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How Do You Live? (Japanese: 君たちはどう生きるか Hepburn: Kimi-tachi wa Do Ikiru ka) is a 1937 novel by Yoshino Genzaburo. It follows a 15 year old boy named Junichi Honda, nicknamed Kopel, and his uncle as the youth deals with spiritual growth, poverty, and the overall experience as human beings. The book is in development by Studio Ghibli into a film of the same name, slated for a 2020-2021 release.

Background

Yūzō Yamamoto originally wrote the novel as one of the final publications in the serial Nihon Shosan Bunko Bunko. However, he was unable to complete it due to a strong illness. Genzaburo Yoshino took over and completed How Do You Live? in a book form and published the book in 1937. After conclusion of World War II, the book underwent several changes, such as vocabulary, and was republished in 1945 by Mira-sha Publishers.

How Do You Live? is a popular work of literature in classical arts education and is often considered as a part of children literature.

Plot

Junichi Honda is a 2nd year (15 years old) junior high school student who is known by his nickname Kopel, which was named after the astronomer Nicholas Copernicus. He has excellent academic and athletic achievements, and possesses a fair degree of popularity. His father is a bank executive until his death, and his mother is a maid. After his father's death, Kopel moves to his uncle's house. There are many children of businessmen, university professors and doctors in classmates, and topics of classes extend to ski areas, cinemas, Ginza and summer resorts. Koperu experiences and observes various events in school life with friends. Following each chapter, the uncle who told the story of the day talked about themes such as "view of things", "structure of society", "relation", etc. in the style of a note written to Koel.

In the end, Koperu writes a decision on his future way of living as a reply to his uncle, and this novel is over by a narrator asks "to how to live" to the reader.

Characters

  • Koperu - A 15 year old boy who lives with his uncle. His father died and his mother is a maid.

Publication

This book is one of the "Nihon Shosan Bunko" series that intended to convey knowledge and ideas of free and progressive culture to school children in Japan. However, much of the works were discouraged by the rise of Japanese militarism in 1930s.

Political Scientist Masao Maruyama praised the composition that a child, Koperu, observes the reality and draws the process of drawing naturally the process of discovering various things, and complements the discovery of the main character in the form of a letter from my uncle are doing. Moreover, the question "How will you live" which is also the title of this book is not only the ethical problem of "How to live", but also what kind of social scientific awareness will live It is evaluating that the problem of being presented is presented.

Author Yoshino Genosaburo, How Do You Live? was not originally conceived as a literary work, but was intended as a book on ethics. However, according to Takada Riko, this book is also a liberal art theory written for students of former school junior high school during at the height of culturalism. Takada focused on the privileged family environment and the high "social class" of the heroes. Those were drawn by the author, who was inspired by the people during his time at Takashi Associated Junior High School (now a highs school attached to the University of Tsukuba) He pointed out that this book is meant to call out to the person, a human being capable of a self-living way (that is, educated) was then a limited number of privileged boys at the time.

Format

The story alternates viewpoint and storytelling between Kopel and his uncle. Kopel narrates his life in school as he goes through the life as a school child. His uncle narrates his experiences to help his nephew deal with bullying and struggles.

Themes

Kopel deals with the struggles of growing up as a human being. Much of the aspect of growing up involves dealing with people who are in opposition to the person, bullying, and philosophy.

Adaptation

In 2017, the book was serialized in manga form by Shoichi Haga and saw publication by Magazine House under the title of "How do you live? cartoon stories".

Film

Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli are in process of development of a film adaptation titled How Do You Live?. It started in production in 2016 and is expected to be released in 2020.

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