The Gate: A Book Experience

Art varies itself from one form to another, depending on the medium we choose to consume it in. A book may feel to be heavily different than a movie based on the same. In a glimpse itself, a painting gives a big picture of the society it is based on, while music gives an inclination of how a society breathes. But amongst all these artforms, there is one thing common and that is the culture and basic philosophy of that society. It plays there like a heartbeat, like a rhythmic tone playing inconspicuously, but actually is most vital to the art. This was my first observation while reading The Gate by Natsume Soseki. I say this because I have watched many anime movies of Japan like “Only Yesterday”, “Howl’s Moving Castle”, “Grave of the Fireflies” and likewise. There is a silence and peace even in chaos in those movies. I usually attributed it to Japanese anime style and Japan’s immensely talented people like Hayao Miyazaki. But when I read The Gate, I found an uncanny resemblance of this book’s undertone with that of the small movements in Japanese anime.

The Gate is a typical book. It doesn’t have a very sharp storyline. It rather is a mere conversation and testament of understanding between a couple who have no children but only each other. I don’t have a lot to say about the book but can only comment on how wonderfully Japan has been portrayed in the book. The cherry blossoms, the green mountains where Buddhist monks meditate, even the chaotic and fast life of busy cities like Tokyo have been described with great subtlety. It would not be wrong to say that I am thankful to this book as it has kept the image of Japan I have in my mind intact like I have seen it in anime. It would have teared my heart to have read any other description of this hard working country and it’s people. I hope I get to visit Japan sometime in my life.


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