Photo/IllutrationThese postcards were written by Natsume Soseki. The one on the lower left was addressed to Yaichi Haga. The two others were sent to Teisuke Fujishiro. (Provided by the Fukui Children’s Museum)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

FUKUI--Natsume Soseki (1867-1916), one of the greats in modern Japanese literature, was lonely and sad and faced language and cash problems while studying in Britain, according to postcards he wrote to his friends.

Three postcards from the “Botchan” author were recently acquired by the Fukui Children’s Museum here, where they are on exhibit through June 24. The items had been missing for decades.

One postcard is addressed to Yaichi Haga (1867-1927), a scholar of Japanese literature who was born in Fukui, and two picture postcards were sent to Teisuke Fujishiro (1868-1927), a scholar of German literature.

“I am alone and feeling sad,” Soseki wrote in one of the postcards to Fujishiro, adding that he was having a hard time with the English language.

The postcard is dated Nov. 21, 1900, less than a month since the future author had arrived in London.

The other postcard to Fujishiro is dated Jan. 3, 1901. “I am very sober and upright, at a meeting point of cash problems, inconvenience and reserve,” Soseki wrote, referring to his latest life in a boardinghouse.

In the postcard to Haga, which is dated Aug. 1, 1901, Soseki expressed his approval of Haga’s proposal to set up a library in memory of a schoolmate, who had fallen ill while studying abroad and died after returning to Japan.

Museum officials said all three studied at the Tokyo Imperial University and left for Europe on the same ship in 1900. Haga and Fujishiro headed to Germany to study while Soseki went to London.

“Written by Soseki’s own hand, the postcards are so interesting because they testify to his honest sentiments (about his life abroad),” said Kunihiko Nakajima, a Waseda University professor emeritus of modern Japanese literature. “They are valuable testimonies to his interactions with his fellow students who were also studying abroad.”

The postcards had gone missing after their content was published in a complete collection of Soseki’s works issued in the Taisho Era (1912-1926).

Curators with the Fukui Children’s Museum discovered the originals last September at a secondhand bookshop in Fukui.