Super-Frog Saves Tokyo

by: Haruki Murakami

Katagiri

Characters Katagiri

On the surface, there doesn’t seem to be much to Katagiri. Forty and socially awkward, with flat feet and a receding hairline, Katagiri has little family and fewer friends. Underneath his unremarkable exterior, however, Katagiri harbors some truly remarkable qualities. Frog respects Katagiri for his wisdom and courage as well as for the quiet, steady way he faces challenges without ever seeking any reward. Katagiri’s isolation might be seen as a manifestation of his modesty, evidence of a desire to avoid imposing himself on the world or asking too much of it. Companionship is one of the many rewards that Katagiri deserves but never receives.

In Frog and his mission, Katagiri finds recognition and validation for an entire life of silent struggles. Although Katagiri appears to be right back where he started at the end of the story—with no friends, reward, or recognition for having helped save Tokyo—the deep, tranquil sleep that Katagiri falls into is one of satisfaction and relief. Not only did he save 150,000 lives, but for once, after a life of slipping through the shadows and hovering in the background, Katagiri knows he has truly been perceived and witnessed by another person—even if that person happened to be a giant, talking—and possibly imaginary—frog.