Kōbō Abe (real name Kimifusa Abe, 1924–1993) was one of the most avant-garde and interesting Japanese writers of the 20th century, often compared to Franz Kafka due to his surreal take on the role of an individual in society. He saw himself as a human being without roots, without a home: his parents came from different parts of Japan, and he grew in Manchuria. He read Western philosophers and drew inspiration from the works of Kafka, as well as Dostoyevski and Poe.
In his youth, he was strongly associated with the Communist movement and published in its spirit poems and articles. However, the attempts of the Communist Party, which he was a member of, to restrict his creative freedom, and his criticism of USSR’s politics resulted in Abe being removed from the party. He began to spread his wings as a novelist at that time, and his most famous work, Woman in the Dunes, brought him international recognition. A film based on the novel and directed by Hiroshi Teshigara became vastly popular; the director also filmed three other books by the writer. Abe left behind numerous novels, plays and collections of short stories, with which he paved the way for modern writers of oneiric works, full of symbolism and magic realism.