a J-lit classic that "everybody has read," considered foundational in some ways to modern Japanese identity, yet understandably has lost a little bit of its gleam in our more stimulus-focused, self-centered world. a character that embodied everything about pre-war values / egoism vs. group issue to our modern eyes is hopelessly (nostalgically?) group-oriented. an important historical document, and certainly not a bad book, but this 2013 reviewer can't quite bring himself to hit that fifth star. 4/5 Soseki classic.