Ogiyo Iora 荻世いをら (*1983) can be seen as a new type of author during the Heisei era of Japan (1989-2019) – a newcomer of relatively short-lived success, whose debut novel Kōen 公園 [„Garten“] won the 43rd Bungei Prize in 2006, as well as an introverted youngster writing highly emotional fiction, an Emo type. Being influenced at university by a creative writing course from Akutagawa-award winning author Henmi Yō (*1944), Ogiyo started writing immediately about his soon to end student life in Japan. In Kōen, Ogiyo explores through his first-person narrator the psychology of student moratorium on the run, following him and his friend through Japan all the way to New York City.
My paper aims to discuss this “moratorium” found in Kōen and zero nendai literature as lack of maturity and identity crisis, a prolonged youth. The term was first described by German-American developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst Erik Erikson in 1966, and popularized in Japan by Okonogi Keigo (1930-2003), also describing a new generation after the end of counterculture, a society focusing instead on work and consumerism. Reading Kōen as both a student and a coming of age novel, I want to discuss how Ogiyo through his description of wandering through Japan and abroad highlights a key element of university life during the Heisei era – students unready for real life to start as shakaijin 社会人, as productive part of Japanese neoliberal society, as well as a self-centeredness in a highly stressful albeit unpolitical environment,