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Kenzaburo Oe

After I got married, the first child born to us was mentally handicapped.

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I have survived by representing these sufferings of mine in the form of the novel.

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The way Japan had tried to build up a modern state modelled on the West was cataclysmic.

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The ambiguous orientation of Japan drove the country into the position of an invader in Asia.

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The Japanese chose the principle of eternal peace as the basis of morality for our rebirth after the War.

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Even though we now have the half-century-old new Constitution, there is a popular sentiment of support for the old one that lives on in reality in some quarters.

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After the end of the Second World War it was a categorical imperative for us to declare that we renounced war forever in a central article of the new Constitution.

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Paradoxically, the people and state of Japan living on such moral props were not innocent but had been stained by their own past history of invading other Asian countries.

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My observation is that after one hundred and twenty years of modernisation since the opening of the country, present-day Japan is split between two opposite poles of ambiguity.

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However, please allow me to say that the fundamental style of my writing has been to start from my personal matters and then to link it up with society, the state and the world.

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Kenzaburo Oe
Kenzaburo Oe