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Kokoro: Hints and Echoes of Japanese Inner Life

Lafcadio Hearn

Book Overview: 

In an introductory paragraph, Lafcadio Hearn declares his intention: "The papers composing this volume treat of the inner rather than of the outer life of Japan, for which reason they have been grouped under the title Kokoro (heart). Written with the above character, this word signifies also mind, in the emotional sense; spirit; courage; resolve; sentiment; affection; and inner meaning, just as we say in English, "the heart of things."" The result is a highly eclectic collection of stories, diary entries, cultural essays, and collected traditional texts that illustrate not only the state of Japanese society in the 1890s but also the endlessly fascinating issue of the intersection of cultures as demonstrated in a Westerner's interpretations of what he observed in Japan. As much is revealed about the Western mind as the Japanese mind whenever such an intersection occurs.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .hing except the dress a good nun may have made small. But she must wear a large dress—that is the law of Buddha."

So she was persuaded to wear the same dress as other nuns.


They built for her a small An-dera, or Nun's-Temple, in an empty court where another and larger temple, called Amida-ji, had once stood. The An-dera was also called Amida-ji, and was dedicated to Amida-Nyorai and to other Buddhas. It was fitted up with a very small altar and with miniature altar furniture. There was a tiny copy of the sutras on a tiny reading-desk, and tiny screens and bells and kakemono. And she dwelt there long after her parents had passed away. People called her the Amida-ji no Bikuni,—which means The Nun of the Temple of Amida.

A little outside the gate there was a statue of Jizo. This Jizo was a special Jizo—the friend of sick children. There were nearly always offerings of small rice-cakes t. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Sometimes you feel the desire to know the all-time greatest different nationalities have created through history. In this case, a japanese classic.

This novel is divided into three parts of a same story, taking place during the Meiji reign, around the 1800s. The laborious life of an university studen

A languid, melancholic dream of a novel which pierces the heart of the reader with its quiet intensity.

Cautious in its narrative tread on the ground of contentious issues, delicate in its broaching of subjects like the indignity of death, sin and redemption, existentialist ennui, self-recrimination

Ne postoji nikakav kalup za loše ljude. Pod normalnim okolnostima, svi su ljudi dobri. Ili makar obični. Strašno je to što se ti isti ljudi, u iskušenju, pretvaraju u hulje. Zato treba stalno biti oprezan.

Da li japansku književnost (ako ja uopšte išta znam o njoj) u većini odlikuju mrak, mistika i d

The main character is a young man, a college student, who meets an older man at a beach resort. Over time he develops a strong admiration for him, visiting at his home and calling him Sensei. The interesting thing about the “wise” old man is that he does nothing. He seems to be a scholar but doesn’t

Beautiful classic Japanese story.....
This is a quiet introspective book that was first published in 1996.
They say great books are timeless - and it’s certainly true with “Kokoro”....( which means *Heart* in Japanese).
I paid $1.19 for the Kindle download....and I kid you not...this thin book ( 248

"I believe you don't really become a finer person just by reading lots of books"

I know a lot of Westerners are obsessed with the East and our civilization, finding its mysterious inconclusiveness attractive in opposition to the somewhat dogmatic West. Nonetheless, it is one thing to be an outside ad

“Kokoro” is about a respectable man’s account of his life before he makes a great decision. An unusual book which I really enjoyed, and I would recommend it to readers who do not mind their stories sprinkled with an air of sadness throughout.

You certainly don't need to know anything about Japan or

A few years ago I had arranged to meet up with a girl I was loosely dating. I liked her a lot, but as she is a DJ, who works late nights, seeing each other was not easy. I had agreed to go to the club she was playing at that night and wait for her to finish, which would be something like 3am. As I d

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