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    Inicio > Historias > Riddles in Kafka on the shore

    Riddles in Kafka on the shore

    Kafka on the shore It's easy to get sucked in by Kafka on the shore, by Haruki Murakami; there's a quest, there are lots of riddles, and there are mackerels and sardines.
    However, it's difficult to find a solution to those riddles. If there's any. Spoiler warning beyond this poing.
    One of the central points of the book is the murder of none other than Johnny Walker by Nakata, a sexagenarian who is card short off the whole deck. Johnny Walker is a notorious serial cat killer, and all but forces Nakata to stab him, twice, between the ribs. Problem is, the person that wounds up dead is the sculptor Koichi Tamura, who is the father of Kafka Tamura, the main character. Plus, Kafka Tamura wakes up, shortly after the murder, next to a shinto shrine, splattered with blood. Not his own blood, mind you. That shinto shrine might, or might not, be the one where the Entrance Stone is, the one that Nakata is looking for later in the book, for reasons unknown.
    That event links the two plotlines in the book, and I think it's crucial to unravelling the whole stuff. And it's not explained. If it's Johnny Walker who's killed, why does Koichi Tamura ends up dead? Following the Oedipal theme of the book, it should have been Kafka who killed him, but, well, it's not Kafka, it's Nakata, and he kills Johnny Walker, not Koichi Tamura.
    Later on in the book, close to the end, there's another event that might explain this: a Crow, who is an avatar of Kafka himself (Kafka seems to mean jackdaw in Czech), attacks Johnny Walker in the dream territory, but Johnny Walker says the Crow is not entitled to kill him, and laughs while he's been maimed; I guess that means that it's not Kafka who kills him, even metaphorically. If it's so, why does Nakata kill Johnny Walker and/or Koichi Tamura?
    There are many more riddles at work: who is Kafka's sister? How's Nakata linked to Miss Saeki? What's the role of the bleeding of the teacher, which more or less causes Nakata to fall in a coma and end up, probably, in the dream territory.
    If you drop by here looking for answers, please leave your opinions. Or pointers. Or just say hello.

    2007-01-01 12:42 | 81 Comment(s) | Filed in Books

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    De: Fiona Fecha: 2007-01-03 13:38

    Thank god - i finihsed the book last night and couldnt understand why i had missed so much. So pleased your questions were the same as mine. I had assumed Jonny Walker was an alterego of his father though an dhad definately decided Miss Saeki was not his mother.

    Why did all the kids drop down? was it on the same hill/place that Kafka was the log cabin?

    so many questions and no answers at all!

    Great book though - i chose it for my book club and have no idea what everyone else are going to think about it.

    De: JJ Fecha: 2007-01-03 14:06

    The question would rather be we they all came back up, whike Nakata didn't. If they all went to "other world", why did they come back so easily?
    Besides, did the vivid dream the teacher had the night before something to do with it?

    De: rl Fecha: 2007-02-01 22:40

    I'm particularly curious about what the theme of blood (cleansing?) represents throughout the story. If you would recall, Kafka drinks Miss Saeki's blood as a measure of salvation towards the end. Moreover, as JJ has pointed out, Nakata was presumably affected by being exposed to his teacher's cleansing blood, which would explain why he turned out differently than his classmates.

    Any thoughts?

    De: JJ Fecha: 2007-02-21 09:57

    Besides, Oshino is haemophilic, and he's the cleanest person in the group, probably the person that is closest to the Zen. But even as this is a theme in the book, I can't see how it adds up to something.

    De: julius Fecha: 2008-07-15 19:35

    Remember there was a silver flash of light in the beginning... and the silver thing crawled out of Nakata at the end. It's relationship to the entrance stone makes no sense, because Miss Saeki seems to be a lot younger then Nakata. To me, the blood is a source of emotional. The teacher lost emotional strength, Kafka gains it. Oshino is full of compassion and knowledge, but never becomes engrossed in the plot like the other characters.

    De: JJ Fecha: 2008-07-25 18:34

    I don't remember that... what's the meaning of the silver light then?

    De: Patrick Fecha: 2008-11-05 07:24

    Well, in regards to why Nakata killed "Johnny Walker", he tells Miss Saeki late in the book that he "killed Johnny Walker in place of the 15 year old boy".
    Why, I have no idea.

    Kafka waking by the shrine, well, in the end I thought maybe he was channeled through Nakata via the entrance stone to kill his father....maybe?

    Did Kafka's father really kill cats? What's up with this whole "flute made of souls" thing? many questions...I wish I could sit and talk with Haruki Murakami for a few hours, maybe have a cup of tea and listen to the Archduke Trio...

