Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Kafū Nagai, pen name for Nagai Sōkichi

Japanese Writer, Author, Playwright and Diarist

"In the face of approaching death, from which there is no escape, is there any consolation in this incomprehensible life other than to sing about this momentary pleasure?"

"Empathy is not merely the basic principle of artistic creation. It is also the only path by which one can reach the truth about life and society."

"I believe that man was created to enjoy himself, indeed, that he can claim it as his legitimate right. In fact, as long as he lives, man cannot help enjoying himself, even if he tries not… Today the average person, when he hears the word pleasure, immediately thinks of something immoral. But nothing could be more wrong."

"It has been four years since I commenced this life of solitude, living in the maid's room and cooking for myself. At first there was a certain novelty in the arrangement. Then, toward the end of last year, the ways of the military government began to grow more arbitrary, and there came a change in the world; and somehow the drab and inconvenient life of the bachelor has come to seem so appropriate to the moods of the days that I would not now find it easy to change. Indeed, my feelings and thoughts are quite beyond description when, on an evening of a sudden autumn rain, I drag my sandals along the cliff, taking care that the frayed thong does not break, and buy onions and radishes in Tanimachi. I am quite drunk with the melancholy poetry of it all. However malicious and arbitrary may be the ways of the government, it cannot keep one's fancies from running free. There will be freedom while there is life."