J314                                                  Kafka on the Shore

Kafka Tamura leaves home on his 15th birthday = the 20th.

            His father = Koichi Tamura, famous sculptor whose work is “provocative, powerful, uncompromising” (203)

            His mother and older sister left when Kafka was 4?  In the family registry, there is no mention of a wife or elder sister; Kafka is listed as an illegitimate son.

Kafka wakes up in a shrine at night, sore, tee-shirt bloody; 4 hrs of time missing

Nakata wakes up in vacant lot after he has murdered Johnnie Walker—but no blood on him. Rescues Mimi and Goma but can no longer talk to cats

He is in trouble; calls Sakura and spends night with her in Takamatsu – his sister?

Kafka’s father discovered murdered on the 30th—died on the 28th = same day he claimed to have killed Johnnie Walker

Oshima’s cabin = quiet, dark, alone

Kafka was in Komura library that day

Story of Miss Saeki’s Song, “Kafka on the Shore” – did she marry and have a son in Tokyo in the 1970s?

29th sardines, mackerel and leeches fall like rain from the sky

“Kafka on the Shore” painting in Kafka’s room – 12 year old boy Miss Saeki’s love?
Beach Scene in painting would be 40 years ago

Ôshima mentions on p, 199 Oedipus Rex who was drawn into tragedy by his courage and honesty = Irony = which helps a person Mature

201-02 father’s prophesy for Kafka: “Someday you will murder your father and be with your mother and sleep with older sister, too.”

“In dreams begin responsibilities” (Yeats, 204) did Kafka murder his father “through a dream?”

The song, the lyrics, the melody, the beauty, the senseless violence that shatters Miss Saeki’s world.
Song mentions fish falling from sky, Kafka on the Shore, the entrance stone.
Lyrics are symbolic, poetic—she found the right words by bypassing meaning and logic; capued the words in a dream

Dreams, metaphors, allegories, analogies.  That night Kafka sees a ghost in his room—the young Miss Saeki(205) Spurs Kafka’s interests in hearing the song.  The photo on the record—it oozes an energy she has since lost. Leads to discussion of Rokujo Lady.

 p.225 Tale of Genji and Lady Rokujo come up. Living spirits passing down the tunnel of her subconscious into Aoi’s bedroom.  Kafka retreats with the Tanizaki Genji

Hoshino gives Nakata a ride.  He was a wild child but his Grandpa always bailed him out. He joined SDF and is now a good trucker.

 Nakata goes to Shikoku to find the Entrance Stone.  Miss Saeki looked for the entrance to another world when she was 15.

 Kafka and Moss Saeki have sex but she is in a dream or trance stare.

 Enter Colonel Sanders—not a human, a concept with no form.  A revelation leaps over the border of the everyday.  A life without revelation is no life at all. (275)
God only exists in people’s minds; the emperor was a God then MacArthur said he wasn’t.  everything is in flux: the earth, time, concepts, love, life, faith, justice, evil—there are all fluid and in transition.  Contingent = very post-modern.

Turns out, Miss Saeki interviewed survivors of lightning strikes for a book; Kafka’s father was a survivor.  Did they meet?
Kafka and Miss Saeki walk to the beach; he puts his arms around her and she says I did this exact same thing a long time ago.  “We're all dreaming aren’t we?” (299)

Kafka’s theory: his father wanted his wife, Miss Saeki back but couldn’t get her so he wanted his son to murder him, sleep with Saeki and his sister.  The prophecy, the curse.
Miss Saeki says she remembers no one named Tamura.  She feels things are changing around her.  Doesn’t know if what she did with Kafka was right or not—but they make love again.
Kafka feels lost Oshima advises him to listen to the wind.  His problems are not his fault, not that of DNA or Structuralism. Life operates on a mechanism of forces of destruction and loss.  Our lives are just shadows of that guiding principle. 
Kafka goes into the forest.  Carefully, at first, marking his trail with yellow spray paint but eventually he sheds his fear, drops his gear; he is a hollow man with nothing left to fear; and then he meets the two Imperial Soldiers lost years ago.  They are guarding the entrance and they have been waiting for him.
Special Crow chapter: He and Johnnie Walker meet in the forest.  JW believes the flute he made from cat’s souls will protect him.  His flute is beyond any world’s standards of good and evil, love or hatred.  He could make a supersized one that could become a system unto itself.  Crow attacks JW with his talons and rips his eyes and tongue out.  JW just laughs a silent laugh.

