Natsume Soseki is the best known Japanese writer. His picture appeared in 1000 Yen note from the year 1984 to 2004. Soseki is a venerated person in Japan that in 2016 his 100th death anniversary was celebrated followed by 150th birth anniversary in 2017. He is considered as the father of Modernism in Japanese literature.


NatsumeSoseki was born as NatsumeKinnosuke on February 1867 in Edo now known as Tokyo. He took a degree in English from the University of Tokyo in 1893. After graduating he taught till 1900. After that he went to England to study British literature and he was given a government scholarship for this. He was an expert in British literature and taught English in the University of Tokyo from 1903. It was two comic novels that made him famous,Botchan (Botchan: Master Darling) and Wagahai-wanekode aru (I Am a Cat). With increase in popularity he quit his job of teaching and took to full time writing in 1907. By this time he was writing fairy tales, kanshi and haiku. His success continued with the novels he wrote like ‘Kōjin’ (The Wayfarer), ‘Kokoro’, ‘Mon’(The Gate) and short stories like ‘Rondontō’ (“Tower of London”). NatsumeSoseki suffered from stomach ulcer and died of it on December 9th 1916 leaving his last work ’Meian’ unfinished.


Since Soseki studied in London he was influenced by the British literature and its modernity and he had claimed there was very little native tradition in his works. Yet his roots always came through in his stories. He shot to fame with two funny pieces but most of his works were sombre. Most of stories had heroes from middle-class family who were well educated and who were victims of betrayal by someone close to them. This was especially seen in his later novels after the death of Shiki, a haiku writer, a man he loved and hated. Soseki was a wonderful analyst of human nature.Soseki’s works have had an intense effect on all the Japanese writer after that.

Popular works by the author

Some of the popular works of Soseki are ‘Kusamakura’ (The Three-Cornered World), ‘Shumi no Iden’ (The Heredity of Taste), ‘Nihyaku-tōka’ (The 210th Day), ‘Kōfu’ (The Miner), ‘Yume Jū-ya’ (Ten Nights of Dreams).