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State of Mind
Somewhat Unstable
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Ordinarily he seems a cultured man overflowing with humor, but he also has a teacher's way of being severe when it comes to work. Having a deep empathy for people, most people idolize him, not to mention his pupil Akutagawa Ryuunosuke, but occasionally he is faint of heart due to his delicateness. He has an unequaled sweet tooth, and is particularly fond of red bean jelly. Even though he is careful not to overeat, it seems he has no plans to restrain himself.


  • His real name is Natsume Kinnosuke.
  • He was born in Tokyo. His father was fifty-three and his mother was forty. [1]
  • His parents being older and him being the sixth child, his parents were not pleased to have him. He was transferred back and forth from his parents to other people for many years until he was adopted by a childless couple in 1868. However, the couple later divorced and Soseki was once again sent back to his parents. [1]
  • He was a close friend of Masaoka Shiki.
  • He entered college in 1884 when he was seventeen. He had stated that he knew he was a little odd and wanted to choose a profession that would not only give him a living but also allow him to remain an oddity so considered being an architect. He ended up studying English literature however due to his friend saying that there was no glory in being an architect in Japan. [1]
  • He accepted an offer to teach at a high school in Matsuyama in 1895. While there, he became engaged to Nakame Kyouko. [1]
  • In 1900, Soseki went abroad to England to study the English language, as ordered by the government. His time there, however, was filled with poverty and isolation. [1]
  • He attended lectures by William Paton Ker in University College London and took private tuition from William James Craig, who was an editor of Shakespeare's plays.
  • During the end of his stay, Soseki began to show signs of a nervous breakdown, and upon returning from his time abroad, he had become irritable, prone to sudden outbursts of temper, and even more eccentric. This is due to the isolation and overworking taking a toll on him. [1]
  • In 1903 after returning to Japan, he was appointed to the First National College in Tokyo and given the position to lecture in English literature. Koizumi Yakumo had held that position immediately before Soseki at the Imperial University. [1]
  • He gave lectures on the dramas of Shakespeare at Tokyo Imperial University.
  • He left the university and became an employee of the Asahi Newspaper in 1907. He remained a professional writer until the end of his life. [1]
  • Although his career as a professional writer had lasted for less than 10 years, he is considered as one of the greatest writers in modern Japanese history.
  • His portrait can be seen on the Japanese 1000 yen banknotes that were circulated from 1984 to 2004.
  • He died at age 49 due to stomach ulcer.
  • Before his death, he was working on his novel, Light and Darkness (明暗 , Meian).


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Two Japanese Novelists: Soseki & Touson (Midway Reprint) by Edwin McClellan