Kenzaburo

Kenzaburo

Oe, Kenzaburo, 1935-, Japanese writer, b. Ose, on the island of Shikoku. At 18, he left his remote village and traveled to the capital, where he studied at Tokyo Univ. and began writing. In 1958 he won the Akutagawa Prize for a short story and published his first novel, Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids (tr. 1995).

Five years later the birth of his severely brain-damaged son marked a turning point in his life and work. His best known novel, A Personal Matter (1964, tr. 1968), deals with a father's slow acceptance of his similarly handicapped infant son. Several of his other works concern this theme. In life, he and his wife have devoted much of their lives to their son's care.

Oe's other works include more than 20 novels, among them The Silent Cry (1967, tr. 1974), The Pinch Runner Memorandum (1976, tr. 1993), and A Quiet Life (1990, tr. 1996), several short-story collections, essays, and Hiroshima Notes (1965, tr. 1995), which chronicles the courage of the victims of the nuclear attack. His often angry and politically charged tales, his recurrent themes of abnormality, sexuality, and marginality, and his gritty, realistic style set him apart from the mainstream Japanese literary tradition. Oe was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1994. Somersault (2003), his first novel since winning the prize, revolves around a terrorist religious cult and its charismatic leader.

His firstborn son, Hikari Oe, 1963-, although initially uncommunicative and still only minimally functional, developed impressive musical abilities and has become an accomplished composer.

Kenzaburo Hara (Japanese: 原健三郎, Hara Kenzaburō, February 6, 1907 - November 7, 2004) Former House of Representatives of Japan Speaker Kenzaburo Hara, who had served as a legislator for 54 years until he retired in 2000, died of heart failure in Tokyo Saturday, his family said. He was 97. The schedule for funeral services for the politician, popularly known as "Haraken," has not yet been fixed. Hara was first elected to the Diet in Japan's first post-war Lower House election held in 1946 with the backing of the now defunct Japan Progressive Party. He later joined the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). He had served 20 terms, totaling 54 years, as a Lower House member until he retired from politics at the age of 93 in June 2000 shortly before a general election. Hara is the second longest serving legislator in the post-war period next only to former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone. After serving labor minister and director general of the National Land Agency and the Hokkaido Development Agency, he served as Lower House speaker from July 1986 to June 1989. Hara is known for his repeated gaffes. He resigned as labor minister after he said, "Those who'll go to nursing care homes for the aged (after they grow old) are the worst," in a speech he delivered in a Coming-of-the-Age Day ceremony in Sumoto, Awaji Island, in January 1972. He had publicly pledged to voters in his home constituency to make sure that the Akashi Strait Bridge between Kobe and Awaji Island be built. The bridge was opened to traffic in April 1998. Hara was born in Hokudan on the Hyogo Prefecture island of Awaji in 1907. After graduating from the political and economic department of Waseda University and the graduate course of the University of Oregon, he joined Kodansha Ltd., a major publishing house. He served as managing editor of the "Gendai" magazine before becoming a legislator. He is also known as either the original author or scenario writer of five of the nine movies in the popular "Wataridori" ("Migratory Bird") series produced by Nikkatsu Corp.

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