Kafka on the Shore


Haruki Murakami

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Kafka on the Shore: Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis

Chapter 4 is another declassified US Army document from the investigation into the Rice Bowl Hill Incident. This time, it is an interview between Lt. O’Connor and Doctor Juichi Nakazawa, who ran a clinic in a town near Rice Bowl Hill. Nakazawa was called to the scene where the children had collapsed, and rushed there immediately. By the time he arrived, the children had already begun to recover. After examining the children, Nakazawa was at a complete loss—he couldn’t determine what had happened to the students or how they might be treated.
The fact that the town’s medical professionals are helpless to diagnose or treat the strange illness reinforces the idea that it is some kind of supernatural occurrence—or something affecting their minds and not their bodies.
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As the children gradually began to return to consciousness on their own, Dr. Nakazawa questioned them and found that they had no memory of the incident. They all seemed to completely recover. However, one boy, an evacuee from Tokyo named Satoru Nakata, remained unconscious. Dr. Nakazawa was warned by the police never to speak of this incident. He tells Lt. O’Connor that it remains a painful memory.
The fact that the children have no memory of the incident is another detail that makes it seem as if they have suffered some kind of supernatural event. The failure of everyone involved with investigating the incident to learn what truly happened also points to a sense of confusion, anguish, and helplessness inspired by the senseless violence of war.
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