Haruki Murakami

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Haruki Murakami (村上春樹) is a world famous contemporary and surrealist author and translator. Murakami has written several dozen books, poems and short stories, and his work is considered so original that he has his own cult following.

While he is most well known for his story writing, Murakami also works as an English to Japanese translator. He has translated works by F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Irving, Tim O'brien, Truman Capote, and Paul Theroux.

Haruki Murakami is married but has no children, citing a varying idealism from his parents.


Murakami was born on January 12th, 1949 in Kyoto to a Buddhist priest father. Throughout his young life he was an avid reader, particularly interested in Western style writing. He majored in Theater Arts at Waseda University. It was not until April of 1974 that Murakami was first inspired to write his first novel while attending a baseball game with his wife. The story is that he watched an American named Dave Hilton come to bat for the Yakult Swallows and hit a double against the Hiroshima Carp. That night he went home and immediately began his first novel.

Novelist Career

Murakami’s work is considered “pop literature” because the artist works with both humorous and dream-like storylines. He receives a great deal of criticism for his work, but at the same time his unique style of writing has gained him international notoriety. Many of his stories deal with loss, cunfusion and destruction. His work has been translated into over 40 languages across the world.

His first book was titled “Kaze no uta o kike” which was translated to “Hear the Wind Song.” Since then, he has written over 11 other novels including:

  • Hear the Wind Sing
  • Pinball, 1973
  • A Wild Sheep Chase
  • Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
  • Norwegian Wood
  • Dance Dance Dance
  • South of the Border, West of the Sun
  • The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
  • Sputnik Sweetheart
  • Kafka on the Shore
  • After Dark
  • Strange Tales from Tokyo

In addition, Murakami has had several short story anthologies published, including “The Elephant Vanishes,” “Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman,” and “After the Quake.” The Elephant Vanishes is one of his most well known works and has gained international acclaim.

Murakami has also created a number of essays and travel articles as well as other written works. Some of his books have adapted for film, with many of his short stories turning into full length feature films. The film adaptation of Norwegian Wood is scheduled to be released in 2010.

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