Characters, Themes, and Quotes

Main Characters
Additional Characters
Central Themes


  • Kafka Tamura Kafka is one of the protagonists of this novel. He escaped from the house where he lived with his father on the day he turned into 15 years old because he was plagued by the curse which made by his father that he will kill his father and have sex with his mother and sister. He wanted to be stronger and smarter by reading books in a private library where he escapes.  
  • Satoru NakataNakata is another protagonist of this novel in even number chapters. He lost all of his memory because of a mystery syncope during World War II. He even forgot all the skills and knowledge. However, he got the skill to talk with cats, and he used this skill to find missing pets to earn a small fee. Because of murder, he escaped to the unknown town where Kafka was in Shikoku.
  • Miss SaekiA middle-aged woman who runs the Komura Memorial Library where is named by her first and only love in her life. She wrote a song named “Kafka on the Shore” in her teenager period. However, it becomes a sad memory for her. Miss Saeki is the link between these two part of the stories.



  • Crow –The boy called “Crow” is Kafka’s imagination. He will give Kafka warning and suggestion when Kafka faces troubles. Kafka means crow in Czech. Thus, Crow can be also regarded as Kafka’s innermost self.
  • SakuraKafka and Sakura who is a few years older than Kafka meet on a bus trip to Takamatsu. She is kind and friendly, and she is going to visit her friends in Takamatsu. Although Kafka finds Sakura is attractive, he worries that she might be his older sister because of her age. She occasionally meets Kafka when they are in Takamatsu.
  • HoshinoHoshino is already twenty years old. He works as a truck driver because he has been fired from other jobs he did before. He is a content and confident boy with a special hobby of wearing Hawaiian shirts and ponytails. Hoshino is patient to take time to get to know Nakata. Classical music becomes revelatory for him. His story is an example of the power of music in this novel.
  • OshimaOshima is an avid reader who works at the Komura Memorial Library. He is a polite and transgender man who sometimes feels alienated or discriminated against because of this. He only shares his deeper struggles with those ones who closest to him. He loves engaging Kafka in discussions about philosophy and literature.


  • The Mind vs. The Body –Kafka on the shore is deeply concerned with the nature consciousness and the gap between thoughts and actions. It is often described as a metaphysical novel. This theme slips between perspectives and tenses, allowing the readers to inhabit the minds different characters and experience their inner thoughts and dream sequences as well as reality. Murakami envisions the mind itself as inextricably linked to the body, despite the ways in which the body can feel frustratingly limited or disconnected from the mind.  
  • Fate and Family SecretThe whole story of this novel is written based on the family secret which made by Kafka’s father. He cursed that Kafka will kill him and have relationships with his wife and daughter. This is the reason that Kafka escapes from his home. Kafka’s behavior impacts that he doesn’t want to follow his fate. He wants to change it, and he wants freedom.  
  • The Virtues of Self-sufficiencyCharacters in Kafka on the Shore becomes self-reliant by overcoming personal challenges. Additionally, they experience isolation and loss. These characters frequently grapple with the question of whether their greatest trials must be faces alone. The cultivation of personal strength and the ability to be alone is important but equally important is the capacity to accept the support of others.



Clow's name speaking:


Sometimes fate is like a sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change directions but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn’t something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you. ― Kafka on the Shore, pg. #5





Kafka's name speaking:


One by one the words find a home in my heart. It’s a weird feeling. Images beyond any meaning arise like cutout figures and stand alone, just like when I’m in the middle of a deep dream. ― Kafka on the Shore, pg. #228



Saeki's name speaking:


I had something too complete, too perfect, once, and afterward all I could do was despise myself. That’s the curse I can never escape. So I’m not afraid of death.― Kafka on the Shore, pg. #295



Oshima's name speaking:


There are a lot of things that aren’t your fault. Or mine, either. Not the fault of prophecies, or curses, or DNA, or absurdity. Not the fault of structuralism or the Third Industrial Revolution. We all die and disappear, but that’s because the mechanism of the world itself is built on destruction and loss. ― Kafka on the Shore, pg. #336



Hoshino's name speaking:


Listening to Fournier’s flowing, dignified cello, Hoshino was drawn back to his childhood. He used to go to the river every day to catch fish. Nothing to worry about back then, he reminisced. Just live each day as it came. As long as I was alive, I was something.Kafka on the Shore, pg. #328





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Lu Yao ’19

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