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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Famous Japanese writer Kenzaburo Oe has died

Oe, who in 1994 became the second Japanese author to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, was also an active anti-nuclear activist and peace activist. He died on March 3, his publisher said in a statement released Monday. The publisher did not provide details of his death and said the funeral was arranged by the writer’s family.
The third of seven children, Kenzaburo Oe was born on January 31, 1935 in a village on the southern island of Shikoku in Japan. At the University of Tokyo, he studied French literature and started writing plays. Critics noted that Oe’s work was heavily influenced by Western writers, including Dante, Poe, Rabelais, Balzac, Eliot, and Sartre.

The Swedish Academy awarded the author the Nobel Prize for his works of fiction, in which “poetic power creates an imaginary world where life and myth condense to form a disconcerting picture of humanity’s plight Today”.

His most moving works were influenced by the appearance of his son in 1963 – Hikari. At birth, he had a deformed skull, which led to mental retardation. Released a year after Hikari’s birth, “Private File” is the story of a father coming to terms with the birth of a brain-damaged son with darkness and pain. Some of his later works feature a damaged or deformed child with symbolic meaning, and the stories and characters developed and matured as the writer’s son matured. Hikari had a limited ability to speak and read, but became a composer whose works were performed and recorded on albums.

Oe also wrote non-fiction books about the destruction and rise of Hiroshima after the US atomic bombing of August 6, 1945, and about Okinawa and its post-war occupation by US forces. Oe has advocated for peace and anti-nuclear action, particularly since the Fukushima crisis in 2011, and has often appeared at rallies. In 2015, he criticized Japan’s decision to restart nuclear reactors after the earthquake and tsunami-induced collapse at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, calling it a risk that could lead to another disaster. He urged then-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to follow Germany’s lead and move away from nuclear power.

Oe, who was 80 at the time, said the last thing in his life was to fight for a nuclear-free world: “We must not leave the problem of nuclear power plants to the younger generation. In 2021, thousands of pages of his manuscripts and other works were sent to the archives of the University of Tokyo.

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