Kokoro

Japan’s Loss of Identity 11th Grade

During the late 19th century, the Meiji era in Japan paved the way for the Japanese to drift from their traditional values into modernizing western values. The influence of western powers, had a significant impact of the traditional ideals of Japan. Western influence had transformed Japan into a modernizing nation, thus allowing for the loss of traditional practices. Soseki Natsume expresses his views of this transition into modernization as a loss of Japanese identity through a variety of characters in the book. His intention in crafting Kokoro was to project the message of Japan beginning to lose its sense of identity due to the influence of western powers. In the novel Kokoro, Natsume expresses Japan’s loss of identity and the efforts to preserve its existence within the character of K.

K symbolizes Japan’s traditional identity through his efforts to follow his Buddhist righteous path. K is displayed as a spiritual buddhist who had fully succumbed into giving up materialized ideals. Buddhist beliefs consist of being, “concerned with experiencing Enlightenment and generally are not too interested in the physical world”, (Structured Practices). This representation of Buddhism that is followed by K is the reason that he...

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