Natsume Soseki’s Sanshiro

Books like Sanshiro make you reminisce about that one event in your life from when you started to understand yourself a bit more attentively. When you felt the heights of your reality falling right toward the depth of your identity. When you began to observe the beauty in truth rather than search for unrequited truth in beauty.

Soseki draws together the wakefulness of the protagonist’s young innocence with that of the chaotic and eager tide of city life. Perhaps “coming-of-age” novels like Sanshiro depict the loneliness of growing up in a strange place. Soseki also explores the ordinariness of existence. The anguish of bearing a simple life is enough when one is still looking at one’s feet before taking a step rather than looking up at the sky wondering how it came to be. It being the universe.

That’s not to say that Sanshiro is not a complex read. It is. But it’s complex in a way most books aren’t. It’s intelligent in a way certain thoughts are instinctual. There is no structure or tenet that makes Sanshiro an imaginative and masterful story. Soseki beautifully traces the ongoing celebration of living. The places mentioned in the story are the places you want to visit. The conversations of Sanshiro are conversations you want to remember.

Sanshiro discovers the timeless philosophies of Eastern culture – which is the characteristic takeaway of most Japanese literature. It radiates wisdom, freedom, love, friendship, and self-discovery in ways unimaginable in real life.