Episode 28: Haruki Murakami

Check out Episode 28 of the Read Literature podcast.

Transcript available.

In this episode, we’re talking about one of the most important voices in modern Japanese literature, Haruki Murakami.

  • His biography
  • Why so many people have such strong feelings about his writing
  • And his short story “TV People”

We’ll end with what I like best about this much loved (and much hated) author.

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More by Haruki Murakami:

The New Yorker’s complete list of Murakami stories available to read on their website. Free, but with a view limit.

This episode also mentions:

Find Out More

Murakami’s official English-language website.

Tokyo Weekender’s “List of 7: The Best Haruki Murakami Novels”, 2023. Compiled by Matthew Hernon.
Gitte Marianne Hansen on “How to Read Haruki Murakami the Japanese Way”, 2023. Via The Conversation.

Charmaine Esmerelda writes about Haruki Murakami’s cover art, including work by John Gall featured on the art for this RJL episode, 2020. Via Medium.

Kaori Shoji explains why Murakami is still worth reading. Via the Japanese Subculture Research Center, 2022.

Murakami on “The Moment [He] Became a Novelist”, 2015. Via LitHub. Translated by Ted Goossen.

Read Japanese Literature writes about “Aum Anxiety” in contemporary Japanese fiction, with a special focus on the work of Haruki Murakami, 2021.

Deep Dive Japan Podcast takes up “Haruki Murakami’s New Novel”, 2023. Podcast episode + transcript. 33 minutes. Morales serves as the Murakami expert, and you can find more of his work at howtojapanese.com.

Scott Spencer of Nihongobookreview.com discusses the not-yet-translated The City and Its Uncertain Walls, 2023.

Haruki Murakami and Mieko Kawakami discuss Murakami’s female characters, 2017—translated into English in 2020. Via LitHub. Translated by Sam Bett and David Boyd.

RJL looks at Murakami’s Killing Commendatore, 2020.

Japanese Literature at Facebook

Japanese Literature at Goodreads

Other RJL Episodes of Interest:


Buruma, Ian. “Becoming Japanese” in The New Yorker, 1996. (free, article limit)

Buchanan, Rowan Hisayo. “Who You’re Reading When You Read Haruki Murakami” in The Atlantic, 2020. (free)

Chilton, Myles. “Realist Magic and the Invented Tokyos of Murakami Haruki and Yoshimoto Banana” in Journal of Narrative Theory, 2009.

Fincher, Alison. “Aum Anxiety” at ReadJapaneseLiterature.com, 2021. (free)

–. “Killing Commendatore; or, What the Hell Is a Double Metaphor” at ReadJapaneseLiterature.com, 2020. (free)

Gordon, Andrew. A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present, 4th ed. OUP, 2019.

Hutchinson, Rachel and Leith Morton. “Introduction” in Routledge Handbook of Modern Japanese Literature, ed. Rachael Hutchinson and Leith Morton, 2016.

Kahan, Kim. “Fighting for Modern Japan: The University Protests of 1968-69” at Tokyo Weekender, 2023. (free)

Karashima, David. Who We’re Reading When We’re Reading Murakami. Soft Skull, 2020.

Kelts, Roland. “The Harukists, Disappointed” in The New Yorker, 2012. (free, article limit)

Harding, John Wesley. “Haruki Murakami” (Interview) at Bombsite, 1994. (free via Web Archive)

Morales, Daniel, Patrick St. Michel, and Shaun McKenna. “Haruki Murakami’s New Novel. Plus, Allegations Resurgence in J-Pop” at Deep Dive: Looking Beneath the Surface of Japan (podcast episode transcript), 2023. (free)

Murakami Haruki. “Abandoning a Cat” (translated by Philip Gabriel) in The New Yorker, 2019. (free, article limit)

Murakami Haruki. “Haruki Murakami: The Moment I Became a Novelist” (translated by Ted Goossen) at LitHub, 2015. (free)

Murakami Haruki. “Introduction” in The Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories, ed. Jay Rubin, Penguin, 2020.

Murakami Haruki. “TV People” (translated by Alfred Birnbaum) in The Elephant Vanishes. Vintage, 1993.

Murakami Haruki. “A Walk to Kobe” (translated by Philip Gabriel) at Granta, 2013. (free)

–. “Speaking as an Unrealistic Dreamer” (translated by Emanuel Pastreich) at The Asia-Pacific Journal, 2011. (free)

Murakami Haruki and Maik Grossekathöfer. “When I Run I Am in a Peaceful Place: Interview with Haruki Murakami” at Spiegel, 2008. (free via Web Archive)

Murakami Haruki and John Wesley Harding. “Haruki Murakami (interview)” at BOMB Magazine, 1994. (free via Web Archive)

Murakami Haruki and Mieko Kawakami. “A Feminist Critique of Murakami’s Novels, with Murakami Himself” (interview.” Translated by Sam Bett and David Boyd, at LitHub, 2020. (free)

Murakami Haruki and Deborah Treisman. “The Underground Worlds of Haruki Murakami” in The New Yorker, 2019. (free, article limit)

Murakami Haruki and John Wray. “Haruki Murakami, The Art of Fiction No. 182” in The Paris Review, 2004. (free)

Murakami Haruki, Yutaka Yukawa, and Tetsuro Koyama. “Darkness and Forgiveness: Haruki Murakami Reflects on Power and Violence in the World and Literature” in The Japan Times, 2019.

Naparstek, Ben. “The Lone Wolf” in The Age, 2006. (free)

Napier, Susan J. “The Magic of Identity: Magic Realism in Modern Japanese Fiction” in Magical Realism: Theory, History, Community. Edited by Lois Parkinson Zamora and Wendy B. Faris, Duke UP, 1995.

Oe Kenzaburo. “Japan’s Dual Identity: A Writer’s Dilemma” in World Literature Today, 1988.

Rubin, Jay. Haruki Murakami and the Music of Words. Random House, 2002.

Shoji Kaori. “Driving in Winter with Haruki Murakami” at Japanese Subculture Research Center, 2022. (free)

Snider, Grant. “Murakami Bingo” in The New York Times, 2014. (free, article limit)

Spencer, Scott. “街とその不確かな壁 (‘The City And Its Uncertain Walls’)” at Nihongobookreview.com, 2023. (free)

Spencer, Scott. “村上春樹はノーベル賞をとれるのか? (‘Could Haruki Murakami Get the Nobel Prize?’)” at Nihongobookreview.com, 2021. (free)

Spencer, Scott. “村上春樹{訳}: 短篇再読 (‘Haruki Murakami As Translator: A Second Look At The Short Stories’)” at Nihongobookreview.com, 2017. (free)

Stretcher, Matthew Carl. Dances with Sheep: The Quest for Identity in the Fiction of Murakami Haruki, U of MI, 2002. (free via Open Access)

Updike, John. “Subconscious Tunnels: Haruki Murakami’s Dreamlike New Novel” in The New Yorker, 2005. (free, article limit)

Vasile, Adelina. “Cat Imagery in Haruki Murakami’s Fiction” in Analele Universitatii Crestine Dimitrie Cantemir, Seria Stiintele Limbii,Literaturii si Didactica predarii, 2012. (free)

Yamaguchi, Mari. “Murakami’s 1st Novel in 6 Years to Hit Stores in April” at APNews.com, 2023. (free)

Williams, Richard. “Marathon Man” in The Guardian, 2003. (free)

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