Kōbō Abe

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Kōbō Abe
安部 公房
Kōbō Abe novelist.jpg
Born Abe Kimifusa (安部 公房)
(1924-03-07)March 7, 1924[1]
Kita, Tokyo, Japan
Died

January 22, 1993(1993-01-22) (aged 68)
Tokyo, Japan

Cause of Death acute heart failure
Occupation Writer

Kōbō Abe (安部 公房 Abe Kōbō?), pseudonym of Kimifusa Abe (安部 公房 Abe Kimifusa?, March 7, 1924[1][2] – January 22, 1993), was a Japanese writer, playwright, photographer and inventor. Abe has been often compared to Franz Kafka and Alberto Moravia for his surreal, often nightmarish explorations of individuals in contemporary society and his modernist sensibilities.[3][4]

Early life[edit]

Abe was born in Kita, Tokyo, Tokyo and grew up in Mukden (now Shenyang) in Manchuria.[1] His father was a physician who taught at a local medical college. As a child, Abe was interested in insect-collecting, mathematics, and reading. His favorite authors were Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Martin Heidegger, Karl Jaspers, Franz Kafka, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Edgar Allan Poe.[1] Abe returned to Japan in 1941 and began studies at Tokyo Imperial University in 1943. He returned to Manchuria around the end of World War II.[1] He graduated in 1948 with a medical degree, on the condition that he would not practice. Having failed his exam several times, and already a successful author, this was attached to cultural notions of "saving face."

Career[edit]

He was first published as a poet in 1947 with Mumei-shishū ("Poems of an unknown poet"), which he paid for himself,[1] and as a novelist the following year with Owarishi michi no shirube ni ("The Road Sign at the End of the Street"), which established his reputation.[1] Though he did much work as an avant-garde novelist and playwright, it was not until the publication of The Woman in the Dunes in 1962 that he won widespread international acclaim.

In the 1960s, he collaborated with Japanese director Hiroshi Teshigahara in the film adaptations of The Pitfall, Woman in the Dunes, The Face of Another and The Ruined Map. In 1973, he founded an acting studio in Tokyo, where he trained performers and directed plays.[1] He was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1977.[5]

Awards[edit]

Among the honors bestowed on him were the Akutagawa Prize in 1951 for The Crime of S. Karuma, the Yomiuri Prize in 1962 for Woman in the Dunes, and the Tanizaki Prize in 1967 for the play Friends. Kenzaburō Ōe stated that Abe deserved the Nobel Prize in Literature, which he himself had won (Abe was nominated multiple times).

Bibliography[edit]

Novels[edit]

Year Japanese Title English Title Translations available Notes
1948 終りし道の標に
Owarishi michi no shirube ni
At the Guidepost at the End of the Road
1954 飢餓同盟
Kiga doumei
Starving Unions
1957 けものたちは故郷をめざす
Kemono tachi wa kokyou wo mezasu
Animals Are Going To Their Home
1959 第四間氷期
Dai yon kan pyouki
Inter Ice Age 4 E. Dale Saunders [1]
1960 石の眼
Ishi no me
Stony Eyes
1962 砂の女
Suna no onna
The Woman in the Dunes E. Dale Saunders Adapted into an international film[1]
1964 他人の顔
Tanin no kao
The Face of Another E. Dale Saunders [1]
1964 榎本武揚
Enomoto takeaki
Takeaki Enomoto
1966 人間そっくり
Ningen sokkuri
The Double of Human Being
1967 燃えつきた地図
Moetsukita chizu
The Ruined Map E. Dale Saunders [1]
1973 箱男
Hako otoko
The Box Man E. Dale Saunders [1]
1977 密会
Mikkai
Secret Rendezvous Juliet Winters Carpenter [1]
1984 方舟さくら丸
Hakobune sakura maru
The Ark Sakura Juliet Winters Carpenter [1]
1991 カンガルー・ノート
Kangaruu noto
Kangaroo Notebook Maryellen Toman Mori
1994 飛ぶ男
Tobu otoko
The Flying Man Incomplete

Collected short stories[edit]

