Friday, August 8, 2014

HIROSHIMA NOTES: THE LIFE AND WORK OF KENZABURŌ ŌE


THESE TWO LEAF PIX WERE TAKEN AT DUSK THURS. NIGHT IN WESTON, VT

August 6th and 9th, 1945, were the dates when the United States dropped atomic bombs upon, respectively, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

To that end, this week's arts and culture column is on Japanese novelist, essayist, and Nobel  Prize winner Kenzaburo Ōe.

Ōe and his wife chose to ignore the doctors who told them to abort their son. Hikari was born in 1963 with severe developmentally disabilities.

The Ōes went on to have two more children, and the most helpless, the least efficient, became the unlikely “star” around whom the family constellated. Kenzaburō Ōe went on to write novels, essays and memoirs around the central theme of his disabled son — this great fact, this “personal matter” — that has shaped his work, thought, and life.

Ōe has another abiding concern: the events of August, 1945.

“People say that I’ve been writing about the same things over and over again ever since — my son Hikari and Hiroshima…. I read a lot of literature, I think about a lot of things, but at the base of it all is Hikari and Hiroshima.”

READ THE PIECE HERE.


"All day people poured into Asano Park, This private estate was far enough away from the explosion so that its bamboos, pines, laurel, and maples were still alive, and the green place invited refugees—partly because they believed that if the Americans came back, they would bomb only the buildings; partly because the foliage seemed a center of coolness and life, and the estate’s exquisitely precise rock gardens, with their quiet pools and arching bridges, were very Japanese, normal, secure; and also partly (according to some who were there) because of an irresistible, atavistic urge to hide under leaves."
--John Hersey, Hiroshima


2 comments:

  1. Heather, leave it to you to tie the obvious with the hidden. Thank you so much for your article. Timely for me on more than one level. I also think of Msgr. Albacete caring for his brother. Will it be a good evening? Will it be a good morning? Then a gift of some words that come with grace. Yes, "All will be well!"

    Enjoying the fruits of your retreat time, photos, riches, dryness, wellspring. You rock!!

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  2. I have heard it stated more than once that all wars are really and ultimately a war against God. Against goodness and life itself. It is interesting that of all the cities the US could have chosen to bomb in Japan, one that they chose was the most Catholic and Christian on the entire island: http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-bombing-of-nagasaki-august-9-1945-the-un-censored-version/5345274

    How beautiful is the little bit of Oe's writings that I have read since seeing this post. I'm guessing he is not Christian, but he has focused on two great events. The bombings of Japan and the life of his son. And the tenderness with which he writes about his son goes easily to the core of our hearts. That this man instinctively saw the evil of what we did to his people and the fact that God gave him a disabled son to deepen his understanding of the inherent worth of all people, is not a coincidence so far as I can see. God always brings good from evil, and Mr. Oe and his writings are most eloquent examples of this truism.

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