the japanese writer Kenzaburo Oeawarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1994, has died early Monday at the age of 88 of natural causes. “He died of old age”Kodansha publishing house reported in a statement, adding that a family funeral has already taken place.
He was born in 1935 in the prefecture of Ehime in Japan prior to World War II, where he studied French Literature at the University of Tokyo and received a prominent role in the postwar democratic generationopposed to militarism and firm advocate of pacifism.
His literary career elevated him toThe podium of the most important contemporary Japanese novelists, which he shares with authors such as Yukio Mishima or the eternal Nobel candidate, Haruki Murakami. A career that he began in 1958, just four years after he entered the university, with the novel Uproot the seeds, shoot the children. The novel, which became one of his most recognized titles, is set in times of war, and in it a group of young people takes control of an abandoned town.
Years later, in 1994 he would become the second Japanese -and last for the moment- to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, “for its poetic force”, after Yasunari Kawabata won this award in 1968.
A work steeped in social issues
The writer is considered in his country “a left-wing radical” whose literature his political contemporaries branded as “stinking of butter”, an expression with which they accused him of having impregnated it with impure Western influences.
In the 1960s, the assassination of a Japanese Socialist Party leader inspired him to write Seventeen and A young politician dies. The last one was highly criticized by the Japanese extreme right for how it described the attacker, a 17-year-old conservative militant, which is why it was never republished or translated. These works also earned him receiving numerous death threats.
However, the turning point of his work came in 1963 with the birth of his disabled son, who became the axis of his work and gave rise to some of his most important titles, a personal matter (1964), Tell us how to survive our madness (1966), the silent scream (1967) or Wake up, oh young people of the new era! (1983).
Oe maintained her activist side throughout the years, even in her advanced years. Another of his key positions was his position against nuclear powerwhich after the Fukushima accident in 2011 led him to ask the prime minister to stop all activity in this sector in the country.