Year Japanese Title English Title Translations available Notes
1949 唖むすめ
Oshimusume
The Deaf Girl Andrew Horvat Collected in Four Stories by Kobo Abe
1949 デンドロカカリヤ
Dendorokakariya
Dendrocacalia Juliet Winters Carpenter Collected in Beyond the Curve
1949 夢の逃亡
Yume no toubou
The dream escape
1950 赤い繭
Akai mayu
The Red Cocoon Lane Dunlop Collected in A Late chrysanthemum: twenty-one stories from the Japanese
1950 洪水
Kouzui
The Flood Lane Dunlop Collected in A Late chrysanthemum: twenty-one stories from the Japanese
1951 魔法のチョーク
Mahou no chouku
The Magic Chalk Alison Kibrick Collected in The Showa Anthology: Modern Japanese Short Stories
1951 壁―S・カルマ氏の犯罪
Kabe―S・Karuma shi no hanzai
The Wall―The crime of S. Karma Juliet Winters Carpenter Excerpt collected in Beyond the Curve
1951 闖入者
Chinnyusha
Intruders Juliet Winters Carpenter Collected in Beyond the Curve
1951 詩人の生涯
Shijin no Shougai
The Life of a Poet Juliet Winters Carpenter Collected in Beyond the Curve
1951 飢えた皮膚
Ueta hihu
The Starving Skin
1952 ノアの方舟
Noa no hakobune
Noah's Ark Juliet Winters Carpenter Collected in Beyond the Curve
1952 水中都市
Suichu toshi
The underwater city
1954
Inu
The Dog Andrew Horvat Collected in Four Stories by Kobo Abe
1954 変形の記録
Henkei no kiroku
Record of a Transformation Juliet Winters Carpenter Collected in Beyond the Curve
1950
Bou
The Stick Lane Dunlop Collected in A Late chrysanthemum: twenty-one stories from the Japanese
1956 R62号の発明
R62 gou no hatumei
Inventions by No.R62
1957 誘惑者
Yuwakusha
Beguiled Juliet Winters Carpenter Collected in Beyond the Curve
1957 夢の兵士
Yume no heishi
The dream soldier First translation, 1973 by Andrew Horvat
Second translation, 1991 by Juliet Winters Carpenter
First translation collected in Four Stories by Kobo Abe
Second translation collected in Beyond the Curve
1957 鉛の卵
Namari no tamago
The egg of Pb
1958 使者
Shisha
The special envoy Juliet Winters Carpenter Collected in Beyond the Curve
1960 賭け
Kake
The Bet Juliet Winters Carpenter Collected in Beyond the Curve
1961 無関係な死
Mukankei na shi
An irrelevant death Juliet Winters Carpenter Collected in Beyond the Curve
1966 カーブの向う
Kabu no mukou
Beyond the Curve Juliet Winters Carpenter First collection published in English[1]
1964 時の崖
Toki no gake
The Cliff of Time Andrew Horvat Collected in Four Stories by Kobo Abe

Plays[edit]

Year Japanese Title English Title Translations available Notes
時間の崖
Jikan no gake
The Cliff of Time Donald Keene Collected in The Man Who Turned Into A Stick: Three Related Plays
スーツケース
Sūtsukēsu
Suitcase Donald Keene Collected in The Man Who Turned Into A Stick: Three Related Plays
1955 制服
Seifuku
Uniforms
1955 どれい狩り
Dorei gari
Slave Hunting
1955 快速船
Kaisoku sen
The Speedy Ship
1958 幽霊はここにいる
Yuurei wa koko ni iru
The Ghost Is Here Donald Keene Collected in Three Plays by Kōbō Abe
1965 おまえにも罪がある
Omae nimo tsumi ga aru
You, Too, Are Guilty Ted T. Takaya Collected in Modern Japanese Drama: An Anthology
1967 友達
Tomodachi
Friends Donald Keene Performed in English in Honolulu[1]
Adapted into a film in 1988
1967 榎本武揚
Enomoto takeaki
Takeaki Enomoto
1969 棒になった男
Bou ni natta otoko
The Man Who Turned Into A Stick Donald Keene Collected in The Man Who Turned Into A Stick: Three Related Plays
1971 未必の故意
Mihitsu no koi
Involuntary Homicide Donald Keene Collected in Three Plays by Kōbō Abe
1971 ガイド・ブック
Gaido bukku
Guide Book
1973 愛の眼鏡は色ガラス
Ai no megane wa iro garasu
Loving Glasses Are Colored Ones
1974 緑色のストッキング
Midori iro no sutokkingu
Green Stockings Donald Keene Collected in Three Plays by Kōbō Abe
1975 ウエー(新どれい狩り)
Uē (Shin dorei gari)
Ue (Slave Hunting, New Version), The Animal Hunter James R. Brandon
1976 案内人GUIDE BOOK II
Annai nin
The Guide Man, GUIDE BOOK II
1977 水中都市GUIDE BOOK III
Suichu toshi
The underwater city, GUIDE BOOK III
1978 S・カルマ氏の犯罪
S・Karuma shi no hanzai
The crime of S. Karuma
1979 仔象は死んだ
Kozou wa shinda
An Elephant Calf Is Dead

