Kafka is one of the two protagonists of the novel, serving as the narrator for half of the chapters in the book. At the opening of the story, Kafka has just turned fifteen and decided… read analysis of Kafka Tamura
Nakata is one of two protagonists of the story, serving as the subject of half of the chapters in the book (although, unlike Kafka’s chapters, Nakata’s chapters are written in the third person). During World… read analysis of Satoru Nakata
The Boy Called Crow
When Kafka is scared or at a loss for words, he imagines “the boy called Crow” giving him advice. Crow is an imagined persona, representing a tougher, wiser version of Kafka himself. Kafka notes that… read analysis of The Boy Called Crow
Hoshino is an aimless twentysomething who works as a truck driver largely because he has been fired from every other job he’s held. Still, he’s content and confident, with a flamboyant penchant for Hawaiian shirts… read analysis of Hoshino
As a middle aged woman, Miss Saeki runs the Komura Memorial Library. The library is a special place for her—it is named after Miss Saeki’s first and only love, a young man in the… read analysis of Miss Saeki
Sakura is a young woman visiting friends in Takamatsu. Sakura and Kafka meet on a long bus ride to Takamatsu. Sakura, who is a few years older than Kafka, is kind and friendly. Kafka finds… read analysis of Sakura
The Living Ghost of Miss Saeki
Shortly after Kakfa moves into the library, an apparition begins to appear in his room at night. She appears to be a ghost who resembles Miss Saeki at fifteen years old. Kafka is attracted to… read analysis of The Living Ghost of Miss Saeki
Kafka’s father is a renowned sculptor, best known for a work called “The Labyrinth.” Kafka describes him as cruel and violent, though never fully explains what he means or why he feels this… read analysis of Koichi Tamura
Kafka’s older sister disappeared with his mother when Kafka was almost too young to remember. Kafka knows his sister was adopted, but can no longer remember what she looks like. Because of the prophecy from… read analysis of Kafka’s Sister
Setsuko Okamochi teaches elementary school. During the war, children from Tokyo were temporarily relocated into Setsuko’s class in the countryside, where it was safer. Nakata was one of those students. Setsuko remains shaken by the… read analysis of Setsuko Okamochi
Doctor Juichi Nakazawa
After the “Rice Bowl Hill Incident,” Dr. Nakazawa, a psychiatrist, was called by the Japanese military to examine Nakata and the other children who had fallen unconscious. The accident baffled Nakazawa—he didn’t understand what had… read analysis of Doctor Juichi Nakazawa
A mysterious and sinister character, Johnnie Walker is named after and dresses like the mascot for Johnnie Walker brand whiskey. He is extremely cruel and violent, especially towards cats. Johnnie Walker believes he must kill… read analysis of Johnnie Walker
When Kafka was young, his mother left the family, taking Kafka’s older sister with her. Kafka can no longer remember what she looks like, and is tormented by the thought that every woman he meets could be her.
Oshima’s older brother built the remote cabin where Oshima went to meditate as a teenager. He runs a surf shop.
Lieutenant Robert O’Connor
Lieutenant O’Connor is sent by the United States government to conduct interviews as part of an investigation into the mysterious accident that left Nakata unconscious. He asks straightforward questions to Setsuko Okamochi and Doctor Nakazawa.
An army doctor who examined the children in Setsuko’s class after the “Rice Bowl Hill Incident.” He died during World War II.
Otsuka is a black cat whom Nakata meets (and names) in Tokyo while he is searching for Goma. Otsuka notices that Nakata’s shadow seems to be fainter than most.
Kawamura is one of several cats Nakata encounters as he searches for Goma. However, unlike the other cats he meets, Nakata can barely understand Kawamura when he speaks. Kawamura is eventually killed by Johnnie Walker.
Mimi is a Siamese cat. She helps translate between Kawamura and Nakata during the search for Goma.
Goma is a missing tortoiseshell cat. Nakata is hired by Goma’s owners to find her.
Okawa is a wary black and white tabby. He warns Nakata that searching for Goma will put him in danger.
Colonel Sanders is a strange if friendly man who resembles and dresses like the mascot for Kentucky Fried Chicken. He aids Nakata and Hoshino by providing them a place to stay in Takamatsu and helping them to find the entrance stone.
Ms. Soga is a member of a women’s organization that is investigating museums and other public places “from a woman’s point of view.” Along with her unnamed colleague, Ms. Soga inspects the Komura Memorial Library.
A truck driver who takes Nakata from Tokyo to a rest stop on the highway to Takamatsu.
A truck driver who takes Nakata to Fujigawa.
Dr. Shigenori Tsukayama
A doctor who was ordered by the military to assess the children involved in the Rice Bowl Hill Incident.