Kenzaburo Oe Entrusts Manuscripts with University of Tokyo

Courtesy of Faculty of Letters, The University of Tokyo
A manuscript page of “Dojidai Gemu” (Coeval games) by Kenzaburo Oe

Novelist and Nobel Prize laureate Kenzaburo Oe, 86, has entrusted more than 10,000 pages of his manuscripts with the Faculty of Letters at the University of Tokyo, his alma mater, the university said Friday.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Kenzaburo Oe

The entrusted materials include about 50 items. Among them is the manuscript of “Shisha no Ogori” (Lavish are the Dead), his famous short novel written while he was a student at the university, as well as galley proofs.

The faculty is planning to establish what is being tentatively called the Kenzaburo Oe Library and make it a study base for modern Japanese literature, with Oe’s works at its center.

Oe entered the university in 1954 and majored in French literature. A novel he wrote for the university’s newspaper won acclaim, and “Shisha no Ogori” was short-listed for the Akutagawa Prize in 1958. His manuscripts and other source materials are being entrusted with a public institution for the first time, taking Oe’s intention and other relevant factors into consideration.

Oe is known for making multiple revisions of his texts. The manuscript of “Dojidai Gemu” (Coeval games), which was published in 1979, shows many inserted words and traces of corrections. His strong commitment to his own work emanates from the manuscript papers.