensei’s parents died when he was very young. Emperor Meiji died from an illness and his death soon triggered General Nogi’s suicide. In this act, he followed his lord into his death. This same act was mirrored in Sensei’s suicide as he took on the role of the living dead with his regular visits to his friend’s grave (Eto Jun, 1970, p. 55). In the end, he followed his friend to his death. As the imperial family was restored in Japan, a new capital was established in Tokyo and the differences between the two eras were seen in the relationship between the Sensei and the student. Tokyo represents the place where the Sensei significantly changes; and it also represents the place where the narrator also overlooks the traditional ideas on education and relationships (McClellan, 1957, p. 240). The narrator now adopts a worldly aura which is often preferred by the young Japanese citizens. Sensei refers to the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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