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Haruki Murakami
村上 春樹
Murakami in 2009
Murakami in 2009
Born January 12, 1949 (1949-01-12) (age 73)
Fushimi-ku, Kyoto, Japan
Occupation Novelist, short-story writer, essayist, translator
Nationality Japanese
Alma mater Waseda University
Genre Fiction, surrealism, magical realism, postmodernism, Bildungsroman, picaresque, realism
Notable works
  • A Wild Sheep Chase (1982)
  • Norwegian Wood (1987)
  • The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (1994–95)
  • Kafka on the Shore (2002)
  • 1Q84 (2010)

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Haruki Murakami (村上 春樹 , Murakami Haruki, born January 12, 1949) is a Japanese writer. His books and stories have been bestsellers in Japan as well as internationally, with his work being translated into 50 languages and selling millions of copies outside his native country. His work has received numerous awards, including the World Fantasy Award, the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, the Franz Kafka Prize, and the Jerusalem Prize.

Murakami's most notable works include A Wild Sheep Chase (1982), Norwegian Wood (1987), The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (1994–95), Kafka on the Shore (2002), and 1Q84 (2009–10). He has also translated works by writers like Raymond Carver and J. D. Salinger into Japanese.

Despite one of his books, 1Q84, being ranked in Japan as the best work of fiction published in Japan's Heisei era (1989–2019), his fiction is sometimes criticised by Japan's literary establishment as un-Japanese. Murakami is influenced by western writers from Chandler to Vonnegut by way of Brautigan. Murakami's fiction is frequently surrealistic and melancholic or fatalistic, marked by a Kafkaesque rendition of the "recurrent themes of alienation and loneliness" he weaves into his narratives. Steven Poole of The Guardian praised Murakami as "among the world's greatest living novelists" for his works and achievements.

Biography

Murakami was born in Kyoto, Japan, during the post-World War II baby boom and raised in Nishinomiya, Ashiya and Kobe. He is an only child. His father was the son of a Buddhist priest, and his mother is the daughter of an Osaka merchant. Both taught Japanese literature.

His father, according to an article published for Japanese magazine BungeiShunju titled “Abandoning a Cat: What I Talk About When I Talk About My Father”, was involved in the Second Sino-Japanese War, and was deeply traumatized by it, which would in turn affect Murakami.

Since childhood, Murakami, similarly to Kōbō Abe, has been heavily influenced by Western culture, particularly Western as well as Russian music and literature. He grew up reading a wide range of works by European and American writers, such as Franz Kafka, Gustave Flaubert, Charles Dickens, Kurt Vonnegut, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Richard Brautigan and Jack Kerouac. These Western influences distinguish Murakami from the majority of other Japanese writers.

Murakami studied drama at Waseda University in Tokyo, where he met Yoko, now his wife. His first job was at a record store. Shortly before finishing his studies, Murakami opened a coffee house and jazz bar, Peter Cat, in Kokubunji, Tokyo, which he ran with his wife, from 1974 to 1981. The couple decided not to have children.

Murakami is an experienced marathon runner and triathlon enthusiast, though he did not start running until he was 33 years old. On June 23, 1996, he completed his first ultramarathon, a 100 km race around Lake Saroma in Hokkaido, Japan. He discusses his relationship with running in his 2008 memoir What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.

Works

Novels

  • Hear the Wind Sing (1979)
  • Pinball, 1973 (1980)
  • A Wild Sheep Chase (1982)
  • Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World (1985)
  • Norwegian Wood (1987)
  • Dance Dance Dance (1988)
  • South of the Border, West of the Sun (1992)
  • The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (1995)
  • Sputnik Sweetheart (1999)
  • Kafka on the Shore (2002)
  • After Dark (2004)
  • 1Q84 (2009)
  • Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage (2013)
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