NATSUME SOSEKI, novelist and scholar of English literature, was born in Tokyo in 1867. After graduating from Tokyo University, he taught English language and literature at high school. In 1900, he was sent by the Education Ministry to study in London. On returning to Japan in 1903, he began to teach English literature at Tokyo Imperial University. Also around this time, he was invited by the poet and novelist Takahama Kyoshi to contribute stories to the literary magazine Hototogisu. When Wagahai wa Neko de aru (I am a Cat) and Botchan were serialized in the magazine, they established his reputation as an author.
Translator J. COHN studied Japanese at Cornell and Harvard Universities, as well as in Japan, and now teaches Japanese literature at the University of Hawaii. The author of Studies in the Comic Spirit in Modern Japanese Fiction, Professor Cohn was the recipient of the prestigious Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission Prize for the Translation of Japanese Literature from the Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture, Columbia University in recognition of his translation of Botchan.