Ambiguous Japan: A Study on Four Lectures of Nobel Prize Winner Kenzaburo Oe


In 1994, Kenzaburō Ōe, second Japanese writer to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, entitled his Nobel Lecture “Japan, the ambiguous, and myself”, dialoguing with his predecessor, Yasunari Kawabata, whose Nobel Lecture was entitled “Japan, the beautiful, and myself”. Confessing his quest for “ways to be of some use in the cure and reconciliation of mankind”, Ōe proposes a reflection about Japan’s role in the world by that time, having ascended by its technology, but not by its literature or philosophy. His Nobel Lecture aligns with other three lectures in different places and contexts: “Speaking on Japanese culture before a Scandinavian audience” (1992), “On modern and contemporary Japanese Literature” (San Francisco, 1990) and “Japan’s dual identity: a writer’s dilemma” (1986). This paper attempts to reflect on the writer’s perspectives expressed in his lectures, focusing in the following subjects: Japanese culture and identity, Japan between past and future and the contributions of literature in the achievement of peace.

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Michele Eduarda Brasil de Sá, University of Brasília, Brazil

Paper Information
Conference: LibrAsia2017
Stream: Literature - Asian Literature

This paper is part of the LibrAsia2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon