RE: Soseki's significance as a writer (Written by Tiffany Hong)

Soseki is always included if not always at the forefront of "classic," representative modern authors in Japanese Literature. In fact, his likeness appears on 1000 yen bills (I think he has since been replaced, however..).

Beloved for his semi-autobiographical, humorous and irreverent novel "Botchan" (the first-person pronoun of that novel is "ore" !), which details the misadventures of a young and naively blunt/honest schoolteacher in the sticks, and respected for "Kokoro," his melancholy account of a tragic love triangle, Soseki is lauded for his appealing and lasting comic works, but is thought to have most delicately articulated the interiority of the modern man in his shosetsu. While Futabatei Shimei's "Ukigomo" or "The Drifting Clouds" is "the first modern Japanese novel," the tone is inconsistent due to its experimental, groundbreaking nature, whereas "Kokoro" is considered a masterpiece ably depicting with REALISM the psychological turmoil of a single individual. (The plot of "Ukigomo" and "Kokoro" are almost exactly alike, with vastly different outcomes, however.)

Furthermore, Soseki was one of the first Meiji intellectuals to study abroad. Living in England, Soseki found the experience traumatic and miserable, but his time there inspired a work on literary criticism, "Bungakuron," which has influenced such major Japanese critics as Karatani Kojin.