Five Things You Didn’t Know about Kazuo Ishiguro

Kazuo Ishiguro is a British writer who was born in Japan but moved with the rest of his family to England when he was still at the age of five. Primarily, he is famous for being a novelist, but it should be noted that he has written other things such as screenplays and short stories. Recently, Ishiguro has been in the news because he has won the Nobel Prize in Literature, thus cementing his status as one of the leading writers in the English-speaking world.

Here are five things that you may or may not have known about Kazuo Ishiguro:

Between Two Worlds

Like a lot of people who have grown up in two or more countries, Ishiguro is an interesting mix of influences, which provides him with a perspective that is neither wholly Japanese nor wholly English. He has stated that he is not a half-Japanese, half-English person because people are not so simple and straightforward that they can be divided up in that manner. Instead, he is himself, a homogeneous whole that is a mix of both sides of his heritage.

Doesn’t Follow Japanese Fiction

Speaking of which, Ishiguro has stated that while he is in touch with Japanese values to some extent because of his parents, he is not so familiar with Japanese fiction. Something that explains why his fiction bears little resemblance to the fiction that comes out of Japan.

Used a Fictional Japan in His Initial Novels

Ishiguro used a Japanese setting for his first two novels. However, it is interesting to note that he used the fictional Japan of his imagination rather than the real Japan. This is because when his family moved to England in 1959, he did not return to Japan until 1989. As a result, his mental idea of Japan was shaped at least as much by his strong emotional connection to the place as by his actual recollection.

Likes Flawed Narrators

Primarily, Ishiguro is known for using first-person narrators who have flaws that are revealed in an implicit rather than an explicit manner within the narrative. However, these flaws are combined with a narrative that enable the reader to sympathize with the narrators, thus resulting in a sense of pathos. Sometimes, this can happen because of a narrator’s action, whereas other times, this can happen because of a narrator’s refusal to take action. It is interesting to note that a number of Ishiguro’s novels have no sense of the resolution that is so common in other novels, thus providing them with something of a melancholic feel to them that is rather reminiscent of the sense of transience that is such an important part of Japanese culture.

Married with One Child

Ishiguro met a woman named Lorna MacDougall at a charity called West London Cyrenian in Notting Hill, which is one of the wealthier places that can be found in West London. At the time, Ishiguro was working as a residential resettlement worker for said charity. Regardless, the two got along well, with the result that they got married in 1986. Since that time, they have continued living in London, where they have since had a daughter named Naomi.

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