This article was last updated on March 13, 2023
Japanese Nobel Prize winner Kenzaburo Oë dies
Kenzaburo Oë, the Japanese writer and Nobel Prize laureate, has passed away at the age of 88.
His publisher announced the news recently, revealing that he died on March 3. Oë was known for his novels which drew from his childhood memories of post-war Japan’s occupation, as well as his experiences raising a son with a mental handicap.
In 1994, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for his poetic writing style, which merged life and myth to create a poignant depiction of humanity’s struggles. Oë’s most powerful works were inspired by his son Hikari, who had speech and reading difficulties but became a composer. Oë’s books also explored social and political themes, including Japan’s post-war occupation by the United States and the use of nuclear weapons.
He remained socially active until his old age, opposing Japan’s plans to end its pacifist policy in 2015. Oë’s debut novella, “Keeping an Animal,” won him the Akutagawa Prize in 1958, and his writing style was influenced by Western writers such as Dante, Poe, Rabelais, Balzac, Eliot, and Sartre.