‘who on earth is kazuo ishig­uro?’ asks ja­pan

The Sunday Guardian - - The Week -

TOKYO: Min­utes af­ter Ja­panese-born Bri­ton Kazuo Ishig­uro was an­nounced as the win­ner of this year’s No­bel Prize for Lit­er­a­ture, the Ja­panese took to Twit­ter to ask: “Who (the heck) is Kazuo Ishig­uro?” For those who had never heard of the au­thor of The Re­mains of the Day and other award-win­ning nov­els, the name that flashed across smart­phones and TV screens was puz­zling - it was un­doubt­edly Ja­panese-sound­ing, but writ­ten in the lo­cal script re­served for for­eign names and words. But by Fri­day morn­ing, the nation was cel­e­brat­ing the 62-year-old Bri­tish trans­plant, who writes ex­clu­sively in English, as one of its own, seiz­ing on his own dec­la­ra­tion of an emo­tional and cul­tural con­nec­tion to Ja­pan, which he left at age five. “I’ve al­ways said through­out my ca­reer that al­though I’ve grown up in this coun­try (Bri­tain) ... 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,” Ishig­uro said on Thurs­day. Ja­panese news­pa­pers car­ried his No­bel win as front-page news, de­scrib­ing him as a Na­gasaki na­tive who had ob­tained Bri­tish cit­i­zen­ship as an adult. Ja­panese may yet yearn for an elu­sive No­bel for Mu­rakami, but for now, Ishig­uro is their man of the hour.

Kazuo Ishig­uro

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