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大江 健三郎

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发表于 3-18-2023 11:19:07 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
Boyd Tonkin, The Disaster Artist. Wall Street Journal, Mar 18, 2023, at page C10 (under a banner: " 'I kept trying to run away. And I almost did. But it seems that reality compels you to live properly when you live in the real world.' -- KENZABURŌ ŌE")
https://www.wsj.com/articles/ken ... -1935-2023-a0a86216

a box in the window of print: "APPRECATION  Kenzaburō Ōe  1935-2023"

Note:
(a) "In August [1945] he [Ōe] had heard, on the radio, the surrender of Japan's divine emperor. The fallen deity spoke in a frail human voice. * * * Eighteen years later [1963], Ōe was plunged into a crisis of confidence that rocked his sense of self. The young writer had already won, at the age of 23 (1958), the prestigious Akutagawa Prize [芥川賞 (presently ¥1,000,000, which at today's exchange rate of ¥131 to $1 is $7,634), in memoriam of 芥川 龍之介 (who committed suicide at 35); 3 rivers in Japan are called 芥川] for 'The Catch 飼育 [plot: American airplane was shot down during WW II, a black military man parachuted down; local authority pondered over what to do, a youth fed the catch meanwhile],' his novella of a black American POW's friendship with a Japanese boy. Then in 1963 Ōe's son Hikari [光 (長男), whose name means light] was born with a cerebral hernia pikll specified; ja.wikipedia.org says: '頭蓋骨異常']. Doctors expected, even wished, the baby to die. * * * Ōe reflected in his 1995 memoir, 'A Healing Family [恢復する家族]' "
(i) Kenzaburō Ōe  大江 健三郎
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenzabur%C5%8D_%C5%8Ce

The sabu or zabu -- where s is softened to z -- as pronunciation of kanji 三 appears in names only.
(ii) Hirohito  裕仁
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hirohito
(1901 – 1989; "commonly known in English-speaking countries by his personal name Hirohito * * * By 1979, Hirohito was the only monarch in the world with the title 'Emperor.' He was the longest-reigning historical Japanese emperor [62 years and 13 days, compared to Elizabeth II's 70 years and 7 months] and one of the longest-reigning monarchs in the world. * * * Hirohito is now referred to in Japanese by his posthumous name, Shōwa, which is the name of the era coinciding with his reign [kanji: 年号]")

(b) "After an operation, Hikari—though disabled—not only lived but showed an extraordinary gift for music, first evident in his ability to identify birdsong. 'That's a water rail' was, at the age of 5, Hikari’s 'first use of intelligible language.' * * * Hikari's [music] recordings would—to his father's delight—outsell Ōe's books. * * * (In fiction, Hikari sometimes appears as 'Eeyore'; Ōe, who loved AA Milne's tales, called his son Pooh.) Still, from his early novels such as 'The Silent Cry' (1967) [to be precise: The Silent Cry is the 1974 title of English translation of the 1967 万延元年のフットボール (フットボール is katakana for football)] to the late 'Death by Water [水死]' (2009), family drama and trauma open out into stories that probe the state, and the fate, of communities and epochs. * * * He studied French literature [文学部仏文科] in [University of ] Tokyo [earning BA] and found, in the Renaissance scholar Kazuo Watanabe [渡辺 一夫], an ideal of peaceable humanism.
(i) water rail
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_rail
(Rallus aquaticus)
, whose range is Europe and western Asia.

Rather, it is Rallus indicus. See brown-cheeked rail
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown-cheeked_rail
, whose Ja[anese name is ku-i-na クイナ.
https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/クイナ
(水鶏、秧鶏、水雉)
(ii) 万延元年遣米使節  Japanese Embassy to the United States
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ja ... o_the_United_States
(1860)
(iii) Eeyore
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eeyore

(c) "He had a spectacular falling-out with the author Yukio Mishima [三島 由紀夫 (1925-1970)], once an ally, and incurred the wrath of wartime diehards with 'Okinawa Notes [沖縄ノート]' (1970), which correctly reported that anti-American propaganda had provoked mass suicides at the war's close. Much later, former officers sued Ōe for libel; he stood firm and prevailed in court. He even refused Japan's Order of Culture, declining to honor any authority 'higher than democracy.' "

Order of Culture  文化勲章
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_Culture

(d) "the two books that record and transcend the crisis year of 1963 are swift-moving, readable and still, perhaps, the easiest introduction for newcomers to his work. 'Hiroshima Notes' (1965 [sic; should be 1970]) * * * 'A Personal Matter [個人的な体験 (a fiction 小説)]' (1964), powerfully translated by Ōe's regular collaborator, John Nathan [1940- ; American], transfers the shock and confusion of Hikari's birth into the story of the frustrated teacher Bird [鳥(バード) -- the latter is katakana, pronounced as ba (with a long vowel) do]. He and his wife have a brain-damaged baby"
(i) The author did not specify "the two books," which should be Hiroshima Notes and A Personal Matter.
(ii) The banner at the top of this essay ("I kept trying to run away. And I almost did. * * * ") in WSJ print is a quote from the fiction A Personal Matter. I do not know its context. though.
---------------------------------
Two convulsive years fixed the course of Kenzaburō Ōe’s path through life, which ended on March 3 when the Nobel Prize-winning Japanese novelist died at the age of 88. Both years witnessed breakdowns that turned into breakthroughs.