    De: JJ Fecha: 2008-11-05 08:11

    Me too. But I guess that many riddles really have no solution.

    De: Anónimo Fecha: 2009-06-08 03:03

    Hmm, just finished the is my stab at it. I believe that Kafka is the man Saeki fell in love with as a girl, and Nakata is also that man - As someone has stated earlier, it seems clear that Nakata is hollow, without memories and living entirely in the present, and Seiki is the opposite...moving through life as though looking through it, into the past. They both possess only half-shadows, suggesting they live in half in and half out of this world. At some point (either after the death of her love, or when confronted by the possibility of his death), she opens this "entrance" to another world and seals a part of both of them inside of it. She has found a way for them to be together forever("if you need me, I will be here") but at the great cost of losing the link that connected them. Realizing her mistake too late, Saeki waits the rest of her life for the moment when she can return things to the way they "should" be. I think, because this realm exists outside of time, it may have affected both characters simultaneously at different points in their lives - It is possible that the story of Kafka on the Shore is a "closed loop" where at the end of the book our Kafka awakens from his nap on the train as the 8-year old "post-coma" Nakata in 1944. In the first chapter, Crow warns him that once he "comes out of the sandstorm" he will be a different person than he was when he walked into it.

    De: Anónimo Fecha: 2009-11-11 17:11

    How does it end? I hate sad endings! He doesnt die does he? :S

    De: JJ Fecha: 2009-11-12 10:39

    You know, it's difficult to say...

    De: Anónimo Fecha: 2009-12-16 13:44

    I am now reading Kafka for the second time and now it makes a bit more sense than the first time. Maybe beause I read some Hegel in the meantime, too. :o)
    I think Oshima might be a key to some riddles, as he not only unites them, but often introduces them, too - e.g. love and sex issues (people are always looking for their other half) dreams and reality, music, living spirit, metaphor, time issue, etc. Also, unlike other characters he's not really a part of the story - he's not emotionally interested in it and the story does not concern him directly - he's just a sort of guide on Kafka's way of self-knowing.
    As for Johny Walker, I was always sure that it was Kafka's father, who hypnosed or otherwise manipulated Nakata's subconciousness (it is said in the novel that he was interested in such things) to make him believe that he's a cat killer and to force him to stab him. However, Kafka is haunted by the "curse" his father put on him and tries to run away - but soon he finds out (Crow alredy knew it) that big distance is not the solution for bad relationships and that he cannot escape his responsibility just like that. Even if it was Nakata who held the knife, it was Kafka's reponsibility (and that begins in dreams, remember)... and that's why Nakata was clean when he woke up, while Kafka had blood on his hands... Well, that's how I understood it. But maybe when I read it for the third time, after another two years, I will understand it in quite different way. That's the main advantage of any great book, after all.

    De: JJ Fecha: 2009-12-18 12:18

    Then, blood would be a metaphor for responsability?

    De: jason Fecha: 2010-01-30 20:45

    i just read the book for the first and i dont want to get into detail about what i guessed and whatnot but i was just wondering all of those stories that oshima told kafka to read throughout the book are they important to figuring out these riddles? as someone said ealier oshima could be a source for a lot of the answers and he is the one recommending all of the greek stories and whatnot.

    De: jason Fecha: 2010-01-30 20:46

    whats also really interesting about this book is all of the little connections. i had sheets of paper full of just weird connections and coincidences.

    De: jason Fecha: 2010-01-30 20:55

    apollo would be jonny walker
    cassandra would be nakata

    and their relations are they same. and nobody believes nakata when he tells about the raining of fish.

    De: JJ Fecha: 2010-01-30 21:09

    Hum, that's right; maybe greek mythology is a source for understanding it...

    De: jason Fecha: 2010-01-31 04:31

    maybe.. ehh not bad for a stoner? lol

    De: jason Fecha: 2010-01-31 06:00

    and i think fish are also very important for something... im not sure the only one i remember figuring out is that mackrels are used for distractions... and he goes into detail a lot about fish and stuff but i dont think its anything important.

    De: JJ Fecha: 2010-01-31 09:00

    Well, if they were red they would be the classical red herrings... :-)

    De: jdizzle cat fizzle Fecha: 2010-02-06 17:26

    that would just be too easy don't ya think? lol

    De: Kelc Fecha: 2010-10-11 05:02

    Saeki can't be kafkas sister. When they first meet kafka tells her that he is 17 (a lie considering he's 15). She believes him and says that's how old her brother is. So the ages don't match up. It really throws the idea that she's his sister out the window

    De: Swietowit11 Fecha: 2010-11-04 01:07

    I believe that the man in the teacher's dream may have been one of the soldiers at the entrance. He may have actually come to her home, signifying the opening of the entrance, through which the children later passed.

