The Google Doodle for today honours Fumiko Enchi, a Japanese feminist and author who achieved literary fame in the years following World War II, on her 118th birthday. About the unequal home lifestyles that women were expected to endure, she authored multiple plays and novels. Her fictional creations reflected her personal experiences exactly and changed as her life and profession did.
On this day in 1905, Enchi was born in Tokyo. She was introduced to the craft of storytelling at a young age by her grandmother, who took her to see kabuki theatre. Enchi wrote and published A Birthplace, her debut play, when she was just 21 years old.
Unfortunately, the author’s illness and the loss of her home during World War II forced her to just withdraw from the world of literature. Enchi finally found her way back to the writing desk and began to concentrate more on fiction, crafting stories that examined the gender inequality, lack of equality, and unfair treatment of women brought on by the patriarchal society in Japan. For her short piece Starving Days, she received the Women’s Literature Prize in 1953.
Enchi continued to write books with strong, introspective female protagonists for the rest of her career. She took inspiration from works produced by women throughout the Heian era and used themes including ageing, desire, maternity, and more. These topics were given a contemporary spin by Enchi’s expressive voice, solidifying her status as a preeminent author in Japan.
The Waiting Years (1957), Masks (1958), and A Tale of False Fortunes (1965) are a few of her most well-known works. The greatest honour a Japanese citizen may earn, the Bunka Kunsho (or Order of Culture), was given to Enchi in 1985. She was also chosen to join the Japan Art Academy, which is the top organisation in the country for honouring talented artists.
Happy birthday, Fumiko Enchi!
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