*Originally written by Ayaka Ohara
Natsume Soseki is one of the famous people who lived in Meiji period. He was a novelist, critic and a scholar of English literature. He made a lot of works which connect to loneliness, for he had a lonely childhood.“Loneliness” is the key of Soseki’s works. The loneliness came from his childhood experiences, inferiority in himself and opposition to modernization.
There is a nice sentence which Soseki translated which is favored among fashionable or intelligent people. When he was a teacher, one day in his class, he translated “I love you” into “Tsuki ga Kirei desune” which normally means “The moon is beautiful” after he heard a student translate “I love you” literally into “Ware Kimi wo Aisu”. He said it was enough to communicate your feeling because he was a person in Meiji period when feeling (Jou) was common rather than love (Ai). That is why he thought the direct sentence “Ware Kimi wo Aisu” was not practical and did not meet Japanese sensibility, so he regarded it as better to communicate with Japanese lyrical way which connects with former sentence. It is very natural that he translated this way because he was very smart and he did not like unfashionable things. The reason why he translated into such a nice sentence is that his experiences were different from others, which gave him unique ideas. The sentence “Tsuki ga Kirei desune” (The moon is beautiful) is often used to communicate love by today’s people. They favor the sentence because it is like a kind of secret sign and they think it is more tasteful than using “Ai shiteru” directly.
Natsume Soseki was a representative person in Meiji period. Nobody doubts he was an educated and intelligent person in modern Japan. He is a famous person, but he was a lonely person. He influenced society with his study and sensibility. He contributed to society for giving new idea. However he was negative about modernization and himself. The negative thought made his works interesting. All his experiences helped him to get unique idea and good sense. Even his lonely childhood was not unnecessary.
The moon is beautiful, isn`t it?