A winner of numerous Japanese literary prizes, Oe came to manhood during World War II and the occupation. In college, he studied Jean-Paul Sartre and absorbed many popular leftist ideas. These influences appear in his early writings, which often deal with contemporary issues. With the birth of his deformed son, father and son became the new focus of his work. A blend of the personal and the political, rendered by a powerful and poetic imagination, continues to distinguish Oe's work.