(born Feb. 9, 1867, Edo, Japan—died Dec. 9, 1916, Tokyo) Japanese novelist. Originally a teacher, Natsume made his literary reputation with two very successful comic novels, I Am a Cat (1905–06) and Botchan (1906). After 1907 he gave up teaching and produced sombre works dealing with human attempts to escape from loneliness, including The Wayfarer (1912–13), The Gate (1910), Kokoro (1914), and Grass on the Wayside (1915). The first writer of modern realistic novels in Japan, he articulately and persuasively depicted the plight of the alienated modern Japanese intellectual.
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