    De: YW Fecha: 2011-04-15 18:52

    I think Miss Saeki is Kafka's mother because near the end she apologizes for abandoning him. Nakata killed Kafka's father whose alterego is the cat killer. However, Kafka's spirit entered Nakata's body during the killing so you could say that Kafka killed his own father through Nakata.

    This is because Kafka woke up with blood on him and Nakata didn't. Nakata also tells Hoshino that he is empty and anything could take control of him. Miss Saeki probably left his father after discovering his real identity. Basically Johnny Walker and Kafka's father are the same person.

    The crow attacks Johnny Walker in the forest because they are both in limbo and are subconcious projections of Kafka and his father. Kafka is pre-destined to kill his father so the crow tries to kill Johnny Walker.

    De: JJ Fecha: 2011-04-15 20:41

    So it's all basically an Oedipal rerun, right?

    De: YW Fecha: 2011-04-17 01:28

    Yes I think so. The message of the book is that you can't run away from your destiny because it will eventually catch up on you. Kafka thought that by running away he could prevent his fate but actually his action initiated it and led him to his mother and sister.

    De: ! Fecha: 2011-04-20 11:06

    Maybe the entrance stone is the same thing as philosopher's stone. In some other text the philosopher stone is a metaphoric symbol for the entrance to the heart or soul.
    In his heart he has to be one with the wilderness (the forest, or maze) that at first frightens him, but when he is in the eye of the tornado (the little village) he finds miss Saeki.

    Drinking the blood of miss Saeki, could be a methapor for the reunion of the female and male to a whole self. The thing Oshino was talking about (male-male, male-female and female-female) plus that Oshino said that miss Saeki was complete when she was with her lover.
    He also discovers that Crow or Kafka is also just a part of him. I think the reason Crow couldn't kill the will (guy with spirit flutes) is because he is not the whole self.

    At least that is how I see it.

    Still that will/weird worm/Jonnie Walker and Flute guy in the forest (and maybe the Cornal) is a puzzle on its own. He is all and nothing at the same time. Still don't get why he needs to be killed (maybe because he kills kitties, poor kitties).

    Anyways, great book!

    De: JJ Fecha: 2011-12-16 15:46

    Yes, and I also don't think there's a single interpretation. He just created riddles to make people think.

    De: Anónimo Fecha: 2011-12-16 16:30

    Hi, Im half way through reading karka a second time. I also was interested in the meaning of blood. a nurse states the only thing unusual before nakata became conscious was that he coughed up some blood.

    Anyway i read oedipal greek tragedy and some freud after this and i agree kafka follows the path of oedipal, but also i though johnny walker and colonel saunders are one and the same. Freud talks about different aspect of us. and he sys that the "id" i think is nor good nor evil, as the 2 say in the book. they deal with basic human need, which the both say they are there in our story through need.

    I also think it has something to do with enlightenment, and reincarnation. that miss seiki confused that balance and that perhaps nakata, karka and miss seikis karka are the same reincarnation and miss seiki mixed the timings. i could gop on and on with this. so interesting hahaha

    De: Richard Fecha: 2012-01-02 12:32

    I've just read it for the first time and I have much of the same questions...

    1) I'm also curious to the importance of blood in the novel. There was blood on the teacher before the accident with the children and Kafka drank Ms. Saeki's blood before he left the timeless town. What does that mean!?

    2) What caused the accident in the first place?
    For awhile I thought it was the same story with Kafka and the timeless town... But the accident took place during WWII... so who would lead the children deeper into the forest? Also, I considered that maybe the accident was around the time Ms. Saeki was in love and when she encountered the entrance stone.. but Nakata was 8 years old... that would of made Ms. Saeki almost 20?... Nakata was 60ish at present.. and Ms. Saeki wasn't that old so that doesn't work... any ideas?

    3) I get how Nakata and Ms. Saeki are 1/2 people... Nakata without memories and Ms. Saeki only having memories...

    then you have Crow and Johnny Walker ... I guess there's no questions there just having trouble wrapping my head around these 2 pairs still...

    3)One thing that did bother me is what did you all think of the place in the forest that Kafka went to?

    Was it a dream?
    Was it some sort of hallucination?
    Was it magical place where spirits exist?
    Why was he tempted to return when he looked back?
    Was this town analogous for something else?

    De: JJ Fecha: 2012-01-03 20:06

    Richard: I think it's real, as real as it gets. It's part of the reality the characters live in.

