Kenzaburō Ōe

Kenzaburō Ōe is a prominent Japanese writer and a Nobel laureate in Literature. Born on January 31, 1935, in the village of Uchiko, Ehime Prefecture, Japan, he is known for his novels and short stories that often explore themes of social and political issues, as well as the complexities of the human condition. His writing style is influenced by French and American literature and often incorporates elements of his personal experiences, including his upbringing in post-war Japan and his life as the parent of a disabled son. Some of his notable works include 'A Personal Matter' and 'The Silent Cry'.


This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids

    This novel tells the story of a group of reformatory school boys evacuated to a remote mountain village in wartime. The boys are treated harshly by the villagers, who view them as little more than animals. When a plague breaks out, the villagers flee, leaving the boys behind to fend for themselves. The boys attempt to create their own society, but when the villagers return, they are once again treated as outcasts. The book is a powerful exploration of the themes of isolation, rejection, and the struggle for survival.

  2. 2. A Personal Matter

    A Personal Matter is a novel that tells the story of Bird, a young man struggling to come to terms with the birth of his son who has a severe brain hernia. As he grapples with his personal demons and the societal stigma associated with having a disabled child, he also contemplates killing his son to end his suffering. The narrative explores themes of responsibility, shame, and the human condition, ultimately leading to Bird's acceptance of his son and his own life.

  3. 3. Somersault

    The novel explores the aftermath of a failed doomsday cult in Japan, led by two men who had prophesied an apocalypse that never occurred. After their prophecy fails, they attempt to disband the cult but struggle as their followers resist and violence ensues. The leaders try to rebuild their lives amidst the chaos, grappling with their guilt and the consequences of their actions. The book is a deep exploration of faith, redemption, and the power of belief.