Kafka on the Shore

by

Haruki Murakami

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Kafka on the Shore: Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
As the bus arrives in Takamatsu, Kafka introduces himself to the girl next to him, who is named Sakura (a different name, he notes, from that of his older sister). She gives him her phone number, and muses again that she believes all meetings are the result of fate.
Kafka believes that he is destined to meet his sister by chance, a feeling so strong that it persists even in the face of contrary evidence—like the fact that Sakura does not resemble his sister in any way. Sakura, too, believes their meeting is the result of a different kind of fate. For her, all chance encounters carry with them a feeling of destiny, which causes her to trust and open up to people she just met.
Themes
Fate and Prophecy Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Feeling free and independent, Kafka checks into a local hotel and heads to the Komura Memorial Library outside of town. There, he meets Oshima, an extremely well-dressed, composed young librarian, who tells him about the library’s collection of classics and poetry. Kafka settles in to read. That afternoon, when Oshima realizes that Kafka has struck out on his own, he tells Kafka about the ancient theory that people were once composed of two halves split apart by God, and are therefore destined to spend their lives searching for their missing other halves.
Feeling like he has successfully carried out his escape plan, Kafka’s sense of independence and self-sufficiency grows. His unusual conversation with Oshima touches on the subject of independence. Oshima’s somewhat bleak outlook suggests that it may not actually be possible to be truly independent. Oshima believes that, according to fate, everyone is incomplete until they meet a soul mate who completes them.
Themes
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The Virtues of Self-Sufficiency Theme Icon
Related Quotes
At 2:00 PM, Kafka pauses from his book to take a tour of the library lead by Miss Saeki, an extremely elegant middle-aged woman who runs the library. Kafka is struck by her beauty and wonders if she could be his mother. At the end of the day, Kafka returns to the hotel and feels relieved that he has had a successful first day as a runaway. He falls into a dreamless sleep.
Just like his meeting with Sakura, Kafka’s first impression of Miss Saeki is colored by his constant feeling that he is bound to meet his mother at some point. Even random encounters with strangers become imbued with significance and turbulent emotions because of this belief in destiny.
Themes
Fate and Prophecy Theme Icon