    De: Paul Fecha: 2012-01-11 16:46

    1) Yes I don’t really get this either, for instance is it that fact that Nakata has blood on him that prevents him from coming out of the trance with the other kids? Maybe Oshima is the key as he is a haemophiliac and is trapped because he can’t / mustn’t bleed – I think that is a clue but I am far from solving this mystery.
    Sex also seems to be important – the teacher has a very erotic experience on the day of the accident? Could it be what triggers the accident? Is it the impending accident – the presence of some kind of primal energy – that brings on the experience? Before Colonel Sanders takes Hoshimo to get the stone he makes sure he has incredible sex first. Col. Sanders is pretty practical so there has to be a reason. Does this enable him to move the stone? I’ve lost track of Kafka’s sexual experiences a little but doesn’t he get a hand job from Sakura the night before he apparently possesses Nakata and kills Johnny Walker, and then have hyper-real dreams of sex with her the night before he goes into the forest?
    Sex and blood are both very primal things and I think there is a connection here with the letter the teacher writes to the doctor where she talks about a prototypical story or something of that kind. It’s as though they help us gain access to things that belong to that realm. A tantric kind of idea maybe.
    This realm also seems to be in / from the sky – I definitely got the impression that Kafka's father only became Johnny Walker when he was hit by lightning, then there’s the silver thing in the sky that presages Rice Bowl Hill and the fact that Nakata – who has left part of himself in that realm – can make things rain down from the sky.

    2) It’s interesting that Nakata refers to it as an accident thoughout. You would never call it an accident if starting from scratch, you would say incident. I think this ties in with a statement in one of the army reports about it being like witnesssing something that was supposed to be hidden (I understood the something to be a kind of machinery underlying everything). So I think something goes wrong in the workings of the universe and this why Nakata (who understands these things instinctively) calls it an accident. We know things do go wrong from time to time because Colonel Sanders says so and explains that his job is to fix them.
    Miss Saeki says she found the entrance stone long ago, so although I think that she goes to the same place as Nakata (when he turns up in her study, she knows exactly what he means) I do not think they go on the same occasion. This ties in with Nakata being older and having gone in younger than Miss Saeki.

    3) I do not think the forest is the same place Miss Saeki and Nakata have been to or that Kafka can only go in because Hoshima has turned the entrance stone over. I think it is just his subconscious. It’s almost as if he goes to the remote cabin to meditate and thi sis his meditative journey. The way I see it the 15-year-old Miss Saeki is or represents his mother and cares for him and tells him she is always there (or words to that effect). I seem to remember she apologises as well. Kafka also chases his father (Johnny Walker) out of his subconscious which I think represents him destroying the hold his father and the curse curse had over him. Once he’s done this he is ready to go back, his quest is over.

    De: LN Fecha: 2012-04-03 02:52

    I think, Memory also has an important role in this book, beside blood and sex. It's usually mentioned throughout the story, especially at the end. Miss Saeki, who lost her lover and was heart-broken, always immerses herself into the past. Nakata, who got a bizarre, inexplicable illness, has no memory and only understands the present. And Kafka has good memory but can't remember a thing about his sister and mother. They're all different. What I mean is that we need to consider about these difference.
    There is something I don't very well understand at the time when Kafka stays in the timeless town and meets real Miss Saeki. Why is she there? She is supposed to pass away in her room before, isn't she? Then, Kafka "remembers?" about the beach and he turns into Miss Saeki's lover a long time ago, eh?
    Finally, I feel like JW is not Kafka's father, and he is most likely the person behind Kafka's father death, or maybe everything. Maybe he uses some trick and Nakata stabs Kafka's father, instead of him. Then he takes the cats' heads and brings Nakata out of the house.
    There is a lot of riddles having no solution here. But anyway, the book is great. I really enjoyed it. Also sorry for my poor english.

    De: JJ Fecha: 2012-04-04 17:41

    You've got a point, LN. That would play with the freudian theme, which, after all, is all about repressed memories.

    De: Lola Fecha: 2012-04-30 03:42

    What is the connection between Nakata and Miss Saeki?
    The similarities I have are: the half-shadows, their deaths, their memory- situations, and the entrance stone. If anyone can build on that it would certainly make things more clear.

    De: JJ Fecha: 2012-04-30 07:58

    I read it so long ago I barely remember... I'll have to start all over again.

    De: Lily Fecha: 2012-06-01 11:55

    I don't think we ought to read into the logic of Murakami's works. He doesn't write in riddles so there's nothing to figure out in that sense. He writes in metaphors. I've known so since I've read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and Sputnik Sweetheart. And in "Kafka on The Shore", he even made the idea more explicit by having Oshima and Kafka talk about "metaphors" and "dreams".

