13

In episode 6 of the third season (or chapter 147) of The World God Only Knows, Shiori starts writing her story but scraps the introduction she wrote because it was imitating some other novel.

Does anyone know what novel she was referring to?

Here's a screenshot of what she wrote:
Shiori writing "吾輩は女装男である。名前は桂木"

This roughly translates to:

I'm a cross-dressing man

My name is Katsuragi

2
  • I think it is pretty natural for start with monologue in some novel and such kind of novels are a lot. For Shiori point of view , that is which she seen to Keima too. Aug 14 '13 at 16:58
  • The manga adds one more line which is not that common: "I haven't the slightest idea where I was born", I guess they left it out of the anime for copyright reasons.
    – noko
    Aug 14 '13 at 17:04
14

I believe this is a reference to the novel "I am a Cat" (吾輩は猫である, Wagahai wa neko dearu) by author Natsume Souseki. It's opening sentences are the following:

吾輩は猫である。名前はまだ無い。

which, translated into English, is:

I am a cat. I don't yet have a name.

The reference is more apparent if we compare the two in Japanese. The grammatical structure of the sentences is very similar:

TWGOK:

吾輩は 女装男 である。名前は 桂木

I am a cat:

吾輩はである。名前は まだ無い。

All the words other than the nouns are the same. The use of 吾輩 (wagahai) for "I", である (dearu) as a sentence-ending phrase would both be strange in modern writing. In addition, the general structure of the two sentences are similar enough that this is almost certainly not a coincidence.

The novel is very popular in Japan, being Natsume's first major literary work and one of his top three most read (the other two are Kokoro and Botchan), and Natsume himself being in all likelihood the most important writer in Japanese history. It would not be strange at all for it to be referenced here.

1
  • And looking at the third sentence settles it. Thanks for the help!
    – noko
    Aug 15 '13 at 13:36

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