Kafka on the Shore

by

Haruki Murakami

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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 War II, when he was a young boy, Nakata was struck by a mysterious illness that left him in a coma for many weeks. When he awoke, Nakata had lost all of his memories as well as the ability to read. As an adult, Nakata leads a solitary life in Tokyo. Because of the childhood incident, Nakata has lost the ability to understand abstract concepts, and sometimes speaks in the third person, which many people he meets find disconcerting. He supplements his government subsidy with money that he earns using a special power: Nakata can speak to cats, and uses this talent to find missing pets for a small fee. Nakata can’t remember what happened to him during the coma, but he has a vague feeling that his mind briefly travelled to another world, a belief that intensifies over the course of the novel. Nakata feels guided by fate to find the mysterious entrance stone—but even he doesn’t know what it is.

Satoru Nakata Quotes in Kafka on the Shore

The Kafka on the Shore quotes below are all either spoken by Satoru Nakata or refer to Satoru Nakata. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Mind vs. The Body Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of Kafka on the Shore published in 2006.
Chapter 8 Quotes

It might sound strange to put it this way, but it seemed like the real Nakata had gone off somewhere, leaving behind for a time the fleshy container, which in his absence kept all his bodily functions going at the minimum level needed to preserve itself. The term “spirit projection” sprang to mind.

Page Number: 67
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 20 Quotes

Experience had taught him it was better not to let on that he didn’t know how to read. Because if he did, people stared at him like he was some kind of monster.

Related Characters: Satoru Nakata
Page Number: 183
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 32 Quotes

“I used to be normal, just like everybody else. But something happened and I ended up like a container with nothing inside.”

“Yeah, but if you look at it like that we’re all pretty much empty, don’t you think?”

Related Characters: Satoru Nakata (speaker), Hoshino
Page Number: 306
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 48 Quotes

“I think that whenever something happens in the future I’ll always wonder—What would Mr. Nakata say about this? What would Mr. Nakata do? I’ll always have someone I can turn to. And that’s kind of a big deal, if you think about it. It’s like part of you will always live inside me.

Related Characters: Hoshino (speaker), Satoru Nakata
Page Number: 455
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Kafka on the Shore LitChart as a printable PDF.
Kafka on the Shore PDF

