Botchan (Master Darling)

Botchan is a novel written by Japanese author Natsume Sōseki in 1906. It is one of the most popular Japanese novels, read by many during their school years. The central theme of the story is morality, but the narrator serves up this theme with generous sides of humor and sarcasm.

The story is based on the author’s personal experience as a teacher dispatched to Matsuyama on the island of Shikoku. Sōseki was born in Tokyo, and dwelling in Matsuyama was his first experience living elsewhere. The novel is set at a middle school identified by critics as Matsuyama’s present day Ehime Prefectural Matsuyama Higashi High School.

Natsume Sōseki (9 February 1867 – 9 December 1916), born Natsume Kin’nosuke, was a Japanese novelist. He is best known, with the pen name Sōseki, for his novels Kokoro, Botchan, I Am a Cat, Kusamakura and his unfinished work Light and Darkness. He was also a scholar of British literature and writer of haiku, kanshi, and fairy tales. From 1984 until 2004, his portrait appeared on the front of the Japanese 1,000 yen note.

Translator: Yasotaro Mori.

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