Japanese Kenzaburo Oe, Nobel laureate for poetic fiction, dies End-shutdown

TOKYO– Nobel laureate for literature Kenzaburo Oe, whose dark and poetic novels were built on memories of his childhood during the postwar occupation of Japan and of being the father of a disabled son, has died. hello what 88

Oe, who was also an outspoken anti-nuclear and peace activist, died on March 3, his publisher, Kodansha Ltd., said in a statement Monday. The publisher did not elaborate on his death and said that his family held his funeral.

Oe in 1994 became the second Japanese author to receive the Nobel Prize for literature.

The Swedish Academy cited the author for his works of fiction, in which “poetic force creates an imaginary world where life and myth condense to form a disconcerting image of the current human situation.”

His hottest works were influenced by the birth of Oe’s mentally handicapped son in 1963.

“A Personal Matter,” released a year later, is the story of a father reconciling through darkness and pain with the birth of a brain-damaged son. Several of Oe’s later works have a damaged or deformed child with symbolic significance, with stories and characters evolving and maturing as Oe’s son ages.

Hikari Oe had a cranial deformity at birth that caused her mental disability. He has limited ability to speak and read, but has become a musical composer whose works have been performed and recorded on albums.

The only other Japanese to have won a Nobel Prize in Literature was Yasunari Kawabata in 1968.

Despite the outpouring of national pride at Oe’s victory, his major literary themes here evoke deep uneasiness. A 10-year-old boy when World War II ended, Oe came of age during the American occupation.

“Humiliation washed over him and has colored much of his work. He himself describes his writing as a way of exorcising demons,” the Swedish Academy said.

Wartime childhood memories strongly shaped the story that marked Oe’s literary debut, “The Catch,” about a rural boy’s experiences with a downed American pilot over his village. Published in 1958, when Oe was still a college student, the story won Japan’s prestigious Akutagawa Prize for New Writers.

He also wrote nonfiction books about the devastation of Hiroshima and its rise after the US atomic bombing of August 6, 1945, as well as Okinawa and its postwar US occupation.

Oe has campaigned for peace and anti-nuclear causes, particularly since the 2011 Fukushima crisis, and has frequently appeared at rallies.

In 2015, Oe criticized Japan’s decision to restart nuclear reactors following the earthquake and tsunami meltdown at the Fukushima plant, calling it a risk that could lead to another disaster. He urged then-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to follow Germany’s lead and phase out atomic power.

“Japanese politicians are not trying to change the situation, but to maintain the status quo even after this massive nuclear accident, and even if we all know that another accident would simply end Japan’s future,” Oe said.

Oe, then 80, said his life’s final work is to fight for a world free of nuclear weapons: “We must not leave the problem of nuclear plants to the younger generations.”

Oe, the third of seven children, was born on January 31, 1935 in a village on the island of Shikoku, in southern Japan. At the University of Tokyo, he studied French literature and began writing plays.

The academy noted that Oe’s work has been heavily influenced by Western writers, including Dante, Poe, Rabelais, Balzac, Eliot and Sartre.

But even with those influences, Oe brought an Asian sensibility.

In 2021, thousands of pages of his manuscripts and other works were sent to be archived at the University of Tokyo.

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