LONDON – British author Kazuo Ishiguro, winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in literature, said Wednesday he was happy to learn that people in Japan celebrated his recognition.
Ishiguro was born in Nagasaki in 1954 and moved at age 5 to Britain, where he still lives and writes in English.
“I’ve been very touched … by the emotion with which people in Japan seem to have received this news,” he said at a news conference in Stockholm. “I hope the Japanese people can feel proud of this victory, just as people in Britain feel proud of this victory.”
Ishiguro said the Nobel prize “symbolizes something that people all around the world wish for, which is that human beings strive together, not in competition,” and “try and actually improve our civilization.”
The award ceremony is scheduled for Sunday in Stockholm.
Ishiguro said his mother was a victim of the U.S. atomic bombing of Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945, in the closing days of World War II.
“So in a way, I’ve grown up under the shadow of” the atomic bombing, he said.
“I hope that somehow we can continue to live in safety, although our world is becoming increasingly dangerous,” Ishiguro said.
He also said he was happy that the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a coalition of international nongovernmental organizations, won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.
The award put a renewed spotlight on the nuclear issue, he said.
“I applaud this new generation of people who have created ICAN,” he said.
Following the end of the Cold War, Ishiguro said, people seemed to assume that nuclear weapons would disappear.
But “the weapons are there” and “seem to be moving around … in less controlled hands,” he said.