    This novel does have ideas, but not in the logical way of the awake. You can't try to explain the phenomena like those in a science fiction novel. Think about dreams. When you remember them, you don't try to analyze the logic WITHIN them but rather how the symbols relate to your reality. For instance, you don't try to attribute a floor collapsing to the infrastructure of the house but instead your feelings of insecurity at the moment.

    Furthermore, the appearance of the entrance stone has pretty much destroyed any linear way to understand the story.

    Murakami writes stories with his subconscious. Airing it out through metaphors. If you put literal meanings to them, you would miss what he wants to communicate completely. I doubt he cares about how much his novels make sense since I've heard that he writes them without any sort of careful outlining.

    De: JJ Fecha: 2012-06-01 19:22

    You still have to figure out the riddle: what's the relationship between the reality and the dream, the metaphor and what it stands for.

    De: Anónimo Fecha: 2012-06-03 00:15

    I have read this book and heard that Kafka goes through great character development. But I don't really understand how he feels or how he has grown by the end of the book. Does he finally understand that he can never escape destiny or something?

    De: JJ Fecha: 2012-06-03 08:42

    Who knows? Different timescale in the underworld, maybe?

    De: phil Fecha: 2012-06-20 16:49

    Here's an idea I came up with early on concerning Nakata's accident as a child and his connection to ms. saeki and kafka. During one of those "found document" chapters there's an interview with a doctor who describes nakata's condition as being like there's a part of him missing, or something to that effect. later the cat also notes that his shadow is fainter than normal. the same is said of ms. saeki, could it be that a part of nakata's soul didn't come back with him during his trip to the dream world as a child, and that part of him was reborn as ms. saeki? and then there's ms. saeki's lover, who is stronly implied to have been reborn as kafka, the son of jack daniels, who I think it another concept, like colonel sanders,and embodiment of evil, whereas sanders is an embodiment of something, not sure, maybe opulence. and I think the boy called crow is the residual consciousness of kafka's past life.

    De: Sera Fecha: 2012-08-04 13:59

    I can't help but agree with lily. The more I tried to reason with the story, the less meaning I found. After struggling through half the novel racking up different theories and what not (I failed, mind you), I decided to just read through the remaining just getting engrossed in the poetic beauty on the literature and whatever story that continues weaving abstractions in my head.

    But definitely, any idea; any logic is possible. I don't think this novel has any definitie form that can be interpreted so linearly and singularly. It's like a liquid state of a story where you can both grasp yet not grasp it at the same time. It's strange yet so wonderfully alluring and addictive.

    De: JJ Fecha: 2012-08-04 20:11

    Amen to that, Sera. Agreed.

    De: JP Fecha: 2012-09-26 03:51

    why is time not a factor? if Kafka reached the edge of the world why wouldnt he stay? I felt like that was the place he was meant to go. the town also reminds me of the town of hard boiled wonderland. Why do these places exist and at the same time dont? I feel the characters that inhabit these worlds lose a part of themselves which i find completely complexing.

    De: JJ Fecha: 2012-09-26 07:02

    That's what happens in magical worlds. You earn something (wisdom), you lose something.

    De: JP Fecha: 2012-09-27 04:37

    Interesting. What do you think was the purpose of flute made of souls?

    De: JJ Fecha: 2012-09-27 07:36

    @JP absolutely no idea. Plus I read this book a long time ago...

    De: wendy Fecha: 2012-11-29 13:37

    I think this is a book which arises out of the subconscious of the author and that is what is so amazing about it, like dreams the chapters etc reasonate a a different part of our awareness undertanding that literal tales . Magical indeed !! and each readers own subcsious, experience , imagination will make something different of it Just dicussed it at my book club and the best discussion we have had yet !!!

    De: Anónimo Fecha: 2012-12-29 15:11


    De: Anónimo Fecha: 2012-12-29 15:14

    the pure present is an ungraspable advance of the past devouring the future. In truth, all sensation is already memory.

    De: Novi Fecha: 2013-03-25 19:54

    I think the author made the story of a tragic and that nakata was the man miss saeki loved and kafka is half Nakata's shadow but I think crow has somenthing to do with the shadow yeah and I do believe that kafka is miss saeki's son but also her old lover that was the other half of him :3 And because in the end she said it's you kafka on the shore the lover she had yes I do believe that nakata and kafka with the shadow have a conection or maybe it's the crow that to crow lives in Kafka and the crow is the curse in kafka that makes him do stuff and lies u know that's what I believe and to be true many Ppl believe sakura is Kafka sister I don not believe so cause the age didn't match her brother But then he has a dream of her. but she didn't have the same dream has him so they are not brother or sister :3 Kafka never meet his sister :D

    De: Michelle Fecha: 2013-04-22 01:43

    I don't believe that sakura is kafkas sister either. I can't get the idea of my head that Oshima is the sister. Kafkas sister is supposed to be 21 years old and Oshima once said that he is 21 years old. and as we all know, Oshima is actually a woman. (!)

    or is that purely coincidental?

