Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Live Blogging The Oe Kenzaburo Press Conference

Nobel laureate Oe Kenzaburo (b. 1931.01.31) will be speaking at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan. I will see if I can live blog the event

Oe Kenzaburo arriving at the FCCJ.

12:42 Journalist Kamata Satoshi is offering introductory statement of the situation in Fukushima on the eve of the 4th anniversary of the triple disaster of 3/11.

12:46 Oe begins his remarks. He speaks in a high, halting voice.

12:51 Oe points out the ridiculousness of Prime Minister Abe Shinzo's insistence in Buenos Aires that "Fukushima is under control" -- and that the attitude of duplicity (to self, the country and the world) became the seeming norm.

By contrast, the German people were able to view the nuclear issue as a world issue. Japanese could not see the problem in a global sense.

13:00 "In my literature, trees play a huge role. I think the fate of the trees of Fukushima is a symbol of the scale and methodology of the clean up effort. In particular 80,000 highly contaminated large trees have been cut down, chopped up and put into storage.

13:01 One of the ideas is to burn the wood of these trees, collecting the ashes and burying it. But what of all the radiation released in the burning?

While not downgrading the suffering of humans, the loss of these trees is striking to me. Trees are promises to the future. Here the future has been lost.

The Germans [Oe is riffing on the ongoing visit to Japan of Chancellor Angela Merkel] thinks about the limits of technology -- that Chancellor Merkel in a conversation with Prime Minister Abe noted that despite Japan's technical prowess, control of a nuclear facility was lost. Prime Minister Abe, however, has no such reaction and reflection to Fukushima.

13:09 The current government of Japan has no understanding of the issues and no Japanese politicians who have the will and the capacity to learn from the lessons of Fukushima.

This government does not pay attention to the views of non-Japanese, particularly the government of Asia.

13:13 [In a nice segue, Oe draws a parallel by the Japanese government's state of denial about the seriousness of the situation in Fukushima and the state of denial regarding relations toward China -- as regards the Senkakus -- and South Korea -- as regards Takeshima or as the South Koreans call it "Dokto" -- that in both cases, the current Japanese government seems to have no intention or effort to change the terrible relations that exist]

13:19 Five years I had decided to give up the life of a novelist...I wanted to start a new way of living. I took my hints on what to do with the rest of my life from the late Palestinian-American scholar Edward Said. I had been rereading my own work when Said was diagnosed with leukemia.

13:24 Said got me thinking about the artistic style of the end of humanity or the end of a single person's life.

On Late Style - his book of his views on the style expressing one's thoughts in the face of one's end...got me thinking about my end and the world's end.

13:29 Fukushima represents a late style of humankind's express of barbarism. Adorno spoke of barbarism after Auschwitz. After Auschwitz, after Hiroshima and now after Fukushima, what is literary production if not barbarism -- what would Said have said?

How are we to live, what is the style in the state of utter disappointment? The interviewers of Said would say at the end, all he felt optimistic (rakkanteki) about .life

[Oe's prolix delivery would overwhelm an ordinary translation. Takamatsu Tamako, the FCCJ's translator is far from ordinary.]

13:34 I want, in my late style, post-novelist period in my life to find out how others speak, how to not be involved in barbarism.

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