Japanese Nobel Prize winner Kenzaburō Ōe dies at 88

His work, oriented towards left-wing political engagement and psychological analysis, earned him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1994.

The Nobel Prize for Literature Japanese progressive and nonconformist icon Kenzaburō Ōe has died at the age of 88, the Kodansha publishing house announced on Monday. “He died of old age in the early hours of March 3”the publisher said in a statement explaining that his funeral has already been held by his family.

Kenzaburō Ōe grew up on the southern island of Shikoku, which would be the main setting for his novels, then studied French literature. From the end of the 1950s, he published his first short stories and it was in 1964, with A personal affair, that he had his first big success. While writing numerous novels and short stories, he is a literary critic, a specialist in William BlakeMalcolm Lowry and Dante.

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His work is oriented towards left-wing political engagement and psychological analysis. The genius of Kenzaburō Ōe consists in reconciling, in an original style, a certain naturalism, autobiographical fragments, sociological and historical reflection and an imagination unequaled by modern Japanese authors. In 1989, he received the Europalia prize and, in 1994, the Nobel Prize for Literaturesigns of international recognition.

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