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Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids

It takes a lot to destroy tradition, to uproot a society that has not changed for hundreds upon hundreds of years, yet, it can happen. Japanese society was largely un-influenced by Western society. Instead of submitting to Western imperialism, as China had, Japan became an imperial power. As the 20th century wore on, Japan grew stronger and stronger. Nonetheless, in World War II, Japan's enemy, namely the United States, destroyed the very bonds that had held Japan together since the beginning. Japanese author Kenzaburo Oe expresses the demise of the Japanese culture of self-protection into selfishness in his novel Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids (Also known as "Pluck the Bud and Destroy the Offspring). A group of 15 reformatory boys are sent to live in a remote village in the Japanese mountains towards the end of the war. From their arrival to their abandonment to their community to their destruction, the boys are self-protective and attempt to hold on to their spirit of camaraderie that has been instilled in them since they were young. The reason that this novel is so interesting is because it is a reversal of roles; instead of the elders trying to salvage tradition, it is the kids. Instead of only fighting for their best interests, the boys stick together. Their self-protection creates a community in Japan similar to those found before the war "sent its mass insanity flooding into the convolutions of people's feelings" (26). The novel was translated into English by Paul St. John Mackintosh and Maki Sugiyama. It was Oe's first novel, written when he was only 23. He won the 1994 Nobel Prize for Literature. It reminded me of William Golding's Lord of the Flies, yet it wasn't the same at all. I hope you enjoy reading it! Rating: ★★★★★

State of Wonder

One Year!