Pop Master

Outside looking in
Author in Focus
Garbage Dissect Our Modern Age

Break on through
The elusive Murakami

The Postmodern in Murakamis Novels
Terrorism before WTC
Japanese writer probes souls dark kingdom
Big in Japan
The healer
Murakami shares his thougts with students
A Japanese Novelist in Search of Lost Ideals
Inner space
Haruki Murakami does Seattle
Overview of the hard-boiled fiction of hm
The other Speech
dancing as fast as he can
Tokyo Prose
A Voice from Postmodern Japan
The American Scene
Hi Mr Haruki Murakami
The Return from the Lost world
Presents from the dead

Roland Kelts
The Healer
  September 23, 1999


Novelist Haruki Murakami bridges the distance between inner and outer Japanese landscapes with American flair.

Haruki Murakami’s first job was managing an American-style jazz bar, so it’s not a complete surprise when Japan’s premier contemporary novelist reveals to me several tiers of LPs by way of an introduction. We’re on the second floor of his writing studio in Tokyo’s tony Aoyama neighborhood. Outside the streets are ablaze with sun and heat, but in here, everything’s cool.



My eyes widen at the wall of albums, and Murakami nods. “That’s only half of them,” he says, a fraction of a grin on his lips.
At 50, Haruki-san (as he’s called by his duo of tea-serving assistants) could be something of an elder-statesman of Japan’s literary scene. Before Banana Yoshimoto or Amy Yamada were blips on the unborn Amazon-dot-com, Murakami was unveiling his vision of an urbanized, phantasmagorical and disturbingly lonely Japan that bore little resemblance to the land of geisha-girl infantalization and samurai nobility — the fairy-tale world that is still so dear to Americans in search of Eastern fantasies.


Here was a writer who knew his way around pop icons, who adopted American voices to tell Japanese stories, who employed streetwise locutions and fast-food monikers in dreamlike tales.


His insights into the real undertows of a modern corporate society made him hip and famous; published in 1987, his third novel, Norwegian Wood, sold four million copies.


His magnum opus, 1997’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, was reviewed in the awed tones reserved for a new Pynchon or DeLillo.
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