    De: JJ Fecha: 2013-04-22 07:39

    Oshima is not a woman. If anything, Oshima is hermaphrodite.

    De: Michelle Fecha: 2013-04-23 05:34

    he said so at one point didn't he?
    I still doubt it's Sakura. the ages don't match.
    I guess we will never know who is the sister for sure.

    anyway it's a fantastic, dreamy story, which I cannot forget. :*)

    De: Nick Fecha: 2013-08-27 23:03

    From the book - "Symbolism and meaning are two separate things."

    Just something to keep in mind as you think about all the potential metaphors

    De: HTH Fecha: 2013-10-01 01:00

    I think Lily's comment is spot on. This book is full of intricate and comprehensive metaphors. To me, the actual relationships between Kafka and Saeki or Sakura can only be grasped through these metaphors.
    I also like how this novel pays homage to the ancient greek tragedy. In that respect, the role of Johnny Walker and Colonel Sanders seems to be of a "deus ex machina". Oshima seems to have characteristics of the sphinx (ambiguity of male/female, provides Kafka with riddles).

    De: PG Fecha: 2013-10-26 01:04

    In correlation (I think anyway) with Lily's comment, I don't happen to think it matters much at all whether Miss Saeki or Sakura are Kafka's relations. What matters is that in his mind, in his subconscious, without any counter-evidence to prove him wrong, Kafka accepts Miss Saeki as his mother and Sakura as his sister. Thus fulfilling his fate as posed to him by his father through the responsibility of his dreams.

    In other words, whether Miss Saeki is biologically his mother or not makes no difference. Kafka decided she was his mother without any evidence to contradict him, then he had sex with her anyway. He also forgave her for abandoning him. If she was his mother, then ok. If she wasn't, she was an acceptable stand-in. Just as Nakata was an acceptable stand-in for Kafka in the killing of Kafka's father. Likewise Sakura was an acceptable stand-in for his sister whether their ages matched up or not. And though he didn't have sex with her in the realm of reality, he did in his dreams. And a dream is an acceptable substitute for reality in this world. Because dreams and thoughts are where responsibility begin.

    De: MM Fecha: 2014-01-02 15:15

    Here is my interpretation of the book
    Kafka was miss Saeki's lover(in previous life). However, he is also her child. That is why he is both attracted to her and needed her to apologize to him for leaving him. I think the reason she left him was also because she realized her son is the reincarnation of her lover. This is why Kafka is attracted to the Library.
    Kafka's father and Johnny Walker are the same person, Kafka said he does not want to go home because he knows many murders have been committed there (alluding to the cat murders).
    I believe Nakata is the joining force of it all not Oshima.Since the incident in his childhood Nakata got infested with the 'white slime' which hollowed him inside and allowed him to commute with cats. Since Nakata met Johnny walker, he became more of 'himself' and thus lost the ability to talk to cat and focused on finding the stone. The stone eventually killed the 'white slime' as well.

    De: Gabriele Fecha: 2014-01-27 20:33

    I'd like to add to the manifold interpretation. I've noticed some expressed confusion about the cats, flutes and all that regarding Johnnie Walker. I know that Murakami is a great cosmopolitan but his appeal to the Western world does not mean his denial of Japanese culture. The flute is the national Japanese instrument and it does sound as if many cats would be caterwauling. This junction of Johhnie Walker and the waulling flute only symbolises the merging of the two cultures. And even more -- since Johnnie Walker is rather perversely forcing the making of the flute, Murakami might have implied the restless intrusion of the Western culture. And it cannot end till the culture is done, it's a wry quest and an idea that the West have about prevailing upon the whole world...

    De: JJ Fecha: 2014-01-28 07:57

    That's a good one, Gabriele.

    De: david Fecha: 2014-02-03 17:57

    i think mm's idea of kafka as a reincarnation of miss Saeki's lover and her son as spot on. but i wonder what the reason for Hoshino's transformation throughout the story is. What is the signifigance of his belief in nakata as a sort of buddha figure? Why does Hoshino begin to talk to cats at the end? i wonder how no one has said much about Hoshino. He actually seems to be the most real and rounded character in the whole book.

    De: Mykalah Fecha: 2014-04-30 08:20

    i think when nakata killed johnny walker/ kochi tamura, his innocence or something along the lines of peace was lost. i think the way he was able to take place for kafka was because the entrance stone was open. so when nakatas innocence or peace was lost he lost the ability to talk to the cats. and when hoshino was able to talk to the cats, peace was in the process of being restored.... but i am not sure. i also think nakata may have made the fish fall form the sky for the cats...

    i also think sakura is metaphorically his sister and this could be the same with miss saeki.

