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Literature / I Am a Cat

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"I am a cat. As yet I have no name."

Written by Natsume Sōseki (the pen-name of Natsume Kin'nosuke), I Am a Cat first appeared in ten installments in the literary magazine Hototogisu (Cuckoo) between 1905 and 1906. Soseki had not intended to write more than a short story but it was so popular that he expanded it to fill a whole book. It is the chronicle of an unloved, unwanted, wandering cat who spends all his time observing humans, from his schoolteacher master, his servant, his horrible children, and more.

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Examples:

  • Anyone Can Die: The deaths aren't common, but nobody's safe.
  • Dub Name Change: The second English translation gives the main characters English names that are supposed to mirror the meaning and/or the feel of the original Japanese names.
  • Expository Pronoun: One of the most famous examples in Japanese literature − the cat uses the noble pronoun "wagahai", which comically contrasts his not-so-noble position.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: One of the first things the cat tells us of was how a student catches, boils and eats cats. It doesn't get much better from there when he tries to sneak into the school-teacher's house and repeatedly gets thrown out by the maid. The children spend a lot of their time torturing the poor thing.
  • Stray Animal Story: An early example. The story is about the life of a wandering cat.
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Alternative Title(s): Wagahai Wa Neko De Aru

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