I have had this book (alongside the 210th day) for almost a year, it rested nicely on my book shelf…there’s always another book to read. I guess it was hard for books from early 20th century to compete with books from late 20th century. I’m truly grateful for this Japanese Literature Challenge3 because it urges me to read it.
The Heredity of Taste was made in 1906 by Natsume Souseki. The original title is Shumi no Iden. It was said that this book is the only book that showed Souseki’s feeling toward war. “This is Souseki’s only work of anti-war literature, and in some ways it marks him as a renegade in Meiji society” an introduction by Stephen W Kohl. It was the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-5.
The Heredity of Taste consists of less than 100pages but it took me 2days to finish it…I’m not used to read classic literature, and therefore it was a bit hard for my head to digest, sometimes I need to re-read certain paragraphs in order to comprehend it’s meaning. But, once I get the grip of the story things started to get easier to understand…and when the beautiful lady appeared, the story becomes more interesting.
The story was told by an I-centered character, from the begining till the end of the story we never know his name. When he was in Shimbashi Station, he saw a large crowd of people. It was a crowd welcoming home their family back from war. He then saw a young man that looks so much like his friend who had died in the war. That young man was welcomed by her mother…that incident brought deep memory over his friend.
Kou-san, Kawakami Kouichi, was the narator’s hero. He admired Kou-san for his leadership, calmness and all the positive attitude he posseses. He remembered how Kou-san never climbed out of the ditch, how his mother never had a chance to welcome him back. Souseki emphasized this sentence over and over again to show the price needed in the name of victory. At the 1st half of the book, the narator told us about the war and the cruelty of war on the peolpe who were left behind.
Upon seeing that young man, he decided to visit Kou-san’s grave in Jakko-in Temple. He saw a very beautiful woman on Kou-san’s grave. This woman was mistery for him, a mystery needed to be solved, Both for himself and for Kou-san’s mother. The mystery was solved by his theory of Heredity of Taste, a strong feeling passed through generations.
All I can say once I finished reading this book was ‘wow this book is beautiful’. It started slow for me but ended beautifully. I give this book 4 stars (I really like it).