In the fall of 1945, after the end of World War II, a 10-year-old Kenzaburō watched as American jeeps—distributing chewing gum and Hershey bars along the way—drove into his home village on the mountainous Shikoku island. In August he had heard, on the radio, the surrender of Japan’s divine emperor. The fallen deity spoke in a frail human voice. A classmate mimicked it; the other kids laughed. As Ōe would later write: “Anxiety tumbled out of the heavens and seized us impious children.” But the spell of hierarchy and obedience was broken: For Ōe, forever. Peace, democracy and humility—personal and national—would steer his course as an author and man.

Eighteen years later, Ōe was plunged into a crisis of confidence that rocked his sense of self. The young writer had already won, at the age of 23, the prestigious Akutagawa Prize for “The Catch,” his novella of a black American POW’s friendship with a Japanese boy. Then in 1963 Ōe’s son Hikari was born with a cerebral hernia. Doctors expected, even wished, the baby to die.

In turmoil, Ōe went to Hiroshima to report on the survivors of the atomic bomb and the work of those who helped them. Rather than smash his spirit, this perfect storm of anguish and bewilderment set him free. “It was in the midst of this crisis that my son’s birth burst like a bombshell,” Ōe reflected in his 1995 memoir, “A Healing Family,” and “through the pain of this experience that I somehow regained my equilibrium.” As he later told the British writer Maya Jaggi, “I was trained as a writer and as a human being by the birth of my son.”

After an operation, Hikari—though disabled—not only lived but showed an extraordinary gift for music, first evident in his ability to identify birdsong. “That’s a water rail” was, at the age of 5, Hikari’s “first use of intelligible language.” Bach, Beethoven and Mozart became Hikari’s inseparable friends. The son listened and composed in the same room where the father wrote. Hikari’s recordings would—to his father’s delight—outsell Ōe’s books. It was Hikari’s music that gave Ōe the “courage to believe in the wondrous, healing power of art.”

How could any writer not mine such a seam of experience? As Ōe explained in his 1994 Nobel Prize lecture, “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.” Yet he never stayed content with a purely confessional or self-analytic mode. History’s abrupt intrusions into the remote mountain villages of Japan recur in his work. So, notably, does the figure of the disabled child born to distraught parents. (In fiction, Hikari sometimes appears as “Eeyore”; Ōe, who loved A.A. Milne’s tales, called his son Pooh.) Still, from his early novels such as “The Silent Cry” (1967) to the late “Death by Water” (2009), family drama and trauma open out into stories that probe the state, and the fate, of communities and epochs.

Although the forest folklore of Shikoku haunts his fiction (his female ancestors were fabled local storytellers), Ōe’s childhood encounter with those gift-bearing U.S. jeeps proved the first of many turnings to the West. From the moment that his mother gave him “Huckleberry Finn”—a lifelong touchstone—English-language literature would mark his writing, from novelists such as Saul Bellow, Norman Mailer and Philip Roth, to the poetry of W.H. Auden, William Blake and W.B. Yeats. He studied French literature in Tokyo and found, in the Renaissance scholar Kazuo Watanabe, an ideal of peaceable humanism. Nationalist critics carped that his work “reeked of butter”: that is, the West.

Courtly and humorous, Ōe nonetheless had a knack for making enemies of those nostalgic for Japan’s martial past. He had a spectacular falling-out with the author Yukio Mishima, once an ally, and incurred the wrath of wartime diehards with “Okinawa Notes” (1970), which correctly reported that anti-American propaganda had provoked mass suicides at the war’s close. Much later, former officers sued Ōe for libel; he stood firm and prevailed in court. He even refused Japan’s Order of Culture, declining to honor any authority “higher than democracy.”

Along with raising, and cherishing, Hikari, Ōe counted his Hiroshima pilgrimage as a keystone of his house of words. It taught him solidarity with the victims, respect for all those who relieved their suffering, along with fervent opposition to militarism and nuclear weapons.

Ōe’s later style can sometimes feel clogged; he worried about “losing a sense of the music in the human voice.” However, the two books that record and transcend the crisis year of 1963 are swift-moving, readable and still, perhaps, the easiest introduction for newcomers to his work. “Hiroshima Notes” (1965) emits an incandescent outrage and anguish—but equally conveys a sense of wonder at his discovery of the truly “authentic” lives of relief workers, such as Dr. Fumio Shigeto, who “courageously carry on with their day-to-day tasks.”

“A Personal Matter” (1964), powerfully translated by Ōe’s regular collaborator, John Nathan, transfers the shock and confusion of Hikari’s birth into the story of the frustrated teacher Bird. He and his wife have a brain-damaged baby who refuses to die but begins “ferociously to live.” Bird’s dark night of the soul, as he fails to act either as “a tough villain or a tough angel,” races along in a hard-bitten, helter-skelter, Beat-era style. Finally, Bird and his lover, Himiko, desperately down whiskies in a gay bar before Bird chooses to accept the baby with its pleading eyes of “deep, lucid grey.”

The book closes with the word “forbearance.” Kenzaburō Ōe moved far beyond forbearance into a search for justice, love and joy. He once said, “I’m a boring person. I read a lot of literature, I think about a lot of things, but at the base of it all is Hikari and Hiroshima.” That proved more than enough for a life’s work of literary courage and compassion.

--Mr. Tonkin is the author of “The 100 Best Novels in Translation.”


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