Fifteen-year-old Kafka Tamura, who is preparing to run away from home, sits in his father’s study with the boy called Crow. Kafka is nervous; Crow advises him to be tough and strong, and make sure he has taken enough money to survive, at least for a while.
Kafka’s decision to run away and the practical planning he has put towards this goal demonstrate that he values the ability to survive on his own. The mysterious character Crow, however, points out Kafka’s insecurities and the extent to which he doubts his own abilities.
Crow warns Kafka that he will have to weather a storm—a storm that he will not be able to outrun, because it is within Kafka himself. Kafka predicts that he will run away from home, journey to a distant town, and live in the corner of a small library. Afterwards, he will be a different person.
Kafka believes that he is destined to run away from home, and that he can see everything that will happen in his own future, giving him a grim sense of purpose and destiny. At the same time, he feels as if he is trapped in his body, with carries within it the turmoil and evil he believes he inherited from his parents. Kafka believes that as hard as he tries, he will not be able to alter his own future or escape the turbulent history he carries in his body.