Kenzaburō Ōe

(3168 words)
  • Yasuko Claremont (University of Sydney)

Ōe Kenzaburō was born in 1935 in the remote mountain village of ōse on the island of Shikoku, Japan. As a child he had the habit of “going into the forest at night and sleeping among the trees with a sense of security I could never find indoors” (Japan, the Ambiguous 107). He grew up in an atmosphere of mythology in which local legends and dialects had been preserved for centuries. His grandmother and mother both instilled in him the folklore relating to the village, and in his precocious imagination he was able to create a private mythology with the village at its centre. One of the great legends of the village is that each person had their own tree in the forest. As each child was born their soul would …

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Claremont, Yasuko. "Kenzaburō Ōe". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 16 May 2009
[, accessed 07 July 2015.]

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