    De: miss Fecha: 2014-06-14 02:35

    theory of soulmates, karma, multiple dimensions and dreams is what's at work in this book. male/male, female/male and female/female pairings and finding your other Halth of Self. it's hard to explain it actually. nakata & kafka are 1. example of soulmates searching for eachother half- without eachother they can't be complete nor understand themselves - their juxtaposition is expressed throughout the book lack of fear in nakata/fear and anxiety in kafka, talking to cats vs being able to talk to people, old vs young, being brilliant vs being stupid, having no sexual desire vs having one constantly - the same polarities can be seen with oshima and hashiono: male who is actually a female vs male with multiple feminine traits (pierced ear, long hair etc), homosexuality vs heterosexuality, quoting famous erudites vs clumsy proverbs, smart vs stupid etc..... miss sakura's other half is her boyfriend. the point of the book is hard to explain cause it can't be explained - it's alegorical, and metaphorical. it's even Kafkian in a sense as the motif of kafka is often told. the tale of soulmaltes and finding it's other missing halfs Murakami etherially told by combining objective events with dreamlike inserts (exactly what kafka did). emphasis should be put not on understanding the actually connections and reasons how certain events happended but like killing of the kafka's dad but on REALISING that journey into finding oneself starts with selfexploration of the self and finding what's missing - the other half. only then can one be complete and know oneself and be repaired forever. johnny walker/sculptor is the same person but perceived by different polarities - just like the sex machine girl told hiroshino quoting hegel :For me I'm the self, and
    you're the object. For you, of course, it's the exact opposite--you're the self to
    you and I'm the object. And by exchanging self and object, we can project
    ourselves onto the other and gain self-consciousness. Volitionally." hope i helped! :))

    De: miss Fecha: 2014-06-14 02:37

    i misspelled hoshino coupe of times - don't let that confuse you! :)

    De: JJ Fecha: 2014-06-14 10:20

    Thanks, miss!

    De: miss Fecha: 2014-06-14 13:37

    you're welcome! i could write about this book for ages and still not say everything i wanted to say! :)

    De: RonS Fecha: 2014-06-28 13:23

    OK, what about the role of violence in passing to the other side?

    The soldiers go to avoid war, and after being trained to kill.

    Nakata goes after being attacked by his teacher.

    Kafka is involved, in some way or form, in the murder of his father.

    But Miss Saeki is tricky. Her personality changes after the murder of her lover. Did she cross over then? But she wrote her song while he was still alive. And we know she got her special chords from the lizards which are found on the other side.

    So it is very unclear to me when, and therefor why, Miss Saeki crossed over !?!

    De: Anonymous Fecha: 2014-07-08 08:49

    One thing that everyone has failed to mention is that Oshima's brother spoke about the two soldiers, having experienced them himself. That basically proves that Kafka didn't completely hallucinate that experience.

    De: TML Fecha: 2014-07-08 14:52

    Okay so I just finished reading it and like everyone here have many questions. I'm also super interested to read other people's observations.

    My feeling about Nakata's childhood coma following the 'accident' was that he was taken by some other worldy force or 'fate' and 'hollowed' out. His memories and part of his normal self remained on the other side and what was left was an empty space that could be controlled by the forces of fate to shape the stories and lives of the people in the story (who knows maybe other people were also affected outside of these characters). Perhaps all the other kids came back quickly and whole because they weren't the right kind of vessel to be used in this way.

    Also - why did Nakata sleep so much? Did he go somewhere else with his mind/soul when he was asleep?

    I don't think Johnnie Walker was Kafka's father - I think he was this other force of fate - using the father's body and appearing as Johnnie Walker to get Nakata to do what he was meant to do. He knew Nakata was simple and didnt understand violence but cared strongly about cats; hence Johnnie Walker had to be a cat killer to get Nakata to act.

    I think Colonel Sanders is another example of this fate at work controlling the events that needed to take place. He was also very possibly appearing in that form but using someone else's body. I dont think there's any coincidence that in both cases fate chose a well know character in the World. Its almost playing upon the budget Alien comedy films where an alien comes down to earth trying to blend in and therefore moulds him self to look like the first 'human' he sees which is probably a character on a magazine or on TV.

    De: Hendo Fecha: 2014-10-16 01:02

    TML excellent points bro. Everyone's insights have been brilliant, and I'm hoping to run some stuff past you guys.

