Bungo to Alchemist Wiki

State of Mind
Somewhat Unstable
119 / 882
98 / 698
89 / 649
41 / 321
48 / 328

42 / 322
41 / 321
48 / 328


Possessing a personality with violent ups and downs, he goes from passionately sharing the new ideas he has come across, to becoming severely depressed when feeling down. He straightforwardly conveys his thoughts to others and is good at giving compliments, which makes him good at dealing with people. He seems to be dissatisfied that the era has not yet followed along with his new way of thinking. He often discusses literature with Tayama Katai, who shares the same dissatisfactions, and they see one another as kindred spirits.


  • His birth date as well as father have been debated by scholars; his family records has his birthdate as July 15, 1871 but August 30 has been accepted as his official birthday. Kunikida Senpachi divorced his first wife (they had few children) and married Doppo's mother Man, but it remains unknown if Senpachi was his father or his mother's previous husband Masajirou, under whose name Doppo got registered. Most evidence lean to Senpachi.
  • Because of Senpachi's position as official in Ministry of Justice, Kunikida moved fourteen times in ten years, which might have contributed to the theme of 'wandering' often seen in his works.
  • His childhood name was Kamekichi; he changed his name to Tetsuo when he was nineteen. He used a total of thirteen pen names during his career. His last and most well-known one, "Doppo", means "lone wanderer".
  • In late 1891 he opened up a private school in Matsushita's countryside. He taught English and mathematics to roughly 30 students. About half a year later he quit the school and moved back to Tokyo due to being bored of the life in the village. In 1893 he became a teacher again, this time teaching also a little bit German. It all was thanks to Tokutomi Sohou (Tokutomi Roka's older brother), who was later to help him get married and become a writer. Unfortunately Kunikida's way of teaching and the fact he was a Christian didn't quite appeal to the other teachers and even some of the students in the school, and he had to leave eventually.
  • In late 1894 he asked Tokutomi Sohou for a job in his magazine Kokumin Shinbun (People's Newspaper), which was a start for Kunikida's writing career as a reporter on the Sino-Japanese War. He served on two different warships during the half a year the war raged on. After the war's end in early 1895, he had gained huge favor and became a celebrated newspaper reporter.
  • Soon after coming back to Japan from his war reporter duty, Kunikida attended a gathering of newspaper reporters in a hospital run by Dr. Sasaki and his wife. There he met their daughter Sasaki Nobuko (born in 1878) and soon the two fell in love. Her parents were against their relationship, as Kunikida was a 'mere reporter' and Nobuko was still young, but that didn't stop them. The two eloped, planning to get land in Hokkaido and live there happily together. Unfortunately everything didn't go as planned and Nobuko was brought back to Tokyo, while Doppo was to explore and settle things in Hokkaido alone. During that time things worsened and Kunikida learned through letters that Nobuko's mother, still against the marriage of the two young lovers, had told Nobuko to kill herself rather than marry Kunikida. The weak person that Nobuko was mentally, took it hard and seriously contemplated suicide, but was drawn to idea to go to America. Kunikida hurried back to Tokyo and managed to change her mind. The two officially got married on two conditions: that they break off their relationship with Nobuko's family and do not live near her parents. Their marriage, however, lasted only five months mostly due to poverty (the two fought a lot and Kunikida's jealousy and tendency to keep her to himself played big role in the outcome too). Kunikida was badly shaken by the divorce, while later on Nobuko left for America on a ship in order to marry Arishima Takeo's old classmate, but never got married with him and came back to Japan with another man. Arishima wrote a book A Certain Woman inspired by this story, which he heard from this classmate a few years later in Chicago.
    • Kunikida remained heartbroken for years and according to Tayama Katai, he would often see nightmares related to her and tell about them to Tayama. One dream Tayama mentions in his memoir Thirty Years in Tokyo goes as "It was THAT sword, the one that old man gave me. I stabbed her and thought she was dead, but she kept on laughing and asking me to stab her again. There was no blood. It was just a dream, after all". The sword mentioned in the dream refers very likely to the short sword Kunikida owned in fact and kept it near him often.
  • After this period, his career turned to the better. While heartbroken, he started to write poetry. Eventually he published Doppo Poetry, part of a collection that was considered a landmark of new style poetry. Around the same time, he met his second wife Haru (later known as Haruko), who supported his career. She helped edit and design the cover of his short stories collection Musashino.
  • His works usually feature everyday scenes and objects, a sense of the unembellished ordinary that people might pass by without notice. As a result, his stories can be lacking in excitement, but in the first place it was not his goal to create excitement. His works are simply the products of studying life.
  • His best known work, Musashino is a sketch of nature and focuses on the harmony of humans and nature. When asked about Kunikida Doppo, Japanese readers would often say "Kunikida Doppo is Musashino". The story was included in Japanese school textbooks for years. It also embodies Kunikida's literary ethos, that is, 'having selected a path, one need not stick with it.'
  • Compared to his contemporaries such as Shimazaki Touson, Natsume Souseki or even Tayama Katai, Kunikida Doppo is remarkably more obscure. While best known for his nature sketch Musashino, Kunikida absorbed many writing styles and worked in several genres during his 10-year career. As a result, it is difficult to pin down where he stands in terms of literary achievement.
  • Kunikida, like many writers of his generation, were inspired by Western literature. Among the fellow Japanese writers, Futabatei Shimei influenced him the most and the older author translated his work Meat and Potatoes into Russian after Kunikida's death, a bit before his own in 1909.
  • In 1907 Kunikida contracted tuberculosis. In February the following year, he was hospitalized and May onwards his condition was worsening drastically. On June 23, 1908 he died at 8:40PM.
    • Kunikida had two daughters and one son while alive, the second son being born two months after his death.