Conversations with History: Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

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Art and Healing: Conversation with Kenzaburo Oe, 1994 Nobel Laureate in Literature; 4/16/99 by Harry Kreisler.

This interview is part of the Institute's "Conversations with History" series, and uses Internet technology to share with the public Berkeley's distinction as a global forum for ideas.

Our guest is the distinguished Japanese writer Kenzaburo Oe. His prolific body of novels, short stories, and critical and political essays has won almost every major international honor. Oe's achievements as a writer committed to both literary and humanitarian causes were recognized in 1994 when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. In works such as A Personal Matter, The Silent Cry, A Quiet Life, Hiroshima Notes, and A Healing Family, Oe's art moves from the personal to the political, exploring how the individual, in confronting life's tragedies overcomes humiliation and shame to "get on with life," and in so doing, finds personal dignity and a renewed sense of his responsibility to his fellow man.

Mr. Oe is on the Berkeley campus today to give the Maruyama Lecture, sponsored by the Center for Japanese Studies and the Townsend Center for the Humanities.

  1. Background ... wartime ... writers in family ... two books
  2. Being a Writer ... writing from the periphery ... the concept of habits
  3. Finding a Voice in Tragedy ... birth of son and visit to Hiroshima ... an authentic man
  4. The Artist as Healer ... son's first words ... music ... healing through expression
  5. A Writer's Themes ... being chosen by a theme ... linking the personal to the societal ... ultranationalism and fascism
  6. Conclusion ... the role of youth ... advice to students

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