 Nakata wants to return to normal Nakata; he needs to take care of Johnnie Walker and get his shadow back. For that, he has to open the entrance.
Nakata and Hoshino wind up at Komura Library—destiny.

Nakata meets Miss Saeki and they talk.  She has been waiting for him.  She opened the entrance a long time ago in hopes to prevent her perfect world form collapsing.  She failed.  Her life ended at age 20; everything after that, including a marriage, was meaningless.  She wrote all her memories down.  Nakata puts his hands on hers and siphons off her pain.  She too has only half a shadow.  She needs Nakata to burn her memories. 

She then dies at her desk.

Hoshino and Nakata burn her memories then Nakata dies, too.


Hoshino introduced to Beethoven’s Archduke Trio in a coffee shop—Million Dollar Trio.  He wrote it when he was 40 and never wrote another.  His best.  Likened to Truffaut’s 400 Blows and Shoot the Piano Player—a similar spirit animates them, an inward-moving spirit filled with a pliant, youthful curiosity.
Hoshino resolves: I am going to follow Nakata to the end of the line.

Kafka winds up deep in the forest in the strange village where time does not exist.  Or, anyway, “It is not much of a factor, here.”  If you accept its premises, you can become completely yourself.  Memories, like time, are not so important there.  “In a place where time isn’t important, neither is memory.” (438)
A young woman who looks like the young Miss Saeki cooks for Kafka and does his laundry but on p. 439 the real Miss Saeki—who died on p. 395 after meeting with Mr. Nakata and giving him all her memories to burn—appears. She tells him she burned up all her memories and they went up in smoke and disappeared into the air.  She tells Kafka that he has to get out of there as quickly as he can.  She wants him to go back to the life he left and live a life.  The entrance is going to close soon.
He says that all his life he has had no one to love him, none he could count on other than himself so he has no life to go back to. “For me, the idea of the life I left is meaningless.”  He does not know how to have a life but she tells him that he has to go back for her so that he can remember her.  “If you remember me, I don’t care if everyone else forgets.” 

She tells him she wants him to take the painting, Kafka on the Shore.  It is yours; you were there and I was there beside you, watching you.  He remembers the moment, she was there and he was in love with her.  That is the memory.
They hold each other, he smells the ocean.  “Are you my mother?”  “You already know the answer to that.”  I do, but neither of us can put it into words; putting it into words will destroy any meaning. 

Miss Saeki confesses that she once abandoned someone she loved very much and shouldn’t have abandoned.  But she would lose him anyway; he would be taken away.  “Do you forgive me?”  “If I have the right, then I do forgive you.”  Mother.

Miss Saeki advises him to look at the painting that she has left for him back at the library.

“Farewell, Kafka Tamura.  Go back to where you belong and live.”

On the bullet train back to Tokyo, Crow tells Kafka he has done well.  “But I still don’t know anything about life.”
“Look at the painting and listen to the wind.” (467)
Kafka is part of a brand-new world.

Meanwhile, Hoshino must take over for Mr. Nakata who has died.  An Irony: Mr. Nakata wanted to return to his normal self with the ability to read; they just burned all Miss Saeki’s memories.
A cat comes and talks to him.  Toro.  Before he died but while he was asleep, Hoshino tells him how much he has meant to him—his time with Nakata was the most meaningful time in his life.  Now he must pay up and return the entrance stone—and fight with a demon?

Toro explains that he has to kill it, whatever it is.  Cats know everything and Mr. Hoshino is famous.  You have always taken everything lightly and now you have to make up for that.  Do it for Mr. Nakata.