Kenzaburo Oe Biography
Kenzaburo Oe was born in 1935 in the remote mountain village of Ose on Shikoku, the smallest of Japan's four main islands. Oe is considered one of the most dynamic and revolutionary writers to have emerged in Japan since World War II, and is acknowledged as the first truly modern Japanese writer. Oe is known for his powerful accounts of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and his struggle to come to terms with a mentally handicapped son. His dark musings on moral failure came to symbolize an alienated generation in postwar Japan. Oe's influences and literary heroes are less Japanese than American and European, ranging from Henry Miller to Jean-Paul Sartre, from Blake to Camus.
In 1960, Oe traveled to China where he met Mao Zedong, and the following year he traveled Paris where he met one of his influences, Jean-Paul Sartre.
His prolific body of work has won almost every major international honor, including the 1989 Prix Europalia and the 1994 Nobel Prize for Literature. His many translated works include A Personal Matter (1964), Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness (1969), The Silent Cry (1967), Hiroshima Notes (1965), and Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids (1958).
"Kenzaburo Oe is a writer who with poetic force creates an imagined world where life and myth condense to form a disconcerting picture of the human predicament today." from the Swedish Academy's Nobel Citation.
This biography was last updated on 02/09/2010.
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