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Kazuo IshiguroOBEFRSAFRSL(/kzuoiiuro/;Japanese:

,[iiokado]; born 8 November 1954) is a British


novelist,screenwriterandshort story writer. He was born inNagasaki, Japan; his
family moved to England in 1960 when he was five. Ishiguro graduated from
theUniversity of Kentwith a bachelor's degree in English and Philosophy in 1978
and gained his master's from theUniversity of East Anglia'screative writing coursein
1980.
Ishiguro is considered one of the most celebrated contemporary fiction authors in the
English-speaking world, having received fourMan Booker Prizenominations and
winning the 1989 award for his novelThe Remains of the Day. His 2005
novel,Never Let Me Go, was named byTimeas the best novel of 2005 and included
in its list of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005. His seventh
novel,The Buried Giant, was published in 2015. Growing up in a Japanese family in
the UK was crucial to his writing, as he says, enabling him to see things from a
different perspective to many of his British peers.[1]
In 2008,The Timesranked Ishiguro 32nd on their list of "The 50 Greatest British
Writers Since 1945".[2]In 2017, theSwedish Academyawarded him theNobel Prize
in Literature, describing him in its citation as a writer "who, in novels of great
emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection
with the world".[3]
iterary career[edit]
Ishiguro set his first two novels in Japan; however, in several interviews he clarified
that he has little familiarity with Japanese writing and that his works bear little
resemblance to Japanese fiction.[10]In an interview in 1989, when discussing his
Japanese heritage and its influence on his upbringing, the author has stated, "I'm not
entirely like English people because I've been brought up by Japanese parents in a
Japanese-speaking home. My parents didn't realize that we were going to stay in
this country for so long, they felt responsible for keeping me in touch with Japanese
values. I do have a distinct background. I think differently, my perspectives are
slightly different."[11]When asked about his identity, the author says,
People are not two-thirds one thing and the remainder something else.
Temperament, personality, or outlook don't divide quite like that. The bits don't
separate clearly. You end up a funny homogeneous mixture. This is something that
will become more common in the latter part of the centurypeople with mixed
cultural backgrounds, and mixed racial backgrounds. That's the way the world is
going.[11]
In a 1990 interview, he said, "If I wrote under a pseudonym and got somebody else
to pose for my jacket photographs, I'm sure nobody would think of saying, 'This guy
reminds me of that Japanese writer.'"[10]Although some Japanese writers have had
a distant influence on his writingJun'ichir Tanizakiis the one he most frequently
citesIshiguro has said that Japanese films, especially those ofYasujir
OzuandMikio Naruse, have been a more significant influence.[12]

Ishiguro (front) with the cast of theNever Let Me Gofilm in 2010


A number of his novels are set in the past.Never Let Me Gohasscience
fictionqualities and afuturistictone; however, it is set in the 1980s and 1990s, and
thus takes place in a very similarparallel world. His fourth novel,The Unconsoled,
takes place in an unnamedCentral Europeancity.The Remains of the Dayis set in
the large country house of an English lord in the period surroundingWorld War II.[13]
An Artist of the Floating Worldis set in an unnamed Japanese city during the period
of reconstruction following Japan's surrender in 1945. The narrator is forced to come
to terms with his part in World War II. He finds himself blamed by the new generation
who accuse him of being part of Japan's misguided foreign policy and is forced to
confront the ideals of themodern timesas represented by his grandson. Ishiguro
said of his choice of time period, "I tend to be attracted to pre-war and postwar
settings because Im interested in this business of values and ideals being tested,
and people having to face up to the notion that their ideals werent quite what they
thought they were before the test came."[11]
His novels (with the exception ofThe Buried Giant) are written in thefirst-person
narrativestyle and thenarratorsoften exhibit human failings. Ishiguro's technique is
to allow these characters to reveal their flaws implicitly during the narrative. The
author thus creates a sense ofpathosby allowing the reader to see the narrator's
flaws while being drawn to sympathise with the narrator as well. This pathos is often
derived from the narrator's actions, or, more often, inaction. InThe Remains of the
Day, the butler Stevens fails to act on his romantic feelings towards housekeeper
Miss Kenton because he cannot reconcile his sense of service with his personal life.
[14]
Ishiguro's novels often end without any sense of resolution. The issues his
characters confront are buried in the past and remain unresolved. Thus Ishiguro
ends many of his novels on a note of melancholic resignation. His characters accept
their past and who they have become, typically discovering that this realisation
brings comfort and an ending to mental anguish. This can be seen as a literary
reflection on the Japanese idea ofmono no aware. Ishiguro countsFyodor
DostoyevskyandMarcel Proustamongst his influences. His works have also been
compared toSalman Rushdie,Jane Austen, andHenry James, though Ishiguro
himself rejects these comparisons.[15]
In 2017, Ishiguro was awarded theNobel Prize in Literature, because "in novels of
great emotional force, [he] has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of
connection with the world".[3]In response to receiving the award, Ishiguro stated:
It's a magnificent honour, mainly because it means that I'm in the footsteps of the
greatest authors that have lived, so that's a terrific commendation. The world is in a
very uncertain moment and I would hope all the Nobel Prizes would be a force for
something positive in the world as it is at the moment. I'll be deeply moved if I could
in some way be part of some sort of climate this year in contributing to some sort of
positive atmosphere at a very uncertain time.[8]
In an interview after the announcement of the Nobel Prize, he said "I've always said
throughout my career that although I've grown up in this country and I'm educated in
this country, 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"
and "I have always looked at the world through my parents eyes.[16][17]

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