Photograph of Japanese novelist Natsume Sōseki.

Natsume Sōseki

(1867 - 1916)

Born in 1867, the youngest of eight children, Natsume Kinnosuke first used his pen name, Sōseki—deriving from a Chinese idiom that denotes unwillingness to admit defeat—in 1889, and he graduated from Tokyo Imperial University in 1893. He taught English literature in Japan before publishing his first novel, I Am a Cat, at the age of thirty-eight in 1905. The book was an immediate success, and two years later, after publishing another two popular novels, he resigned his position in order to write full-time. He is now regarded as one of his country’ finest novelists and is credited with introducing the modern realistic novel to Japan.

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