Kokoro: The Heart, The Mind, The Essence

2141 words - 9 pages

In the book Kokoro, the word kokoro seems to carry a certain vagueness because it’s a foreign word that carries a heavy importance in the book. Since the book did not have a detailed explanation of the word kokoro, I decide to look elsewhere for a definition. In the Dharma Dictionary, it said that kokoro had three meanings, the mind, heart, and essence. It also stated, “Originally, kokoro referred to the beat of the heart, which was considered to be the essential organ of life and the source of all activities. By extension, kokoro refers to all human activities affecting the outside world through intension, emotion, and intellect.” I thought about this quote, and how it might pertain to the book. I found this to be very helpful when analyzing the book to explain how kokoro represents the physical heart, the mind, relationships, and as K himself.
There are a lot of connotations of the physical heart in Kokoro, not just in a spiritual way, but also the physical, blood pumping heart. The Japanese thought of the physical heart as the center of the being, the very essence of that person. When Sensei finally reveals his past to the student he says, “You revealed a shameless determination to seize something really alive from within my very being. You were prepared to rip open my heart and drink at its warm fountain of blood. I was still alive then. I did not want to die. And so I evaded your urgings and promised to do as you asked another day. Now I will wrench open my heart and pour its blood over you. I will be satisfied if, when my own heart has ceased to beat, your beast houses new life.” This excerpt has so much meaning of how important the author, Soseki, thought the heart to be. The beating heart is what keeps you alive, and from the heart is where all of you are. This quotation is both vulgar and artistic because when I imagine Sensei pouring his blood over the student, I see him pouring his very self; his memories, his ideals, and the life he once had. And that is what he did when he wrote his letter, revealing his very heart to the student.
Another instance of the physical heart was when Sensei’s friend, K, killed himself. The last sentence was, “Then I turned and at last I saw the blood that had spurted over the sliding doors.” Sensei described the death as,” K had slit his carotid artery with a small knife and died immediately. It was his only wound. The blood on the paper doors, which I had glimpsed by the dreamlike half-light of his lamp, had spurted from his neck. Now I gazed at it again, in the clarity of daylight. I was stunned at the violent force that pulses the blood through us.” I feel like this was described in such detail because the author wanted the readers to know just how powerful this act was. K cut one of his most vital arteries, stopped the flow to his heart, and made sure the room was covered in blood to tell what happened. Sensei read the letter K left, and it was simple - enough blaming himself for the life he...

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