The Fighter I Know Kenzaburo Oe
As the only surviving Nobel Prize winner in Japan half a century after Kawabata Yasunari’s death, Kenzaburo Oe, who just passed away in March, has always had a classic image: standing in the mountains, with his hands next to his ears as a gesture of wind , while closing the eyes tightly.
The image of “I use eyes full of tears as my ears” is taken from a description in Kenzaburo Oe’s work: “I feel that you will give birth to people who are newer than the newest, newer than anyone else”—narrative The reader is so full of admiration for a woman who is about to give birth, expressing new expectations for future human beings.
What is brand new? Oe Kenzaburo, who came out of a remote mountain village in Shikoku Island, Japan, “entangled his writing with major world issues”, breaking the Western’s single aesthetic imagination of Japanese literature that is ethereal and light, thus realizing the transcendence of his own national tradition, Eventually become part of the precious cultural wealth of mankind.
Rich and profound thoughts are worthy of a warrior with great fighting spirit. Starting from putting forward the discourse of “ambiguous Japan”, Oe Kenzaburo spent his whole life trying to restore the historical truth of violence, blood and injustice that was tried to cover up in the process of modernization of his country. Putting himself in the process of wrestling with Japanese militarism, he was attacked by right-wing groups in his country as a bird that soiled his nest with dung, a “non-citizen”, and was also accused of “violating historical facts and violating the honor of old Japanese military officers”, He was involved in a lawsuit that lasted for 6 years; and because he resisted the tendency of worshiping the emperor, he refused to receive the “Medal of Culture” issued by the emperor himself, which caused national controversy.
He was attacked by right-wing groups in his country as a bird that had soiled its nest with dung.
But the original source of the struggle is his completion of self-salvation. When Kenzaburo Oe was born in 1935, the shadow of Japan’s external expansion had spread to its East Asian neighbors. The Second World War logically made this child in the forest of Shikoku, Japan grow into a militaristic teenager. Later, he revealed that when he was young, he was eager to die heroically as a soldier of the emperor, but also hoped that he would not have time to join the war—until August 15, 1945, this dazed militaristic teenager began to reflect. For the rest of my life I was on a different path.
So, back to “I use my eyes full of tears as my ears”, why is it not enough to “see” the world just with my eyes? This refers to the forest and green trees, which are common images in Kenzaburo Oe’s books (which he was most familiar with as a child). He believes that only by knowing how to listen can he reach the more hidden depths of the forest, open the closed heart, and connect with others. Showcasing the consequences of the Japanese collective unconscious and the conservatism it fostered after the war.
Kenzaburo Oe once said: “I can’t live it again, but we can live it again” – this comes from the poem he gave to the Japan Symphony Orchestra’s “Commemorating the 250th Anniversary of Mozart’s Birth” concert.
It’s another year’s Ching Ming Festival, when we remember the dead, we will always have more pursuits and thoughts about the present world, and at least a little comfort is that we can learn from Oe Kenzaburo’s works (such as “Personal Experience”) “, “The Football Team in the First Year of Wanyan”, “The Forest Hermit in the Nuclear Age”), continue to absorb the courage and wisdom to question the mistakes of human history.