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Kōbō Abe


Kōbō Abe was born in 1924 in Kita, Tokyo. He grew up in Manchuria, where his father taught at the medical college. He returned to Japan in 1940 to study at high school but a lung condition meant he had to return to Manchuria. In 1943 he went to Tokyo Imperial University to study medicine (partially because of his father but also to gain exemption from the army). He returned to Manchuria in 1944 but his father died soon after. He returned to his medical studies, graduating in 1948.

By this time, he had started writing poems and stories. His first published work was a self-published collection of poems but he received the Akutagawa Prize in 1951 for his story カルマ氏の犯罪 [The Crime of S. Karma ]. Both he and his wife, an artist and stage director were working in their fields, with Abe paying the bills by street selling. He soon joined the Communist Party but moved away from them, particularly after the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956. He went on to write numerous stories, novels, plays, essays and poems. He died in 1993.

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Kōbō Abe
Kōbō Abe
Kōbō Abe
Kōbō Abe
The Disorienting Novels of Kōbō Abe


(Only books translated into English)

1957 けものたちは故郷をめざす (Beasts Head for Home) (novel)
1959 第四間氷期 (Inter Ice Age 4) (novel)
1962 The Woman in the Dunes (novel)
1963 Four Stories
1964 他人の顔 (The Face of Another) (novel)
1967 燃えつきた地図 (The Ruined Map) (novel)
1969 棒になった男 (The Man Who Turned into a Stick)
1971 友達 (Friends) (drama)
1973 箱男 (The Box Man) (novel)
1977 密会 (Secret Rendezvous) (novel)
1984 方舟さくら丸 (The Ark Sakura) (novel)
1991 カンガルー・ノート (Kangaroo Notebook) (novel)
1991 Beyond the Curve (stories)
1993 Three Plays (drama)
2013 The Frontier Within: Essays by Abe Kōbō