Soseki’s Footsteps in Kumamoto

IMG_2177Natsume Soseki arrived in Kumamoto on April 13th, 1896, exactly one hundred and eighteen years ago this month.

IMG_2305 A map of Kumamoto during the time Soseki lived  in this town.

IMG_3557 Ikeda Station is where Soseki stepped off when he first set foot in Kumamoto.  It is now known as Kami-Kumamoto train station 上熊本駅.

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 There is a statue of Natsume Soseki in the vicinity of the station area.

Soseki’s presence remains strong in Kumamoto and is a source of pride for the academic community as well as the local people.

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Soseki lived in six different homes during the four years and three months that he spent in Kumamoto.

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This was the third house in which Soseki lived.

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The time that Soseki spent in Kumamoto was a significant and productive period in his personal as well as in his professional life.

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It was in Kumamoto that Soseki first established a family with his marriage to Nakane Kyoko on June 9th, 1896. Three years later, the wedding was followed by the birth of his daughter, Fudeko.

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Nakane Kyoko

The house in which Soseki’s marriage ceremony was held no longer remains.  There is, however, a monument commemorating the dwelling and Soseki’s presence in the home.

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Presently this landmark has become a hotel.  It is located in the center of Kumamoto City.

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The house in which Soseki lived during the time his daughter was born was the fifth house in Kumamoto to which he and his family had relocated while he held his post as an English teacher at the Fifth High School.

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A classroom of the Fifth High School as it had been during Soseki’s time.

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In addition to the various novels Soseki penned drawing on his time in Kumamoto such as Kusamakura ‘The Grass Pillow’ and Ni-hyaku-toka ‘The 210th Day’, he also composed about one thousand haiku poems during his time here.

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Map of Kumamoto Prefecture during Soseki’s time.

Not only did Soseki establish a family and become a father in Kumamoto, he also emerged as a prolific poet.

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The various landmarks of Kumamoto prefecture were also the inspiration for numerous settings in his novels.

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 Ripened apricots at Soseki’s third home today.

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References:

Natsume Soseki Museum, Kumamoto.

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