Super-Frog Saves Tokyo

by: Haruki Murakami

Frog

Characters Frog

Frog is a blend of contradictions. He is a lighthearted pacifist who loves art and nature, yet when Worm’s growing instability threatens the city of Tokyo, Frog shoulders his mission bravely and resolutely. He speaks courteously and respectfully to Katagiri yet proves capable of stirring fear and terror in his enemies such as Big Bear Trading and Worm. Frog is also surprisingly bookish, and his speech is littered with highbrow references to Western thinkers, including the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and the writers Joseph Conrad, Leo Tolstoy, and Fyodor Dostoevsky.

Perhaps the greatest contradiction in Frog’s character concerns the nature of his existence. Frog claims to be “a real frog” that looks and sounds like an ordinary frog (that is, when he isn’t speaking Japanese with Katagiri). He’s also real in the sense that he can have an effect on the world around him, as he proves with Big Bear. However, real frogs—that is, the animals we commonly see in lakes and in pet stores—cannot walk on their hind legs, speak, or change their bodily form at will. Frog is clearly a supernatural, fantastic creature, and in that sense, he cannot be real. The question of Frog’s reality is never truly resolved in “Super-Frog Saves Tokyo,” and throughout the story, Frog points out several philosophical paradoxes that may shed light on his existence, such as Conrad’s assertion that people can be terrified most by their own imaginations.