Crow as a Guidance in Kafka on The Shore by Haruki Murakami

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In the novel, Kafka on the Shore, by Haruki Murakami, the protagonist Kafka Tamura, a fifteen-year-old Japanese, runs away from home intending to escape his father’s curse, which is that he will sleep with his sister and mather, then kill his father. During the escape, Kafka ran into multiple chaotic situations, and he managed to solve all of them at the end. The boy named Crow appears throughout the novel and plays a big role in Kafka’s decisions. He always comes out when Kafka does not know what to do and gives him advice. In Kafka on the Shore, the boy named Crow played a role of guidance and logic before, during, and after Kafka’s journey.

When Kafka was about to run away, the boy named Crow was trying to tell him that running away will not help him to gain the initiative of his life, and running away will not change his fate. He should face the problem and face his fear, not avoid them. Crow was playing the role of guiding Kafka to think logically and not to be overwhelmed by his emotion during his journey. It was not wise to run away, and Crow used a sandstorm to symbolize that fate is inevitable. In the text, fate is described as “a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions”, and Crow said to Kafka that “you change direction but the sandstorms chase you”. The message which Crow is trying to convey to Kafka is that fate is inevitable, and no matter what Kafka does and how hard he tries to escape from it, he can not run away from it. However, Kafka was not mature at that time and he was dealing with a lot of emotions, therefore, he can’t fully understand what Crow said to him. Kafka feels the sense of escaping the community, from the situation he is trapped in, and he feels the need for escaping in order to be “the world strongest fifteen-year-old”. But he failed to realize that fate will always chase him to wherever he goes, and he has not reached the realization that he should deal with the problems he is facing at present and solve the problems with his father and his isolation at school. He intended to show his strength by running away, however it wasn’t the right way which can helps him to be free. Moreover, Crow warned Kafka that the storm “will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades”, as it foresees the danger associated with running away. Because Kafka did not realize that he can be in so many troubles and problems, Crow was trying to help Kafka and guide him by stopping Kafka and telling him the hidden danger in the world by referring to the metaphors of the sandstorm. Compare to Kafka, Crow has a clearer logic and is more mature. He knows Kafka should face problems directly and that running away would not solve the problem.

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During Kafka’s journey, he runs into a lot of chaotic situations, and Crow helps Kafka to solve them. For example, when Kafka wakes up in a bush with no memory of what had happened and feels overwhelmed by fear and confused when he sees the blood on his T-shirt, he could not think properly. In the book, he says “I am scared, and my teeth won’t stop chattering”. The boy named crow appeared and remind Kafka that he is “the toughest fifteen-year-old on the planet”, and Kafka should “take some deep breaths and start using your brain”. Crow encouraged Kafka to be the world’s toughest fifteen years old when he found himself in a difficult situation. This helped Kafka to stay positive and try to find his way out. When Kafka read about the death of his father, he starts to realize that he is not avoiding fate. The boy named Crow again told Kafka that “distance won’t solve anything”. This relates to Crow trying to tell that fate is inevitable at the beginning, and this further shows that Crow is more logical and can foresee things better than Kafka can. Crow is always trying to guide Kafka to the right track. This concept also draws out one of the other meanings of the name “Kafka”, as it means “Crow” in Czech. The most prominent reference to the Crow in Japanese culture is in the Legend of Yatagarasu, where the Crow is deemed as a guidance figure sent from Heaven, which encompasses the role of the Boy Named Crow, who guides Kafka through his journey. Crows are an embodiment of the wisdom that Kafka possesses but to which he does not always have full access. Kafka begins his sexual relationship with Miss Saeki, dreams of raping Sakura, and enters into the deepest part of the forest, a crow caws ominously in the distance as if trying to warn him.

At the end of the novel, Crow guides Kafka into a new life. Crow in Japanese culture symbolizes guidance. The most famous crow-god is Yatagarasu. This crow was sent from heaven to guide Emperor Jimmu on his initial journey from the region which would become Kumano to what would become Yamato. At the end of Kafka’s journey, he has experienced and grew a lot. He was overwhelmed by all of those things. He was not sure if he had grown and become more mature or not. Crow also suggested that Kafka should get some sleep, and when he woke up, he will be “part of the brand-new world”. The boy named Crow came out and said: “you did the right thing” to help Kafka to accept what he learned from this journey and remember them. Crow has confirmed Kafka’s growth and guides him into his more mature self.

In the novel, Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami used the boy names Crow as a more logical and mature Kafka. He served as guidance and support throughout Kafka’s journey. Crow helped Kafka on his way to grow, and without Crow’s support, Kafka could not fulfill his fate.

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Crow as a Guidance in Kafka on The Shore by Haruki Murakami. (2022, September 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 20, 2024, from
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Crow as a Guidance in Kafka on The Shore by Haruki Murakami [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 15 [cited 2024 Apr 20]. Available from:

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