The Daily Manila Shimbun


People Have “Instinct” to Reconcile: Kazuo Ishiguro

July 4, 2018

London- Japanese-born British author Kazuo Ishiguro said Tuesday that he believes people have "an instinct" to reconcile.

"I think individual people and individual families have an instinct to understand each other and reconcile," the Nobel laureate in literature in 2017 told a news conference held in London, referring to the reconciliation between Japan and Britain after World War II.

Ishiguro, 63, who was born to Japanese parents in the city of Nagasaki, said he was "amazed at how helpful people were" when he moved to Britain at the age of five with his family in 1960, only 15 years after the end of the war.

"They went out of their way to make sure that our family was comfortable and that we understood how British society worked," he said.

During the war, some 57,000 British soldiers were captured by the Japanese Imperial Army and put into prison camps for forced labor, causing anti-Japanese sentiment to grow strong in Britain as a whole.

Ishiguro pointed out that often hatreds are preserved between nations "by politicians and the media."

"But often I found that at the individual level people's instincts were always to welcome us, even though I would then read in newspapers much more stereotypical images and portrayal of the wartime Japanese enemy," he went on to say.

The reconciliation between Japan and Britain as well as the United States "provides a great model for what can happen after a war," Ishiguro said. "Very deep friendships can be formed despite the very bitter war."

On Tuesday, he was honored by the southwestern Japan city and Nagasaki Prefecture. Jiji Press