Kenzaburo Oe quotes
Japanese - Writer
Born: 31 Jan 1935
The way Japan had tried to build up a modern state modelled on the West was cataclysmic.
In the recent years there have been criticisms levelled against Japan suggesting that she should offer more military forces to the United Nations forces and thereby play a more active role in the keeping and restoration of peace in various parts of the world.
In Japan itself there have all along been attempts by some to obliterate the article about renunciation of war from the Constitution and for this purpose they have taken every opportunity to make use of pressures from abroad.
I am one of the writers who wish to create serious works of literature which dissociate themselves from those novels which are mere reflections of the vast consumer cultures of Tokyo and the subcultures of the world at large.
From another point of view, a new situation now seems to be arising in which Japan's prosperity is going to be incorporated into the expanding potential power of both production and consumption in Asia at large.
As I grew up, I was continually to suffer hardships in different realms of life - in my family, in my relationship to Japanese society and in my way of living at large in the latter half of the twentieth century.
Paradoxically, the people and state of Japan living on such moral props were not innocent but had been stained by their own past history of invading other Asian countries.
Even though we now have the half-century-old new Constitution, there is a popular sentiment of support for the old one that lives on in reality in some quarters.
After the end of the Second World War it was a categorical imperative for us to declare that we renounced war forever in a central article of the new Constitution.
The Japanese chose the principle of eternal peace as the basis of morality for our rebirth after the War.
The ambiguous orientation of Japan drove the country into the position of an invader in Asia.
After I got married, the first child born to us was mentally handicapped.
I have survived by representing these sufferings of mine in the form of the novel.
My observation is that after one hundred and twenty years of modernisation since the opening of the country, present-day Japan is split between two opposite poles of ambiguity.
However, please allow me to say that the fundamental style of my writing has been to start from my personal matters and then to link it up with society, the state and the world.
By reading Huckleberry Finn I felt I was able to justify my act of going into the mountain forest at night and sleeping among the trees with a sense of security which I could never find indoors.