Tuesday, October 17, 2017 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Kenzaburo Oe


Japanese author and a major figure in contemporary Japanese literature.
Kenzaburo Oe
"The voice of a crying and dark soul" is beautiful, and his act of expressing it in music cures him of his dark sorrow in an act of recovery. Furthermore, his music has been accepted as one that cures and restores his contemporary listeners as well. Herein I find the grounds for believing in the exquisite healing power of art.
This belief of mine has not been fully proved. 'Weak person' though I am, with the aid of this unverifiable belief, I would like to "suffer dully all the wrongs" accumulated throughout the twentieth century as a result of the monstrous development of technology and transport. As one with a peripheral, marginal and off-centre existence in the world I would like to seek how — with what I hope is a modest decent and humanist contribution — I can be of some use in a cure and reconciliation of mankind.
Oe quotes
I don’t have faith nor do I think I will have it in the future, but I’m not an atheist. My faith is that of a secular person. You might call it “morality.” Throughout my life I have acquired some wisdom but always through rationality, thought, and experience. I am a rational person and I work only through my own experience. My lifestyle is that of a secular person, and I have learned about human beings that way
Oe
There could be joy in destruction, too, couldn’t there? Isn’t Jesus Christ’s Second Coming supposed to occur only after a lot of unmitigated destruction? But again, human history is fraught with tragedies in which man spared no effort to destroy with millenarian joy, only to learn that no messiah appeared afterwards.




Oe Kenzaburo quotes
Literature must be written from the periphery toward the center, and we can criticize the center. Our credo, our theme, or our imagination is that of the peripheral human being. The man who is in the center does not have anything to write. From the periphery, we can write the story of the human being and this story can express the humanity of the center, so when I say the word periphery, this is a most important creed of mine.
Oe Kenzaburo
I think, we can only write very personal matters through our experience. When I named my first novel about my son A Personal Matter, I believe I knew the most important thing: there is not any personal matter; we must find the link between ourselves, our "personal matter," and society.
Kenzaburo Oe quotes
Kawabata Yasunari, the first Japanese writer who stood on this platform as a winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, delivered a lecture entitled Japan, the Beautiful, and Myself. It was at once very beautiful and vague. I have used the English word vague as an equivalent of that word in Japanese aiming. This Japanese adjective could have several alternatives for its English translation. The kind of vagueness that Kawabata adopted deliberately is implied in the title itself of his lecture. It can be transliterated as "myself of beautiful Japan". The vagueness of the whole title derives from the Japanese particle "no" (literally "of") linking "Myself" and "Beautiful Japan".
The vagueness of the title leaves room for various interpretations of its implications.
Kenzaburo Oe
I don’t think young people need to see the face of the deceased.
Oe Kenzaburo quotes
In the rest of my lecture I would like to use the word "ambiguous" in accordance with the distinction made by the eminent British poet Kathleen Raine; she once said of William Blake that he was not so much vague as ambiguous. I cannot talk about myself otherwise than by saying "Japan, the Ambiguous, and Myself".
Oe
I was on a promotional tour in Great Britain, and I stopped in Wales. I was there for three days and I ran out of books to read. I went to a local bookstore and asked the person working there to recommend some books in English. He suggested a collection by a poet who was from the area but warned me that the book wasn’t selling very well. The poet was R. S. Thomas, and I bought everything they had. As I read him, I realized that he was the most important poet I could be reading at that point in my life.
Oe Kenzaburo
At the nadir of the post-war economic poverty we found a resilience to endure it, never losing our hope for recovery. It may sound curious to say so, but we seem to have no less resilience to endure our anxiety about the ominous consequence emerging out of the present prosperity. 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.
Kenzaburo Oe
I think I am doing my works to link myself, my family, with society — with the cosmos. To link me with my family to the cosmos, that is easy, because all literature has some mystic tendency. So when we write about our family, we can link ourselves to the cosmos.




Kenzaburo Oe quotes
He said he didn’t care if he went to heaven or hell, because neither could be more fearful than absolute nothingness; salvation and damnation were one and the same if the only thing out there was total nothingness.
Kenzaburo Oe
A dangerous atmosphere of nationalism is coming in our society. So now I want to criticize this tendency, and I want to do everything to prevent the development of fascism in Japanese society.
Oe quotes
I am the kind of writer who rewrites and rewrites. I am very eager to correct everything. If you look at one of my manuscripts, you can see I make many changes. So one of my main literary methods is “repetition with difference.” I begin a new work by first attempting a new approach toward a work that I’ve already written — I try to fight the same opponent one more time. Then I take the resulting draft and continue to elaborate upon it, and as I do so the traces of the old work disappear. I consider my literary work to be a totality of differences within repetition.
I used to say that this elaboration was the most important thing for a novelist to learn.
Oe Kenzaburo
In principle, I am an anarchist. Kurt Vonnegut once said he was an agnostic who respects Jesus Christ. I am an anarchist who loves democracy.
Oe Kenzaburo quotes
To talk of prayer after admitting he professed no faith was, in my opinion, a breach of common courtesy. In this sense, he did make a social blunder, for which I think he well deserved some minor castigation.
Kenzaburo Oe
Kenzaburo Oe has devoted his life to taking certain subjects seriously — victims of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the struggles of the people of Okinawa, the challenges of the disabled, the discipline of the scholarly life — while not appearing to take himself seriously at all. Although he is known in Japan as much for being a gadfly activist as for being one of the country’s most celebrated writers, in person Oe is more of a delightful wag
Kenzaburo Oe quotes
I have a habit to be reborn as a writer. So if I find myself in a crisis that I have never experienced, I can be born, or I can write something, by the power of the habit. Even a soldier or a farmer or a fisherman can be reborn by the power of the habit when he meets the greatest crisis of his life.
Kenzaburo Oe
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.
I trust that the principle can best be understood in the West with its long tradition of tolerance for conscientious rejection of military service. 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. But to obliterate from the Constitution the principle of eternal peace will be nothing but an act of betrayal against the peoples of Asia and the victims of the Atom Bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Oe Kenzaburo
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.


© 2009–2013Quotes Privacy Policy | Contact