Kafka on the Shore


Haruki Murakami

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Kafka on the Shore: Chapter 9 Summary & Analysis

Kafka suddenly wakes up lying on the damp ground beneath a bush on the grounds of a Shinto shrine. In a panic, he realizes he has no memory of the past few hours. The front of his shirt is covered in blood, and it doesn’t seem to be his own. In his head, Crow tells Kafka to calm down and plan his next steps. With effort, he calms down and calls Sakura, then takes a cab to her apartment.
When Kafka wakes up in a strange place with no memory of the past few hours, it seems to confirm his fear that there is an unknown, dangerous “mechanism” within him operating outside of his control. Kafka calls on his imagined persona Crow to help him be strong and calm, a coping mechanism he frequently employs. Kafka also recognizes that he can’t face this problem alone, and so calls on Sakura, marking the beginning of an evolution of his ideas about self-sufficiency and independence.
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Kafka and Sakura discuss the blood on his shirt. Kafka worries that he has committed a horrible crime while unconscious, a crime he will be responsible for even if he can’t remember it. But Sakura encourages him not to jump to conclusions. Kafka reluctantly reveals to Sakura that he ran away from home, and she tells him her own story of running away as a teenager. Kafka is comforted, and glad that he has someone he can count on, but he still feels like he can’t tell her—or anyone—about the omen that drove him away from home.
Kafka’s fear that he may have committed a crime while unconscious is one of the many examples of ways in which he feels his body is disconnected from his mind and acting out his subconscious desires. But Sakura, reasonably, points out that such a division is unlikely.
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