Oe Kenzaburo was born in 1935 near the forests near Shikoku. The village where he grew up was very traditional in its cultural identity. The women of his family assumed the role of storytellers, thus passing down the story of the region's history. These stories often had more in common with legend than with what we would call traditional history.
In 1954 he enrolled in Tokyo University where he studied French literature. He studied under Professor Kazuo Watanabe, a specialist in French literature. Professor Watanabe was very interested in imagery in literature. This interest influenced the writer to re-evaluate the stories and myths that he had heard ftom the women in his village while growing up as a boy.
Oe Kenzaburo began writing in 1957, while still a French literature student. He published his first short story in 1957 entitled "The Catch". He published his first novel in 1958 (Bud-Nipping, Lamb Shooting). In 1964 he wrote "A Personal Matter" a work of nonfiction about his son who was born with a cranial deformity resulting in his becoming a mentally-handicapped person. The following year he wrote another piece of non-fiction entitle "Hiroshima Notes". This piece described the realities and thoughts of the atomic bomb victims.
Oe Kenzaburo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for literature in 1994.Return to Authors List