Kenzaburô Ôe was born in 1935 on the island of Shikoku in southern Japan. From 1954 to 1959 he studied French literature at the University of Tokyo. One of his first stories The Catch (1958) was awarded the Akutagawa Prize. Kenzaburô Ôe passed away on March 3, 2023. He was one of the most important writers of his generation and will forever be remembered as an icon of Japanese literature and a voice of social change.
In 1960 he co-founded 'Wakai Nihon no kai' (Group of Young Japan), which protested against the Japan-US Security Treaty with their actions. In 1994 Ôe was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for his poetic strength that lead post-war Japanese literature in new directions. In addition to his short stories such as Lavish are the Dead (1958) and Women listening to the "rain tree" (1980/1983) a number of his novels have also been published in German language, including Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids (1958), the trilogy of novels The Flaming Green Tree (1993), Tagame. Berlin – Tokyo (2000), The Silent Cry (2008) and The Tower of Treatment and the Planet (2011). His books dealt with existential questions of human life and showed a deep engagement with Japanese culture and history. At the same time, he did not shy away from socially critical topics and was also politically engaged, especially with regard to nuclear power and nuclear weapons.
As Guest Professor, he taught at the Free University of Berlin in 2000 and returned to Berlin in 2008 as Guest Professor of Honor.
Der japanische Literaturnobelpreisträger Oe ist im Alter von 88 Jahren gestorben. Der Schriftsteller berührte die Menschen nicht nur durch seine Werke, sondern galt auch als Kämpfer für Pazifismus und gegen Atomkraft.
Der Literaturnobelpreisträger von 1994 verband stets das Persönliche mit der Gesellschaft. Kenzaburo Oe war zur Jahrtausendwende Gastprofessor an der FU Berlin.