Essays[edit]

Year Japanese Title English Title Translations available Notes
1944 詩と詩人 (意識と無意識)
Shi to shijin [Ishiki to muishiki]
Poetry and Poets (Consciousness and the Unconscious) Richard F. Calichman Collected in The Frontier Within: Essays by Abe Kōbō
1954 文学における理論と実践
Bungaku ni okeru riron to jissen
Theory and Practice in Literature Richard F. Calichman Collected in The Frontier Within: Essays by Abe Kōbō
1955 猛獣の心に計算機の手を:文学とは何か
Mōjū no kokoro ni keisanki no te wo: Bungaku to ha nanika
The Hand of a Calculator with the Heart of a Beast: What Is Literature? Richard F. Calichman Collected in The Frontier Within: Essays by Abe Kōbō
1957 アメリカ発見
Amerika hakken
Discovering America Richard F. Calichman Collected in The Frontier Within: Essays by Abe Kōbō
1960 映像は言語の壁を破壊するか
Eizō ha gengo no kabe wo hakai suru ka
Does the Visual Image Destroy the Walls of Language? Richard F. Calichman Collected in The Frontier Within: Essays by Abe Kōbō
1960 芸術の革命:芸術運動の理論
Geijutsu no kakumei: Geijutsu undō no riron
Artistic Revolution: Theory of the Art Movement Richard F. Calichman Collected in The Frontier Within: Essays by Abe Kōbō
1965 現代における教育の可能性:人間存在の本質に触れて
Gendai ni okeru kyōiku no kanōsei: Ningen sonzai no honshitsu ni furete
Possibilities for Education Today: On the Essence of Human Existence Richard F. Calichman Collected in The Frontier Within: Essays by Abe Kōbō
1966 隣人を超えるもの
Rinjin wo koeru mono
Beyond the Neighbor Richard F. Calichman Collected in The Frontier Within: Essays by Abe Kōbō
1968 ミリタリールック
Miritarī rukku
The Military Look Richard F. Calichman Collected in The Frontier Within: Essays by Abe Kōbō
1968 異端のパスポート
Itan no pasupōto
Passport of Heresy Richard F. Calichman Collected in The Frontier Within: Essays by Abe Kōbō
1968 内なる辺境
Uchi naru henkyō
The Frontier Within Richard F. Calichman Collected in The Frontier Within: Essays by Abe Kōbō
1969 続:内なる辺境
Zoku: Uchi naru henkyō
The Frontier Within, Part II Richard F. Calichman Collected in The Frontier Within: Essays by Abe Kōbō
1975 笑う月
Warau tsuki
The Laughing Moon

Poetry[edit]

Year Japanese Title English Title Translations available Notes
1947 無名詩集
Mumei shishu
Poems of an unknown poet
1978 人さらい
Hito sarai
Kidnap

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Hoiberg, Dale H., ed. (2010). "Abe Kobo". Encyclopedia Britannica. I: A-ak Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, IL: Encyclopedia Britannica Inc. pp. 23–24. ISBN 978-1-59339-837-8. 
  2. ^ "Abe, Kobo". Who Was Who in America, 1993–1996, vol. 11. New Providence, N.J.: Marquis Who's Who. 1996. p. 1. ISBN 0837902258. 
  3. ^ New York Times.
  4. ^ Timothy Iles, Abe Kobo: an Exploration of his Prose, Drama, and Theatre, EPAP, 2000.
  5. ^ "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter A". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved March 18, 2011. 

External links[edit]