Botchan lives in the ultra-modern Tokyo before moving to the traditional Matsuyama, and is often surprised by their unusual customs.
Will Botchan's common sense and moral grounding become corrupted, or will he battle the increasing break from tradition and morals for purely selfish gain? This is the question posed throughout the novel.
At the time of the writing of Botchan, Japan was in the midst of a rapidly accelerating westernization, where traditional Japanese values and way of life were disappearing, especially in big cities such as Tokyo. Soseki himself had spent 3 years in London to study English literature.
Botchan is considered to be one of the most popular novels in Japan, read by most Japanese during their childhood.