    1. TML I totally agree about Johnnie Walker. I think he is fate, like the sandstorm Crow talks about at the beginning. That's why Crow can't hurt him, and it's also why he doubles as Kafka's father.
    Kafka was supposed to kill his father (Nakata says he killed someone in place of a 15 year old) and that's where Nakata found Johnnie Walker - in place of Kafka's father. I like to think it's possible that Nakata (due to enhanced perception skills like cat-talking, stone-talking etc.) doesn't see Kafka's father as everyone else does - he sees the overriding fate instead, hence seeing JW. At this point Kafka's fate is separated from the murder scene and so goes travelling. This thought line still needs work :)

    2. I also agree about Nakata - at first I thought he stayed too long in the forest, but then so did Miss Seiki and she's far more coherent. Then I thought it would be a nice mythological nod (i.e. Orpheus) to have him lose something by looking back on the return journey, as Kafka did but was severely warned by the soldiers not to do again.
    Either way he has half a shadow, the same as Miss Seiki, and she definitely left a part of herself in the forest, so it seems very likely the forest and half-shadow thing are connected.

    3. I also think that Kafka is connected to the accident. Kafka's descriptions of Sakuro:

    "Her thin metal earrings sparkle like Duralinum"

    "it’s hard to tell the difference between sea and sky. Between voyager and sea. Between reality and the workings of the heart."

    The previous chapter to this is an accident report, as is the following chapter. Seems more than coincidence to sandwich this description between the two reports - how does Kafka know what Duralinum is, and why bring it up exactly in between two accident reports?

    At first I thought Nakata and Kafka were connected through the accident, but then I wondered about the teacher. After all, she suffers the biggest amount of weird shit?

    I have so many things I want to ask AAAAAH!

    De: Jack Fecha: 2015-04-13 05:30

    Damn I loved this book. This page is great too, I really enjoyed looking through all these ideas. I'm just going to share some of the thoughts I had reading through my first time.

    First off, Nakata was very messianic. I drew a lot of parallels to Jesus's story. He's a carpenter, shepherds stray cats home, he kills Johnnie Walker/Mr. Tomura which was Kafka's responsibility (Christ bearing sin), makes it rain fish, heals Hoshino, who thinks of himself as a disciple with blind devotion; and finally, after Nakata passes, Hoshino is able to speak to cats, like how the disciples were able to perform miracles following Jesus's death. The only thing missing is the resurrection.

    Even though it was ambiguous, I think it was clear that Ms. Saeki was Kafka's mother. The Oedipus analogies are obvious, and the general theme of Greek mythology is potent. Johnnie Walker and Colonel Sanders both state that they're concepts, that their visible forms are only a matter of convenience. The situation of JW dying but Mr. Tomura being found reminds me of how often Greek gods would take different forms to get it on. After he passes, Mr. Tomura's corpse is found but we see Johnnie Walker again in the forest. If the forest is the labyrinth, and the labyrinth is a projection of Kafka's, then it makes sense to me that Johnnie Walker, as a concept, is able to live on in Kafka. Walker is sort of like a Platonic Form. As for the scene where the boy named Crow can't kill him, I'm a little unsure. When Oshima speaks with Kafka about the Chorus in Greek theater, I'm reminded of the role Crow plays. He exists parallel to and within Kafka, doing all the things a Chorus does, but when it comes to direct action Crow is totally powerless. His actions have more symbolic than actual affect, other than the slug exiting Nakata having no mouth or eyes. Hmm...

    I'm giving myself a headache. I need to reread the book.

    De: Cb Fecha: 2015-11-10 05:12

    The role the blood plays its that it is the opening gate to the limbo, when Nakata showed the towel full of blood to the teacher that is the moment when he opened the gate, when his blood spilled all over the bed while he was unconscious that is the moment when he closed the gate, resulting in him waking up. The connection between Kafka and Nakata is the blood, when Nakata killed Kafkas father the blood was reflected on Kafka (when he woke up without remembering anything).

    De: Natasha Fecha: 2015-12-17 07:37

    I finished the book yesterday and have been dying to discuss it with other readers.Taking off from what some of you have mentioned, -
    1. Kafka and Nakata are the other half shadows of each other. Nakata took on the form of Kafka to murder the father, in the self fulfilling prophesy.Its when Nakata goes into his marathon sleeps, when Kafka is making that tiring trek through the woods of his subconscious.
    2. Kafka accepts that Ms. Seiki and Sakura are metaphoric mother and sister to him.
    3. And like Anonimo said, the story could really be a "closed loop" where at the end of the book our Kafka awakens from his nap on the train as the 8-year old "post-coma" Nakata in 1944.

    Fascinating book.

    And Phil, the father isn't Jack Daniels but Johnny Walker. Close, but.

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