Satoru Nakata Character Timeline in Kafka on the Shore

The timeline below shows where the character Satoru Nakata appears in Kafka on the Shore. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
The Mind vs. The Body Theme Icon
The Virtues of Self-Sufficiency Theme Icon
...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.... (full context)
Chapter 6
The Mind vs. The Body Theme Icon
The Virtues of Self-Sufficiency Theme Icon
...him, but they soon fall into an easy conversation. The old man introduces himself as Nakata and asks if he can call the cat by the name Otsuka, and the cat... (full context)
The Virtues of Self-Sufficiency Theme Icon
Nakata tells Otsuka that he makes some extra money by searching for lost house cats. Right... (full context)
Chapter 8
The Mind vs. The Body Theme Icon
...children fell unconscious and lost their memories of the incident because of group hypnosis. But Nakata remained unconscious, and it was unclear why. Though his body continued to function normally, Tsukayama... (full context)
The Mind vs. The Body Theme Icon
Despite the best efforts of the doctors, nothing could be done to wake Nakata from his coma until one day, after weeks, he woke up on his own. Physically,... (full context)
Chapter 10
Fate and Prophecy Theme Icon
The Virtues of Self-Sufficiency Theme Icon
Nakata is attempting to get information about Goma from a striped brown cat he calls Kawamura,... (full context)
The Mind vs. The Body Theme Icon
Undaunted, Nakata settles into a corner of the grassy lot to wait for Goma to reappear. As... (full context)
Chapter 12
The Mind vs. The Body Theme Icon
One of the children, Nakata, approached Setsuko with something in his hands: one of the bloody towels Setsuko had used... (full context)
The Mind vs. The Body Theme Icon
Fate and Prophecy Theme Icon
Setsuko writes that she never found out what happened to Nakata after the incident. Previously, Nakata had been a bright, if quiet, child. Setsuko had hoped... (full context)
Chapter 14
Fate and Prophecy Theme Icon
The Virtues of Self-Sufficiency Theme Icon
Nakata stakes out the grassy lot for several days, waiting for some sign of Goma. One... (full context)
The Virtues of Self-Sufficiency Theme Icon
Johnnie Walker reveals that he has Goma, and that he will give Nakata an opportunity to get her back. But first, he says, they will play a game.... (full context)
Chapter 16
The Virtues of Self-Sufficiency Theme Icon
In Johnnie Walker’s house, the big dog leads Nakata to a clean, cold kitchen. Nakata opens a large fridge to find that it’s full... (full context)
The Mind vs. The Body Theme Icon
Fate and Prophecy Theme Icon
...batch of cats he has captured and plans to kill. He will return her to Nakata if he performs a task in exchange: Nakata must kill Johnnie Walker. Johnnie Walker is... (full context)
The Mind vs. The Body Theme Icon
Johnnie Walker dispatches a second cat in the same manner, still whistling cheerfully. Nakata feels a horrible confusion rising up within him, transforming his being and blurring his vision.... (full context)
The Mind vs. The Body Theme Icon
Nakata warns Johnnie Walker to stop, saying he no longer feels like himself. Feeling as if... (full context)
Chapter 18
The Mind vs. The Body Theme Icon
Nakata awakens at night in a clump of weeds in the vacant lot where he had... (full context)
The Mind vs. The Body Theme Icon
Fate and Prophecy Theme Icon
Feeling that he must confess, Nakata approaches a policeman and tries to tell him what happened. The police officer assumes Nakata... (full context)
Chapter 20
The Virtues of Self-Sufficiency Theme Icon
Hitchhiking in an eighteen-wheeler truck, Nakata arrives at a rest area in Fujigawa, west of Tokyo. It’s been a long day:... (full context)
The Mind vs. The Body Theme Icon
Fate and Prophecy Theme Icon
The Virtues of Self-Sufficiency Theme Icon
At the rest stop, Nakata can’t find anyone who will take him further west. He sees a group of tattooed... (full context)
Fate and Prophecy Theme Icon
The Virtues of Self-Sufficiency Theme Icon
Shortly afterwards, Nakata finds a truck driver who will take him to Kobe. He is a twenty-something man... (full context)
Chapter 22
The Virtues of Self-Sufficiency Theme Icon
Nakata and the truck driver, Hoshino, stop for breakfast in Kobe. They fall into easy conversation,... (full context)
Chapter 24
The Virtues of Self-Sufficiency Theme Icon
Hoshino and Nakata arrive in Tokushima. Falling asleep that night in their hotel room, Hoshino quietly wonders what... (full context)
The Virtues of Self-Sufficiency Theme Icon
Nakata sleeps soundly for more than twenty-four hours in the hotel room, and, upon awakening, announces... (full context)
Chapter 26
The Mind vs. The Body Theme Icon
Fate and Prophecy Theme Icon
Nakata and Hoshino check into a hotel in Takamatsu. Hoshino asks Nakata if he can remember... (full context)
Fate and Prophecy Theme Icon
Nakata and Hoshino spend the next couple of days in the library, trying to find information... (full context)
Chapter 30
Fate and Prophecy Theme Icon
Hoshino picks up the entrance stone, which is round and white like Nakata described. It seems to be heavier than it should be. With the Colonel’s help, he... (full context)
Chapter 32
The Mind vs. The Body Theme Icon
Fate and Prophecy Theme Icon
Over breakfast, Hoshino and Nakata consult about the entrance stone. Nakata is still unsure what must actually be done with... (full context)
Fate and Prophecy Theme Icon
Outside, a thunderstorm gathers. Nakata says that the stone is the entrance to a world he briefly visited during his... (full context)
Chapter 34
The Virtues of Self-Sufficiency Theme Icon
In the hotel room, Nakata settles in to a long nap. Hoshino realizes that he has abandoned his job, but... (full context)
The Virtues of Self-Sufficiency Theme Icon
Music and Introspection Theme Icon
...even now. Decisively, he realizes he doesn’t care about his job—all that matters is helping Nakata. (full context)
Chapter 36
Fate and Prophecy Theme Icon
...Colonel has rented in the city. Colonel Sanders says the police are after Hoshino and Nakata. Hoshino wakes Nakata up and they make their way to the apartment. There, they discuss... (full context)
Fate and Prophecy Theme Icon
The Virtues of Self-Sufficiency Theme Icon
Hoshino and Nakata go for a walk on the beach. They talk about the creatures living on the... (full context)
Chapter 38
The Virtues of Self-Sufficiency Theme Icon
Music and Introspection Theme Icon
At Nakata’s request, Hoshino rents a car. While Nakata consults with the entrance stone about what to... (full context)
Fate and Prophecy Theme Icon
The next morning, they set out in the rental car. Nakata is still unsure of their destination, so they drive methodically around the city, gazing out... (full context)
Chapter 40
Music and Introspection Theme Icon
Since it’s Monday, the Komura Memorial Library is closed, but Hoshino and Nakata return the next morning. Oshima greets them at the door and then they settle down... (full context)
The Virtues of Self-Sufficiency Theme Icon
In the afternoon, Nakata and Hoshino join Miss Saeki’s tour of the library. After the brief tour, they settle... (full context)
Chapter 42
The Virtues of Self-Sufficiency Theme Icon
Nakata takes a seat in Miss Saeki’s office. They both feel as if they have been... (full context)
The Virtues of Self-Sufficiency Theme Icon
...try to hold onto her boyfriend. She wonders if that’s why everything is warped now. Nakata responds that he’s not sure, but he does know that Miss Saeki can’t stay. Miss... (full context)
Chapter 44
The Virtues of Self-Sufficiency Theme Icon
Hoshino and Nakata burn Miss Saeki’s files in a dry river bed. Nakata says that he has to... (full context)
The Virtues of Self-Sufficiency Theme Icon
Hoshino carries Nakata up to the apartment, thinking Nakata is settling in for a long nap. Instead, Nakata... (full context)
Chapter 46
The Virtues of Self-Sufficiency Theme Icon
...what to do with the stone. He is reluctant to call the authorities to remove Nakata’s body until he can make a plan. (full context)
Chapter 48
Fate and Prophecy Theme Icon
The Virtues of Self-Sufficiency Theme Icon
...know it when he sees it. Late that night, he hears a rustling coming from Nakata’s body. A long, pale, thin object is emanating from Nakata’s mouth. It’s as thick around... (full context)
The Mind vs. The Body Theme Icon
The Virtues of Self-Sufficiency Theme Icon
...and bags them up. Hoshino realizes that it’s time to go home. In a way, Nakata will live on through him, because he knows that from now on, he will try... (full context)