1.   >   Soseki and Shinjuku

There are many locations connected to Natsume Soseki in Shinjuku, the area where he was born, raised, and eventually died. Kikuicho, the current name of the neighborhood in Shinjuku where he was born, was bestowed by Soseki’s father, who was the headman of the neighborhood at the time, in a reference to the crest of the Natsume family, a chrysanthemum flower (kiku) inside beams crossed over a well (i). Soseki’s father also named the slope in front of the house where Soseki was born “Natsume-zaka Slope.” It was in the study of “Soseki Sanbo,” the house in the Waseda-Minamicho neighborhood where Soseki spent the last approximately nine years of his life, that he wrote many of his most famous works.


Soseki’s novels and essays feature numerous names of neighborhoods in Shinjuku, and the names of temples and shrines that still stand there to this day also appear in his works. Meanwhile, Soseki’s diaries and letters record how he went shopping in the Kagurazaka neighborhood and viewed cherry blossoms along the Kanda River, revealing that Shinjuku was where he spent his daily life. For Soseki, Shinjuku was his hometown, the birthplace of his works, the site of his daily life, and where that life came to an end.