Translation Works
To Japanese
The 4th Selected Works
ENGLISH / Joel Cohn (The 1st) published
INDONESIAN / Jonjon Johana published
Originally Published by:
Iwanami Shoten, Publishers (1929)
  • The most widely read, long-selling work of the Meiji Era literary master, Soseki Natsume
  • A noteworthy novel, described as "a work of literature that portrays the typical Japanese character"
  • A masterpiece that, while filled with adventure and humor, is also permeated with the loneliness that lurks in the human heart
A delightfully thrilling account of a new teacher's struggle presented by a literary giant of the Meiji Era
Botchan is reckless and has a strong sense of justice even as a child. His parents favor his fair-complexioned and feminine older brother, and the only one in the house on Botchan's side is the maidservant Kiyo. After his mother and then his father pass away, his older brother sells the house in Tokyo and goes away to Kyushu. Bereft of a family and home, Botchan becomes a mathematics teacher and goes off alone to work in Shikoku. The ensuing story is a thrilling and delightful account of tumultuous events revolving around Botchan, his fellow middle-school teachers, and various townspeople.
The students, whose way of welcoming the new teacher is with mischief; the townspeople, who appear to be easygoing but turn out to be quite crafty; the young woman called "Madonna," who is beautiful but breaks off her engagement for pecuniary reasons; "Uranari," the well-mannered English teacher who does not complain when Madonna breaks off her engagement to him; the assistant principal "Akashatsu," who is drafting strategies to gain effective control of the school with support from a sycophantic art teacher; the mathematics teacher "Yamaarashi," who is resisting "Akashatsu" - even as he is caught up in the drama of these various people in a remote place, Botchan is lonely. Kiyo is still the only one who really understands him.
Ultimately, the factions led by "Akashatsu" and "Yamaarashi" have a showdown. Botchan's sense of justice drives him to support "Yamaarashi" and become involved in the struggle, and he takes responsibility for his actions by proffering his resignation from the school.
When he returns to Tokyo, awaiting him is the friendly figure of Kiyo, who generously bestows her unchanging affection on him.
GENRE: Literary fiction