Kazuo Ishiguro: My Worldview, Artistic Approach Still Largely Japanese

Kazuo Ishiguro Nobel Prize for Literature

 

The British novelist Kazuo Ishiguro, 62, won the Nobel Literature Prize on Thursday, October 5. Born in Japan but raised in the United Kingdom, the author is known for how The Remains of the Day, Never Let Me Go, and his other novels captured memory’s lasting pain and dangerous illusions in precise and elegant prose.

 

Here are the excerpts of what Ishiguro said at his backyard in north London after winning the prize:

 

 

How he got the good news

“I thought it was a hoax, in this time of fake news. So I asked them to check up.”

 

“Eventually a very nice lady called from Sweden and asked me first of all if I would accept it…. I was surprised at how low-key they were, it was like they were inviting me to some kind of party.”

 

How he starts a story

 

“When I tried to start a story: ‘I came out of Camden Town tube station and went into McDonald’s and there was my friend Harry from university,’ I couldn’t think of what to write next. Whereas when I wrote about Japan, something unlocked.”

 

“One of the stories I showed the class was set in Nagasaki at the time the bomb dropped, and it was told from the point of view of a young woman. I got a tremendous boost to my confidence from my fellow students. They all said, ‘This Japanese stuff is really very exciting, and you’re going places.’”

 

 

Themes of his stories

 

“Some of the themes that I have tried to tackle in my work—about history, about not just personal memory but the way countries and nations and communities remember their past, and how often they bury the uncomfortable memories from the past—I hope that these kinds of themes will actually be in some small way helpful to the climate we have at the moment.”

 

Japanese upbringing

 

“I’ve always said throughout my career that although I’ve grown up in this country (UK) and I’m educated in this country, that a large part of my way of looking at the world, my artistic approach, is Japanese, because I was brought up by Japanese parents, speaking in Japanese.”

 

 

 

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