Japan Data

The Murakami Haruki Chronicle: Celebrated Author Turns 70

Arts Books

A look back at the career and works of international bestselling author and rumored Nobel Prize candidate Murakami Haruki.

Internationally acclaimed Japanese author Murakami Haruki turns 70 on January 12, 2019. Regularly touted as a candidate for the Nobel Prize for Literature, Murakami is known for novels that bring together lonely narrators, mysterious happenings, and musical references. His works enjoy broad appeal and have been translated into more than 50 languages.

Murakami Haruki’s Career to Date

1949 Born in Kyoto.
1975 Graduates from Waseda University with a degree in film and drama.
1979 Wins the Gunzō Prize for New Writers and nominated for the Akutagawa Prize for his debut novel Hear the Wind Sing.
1980 Nominated for the Akutagawa Prize for Pinball, 1973.
1981 Publishes his first Japanese translation, a collection of F. Scott Fitzgerald stories titled Mai rosuto shitī (My Lost City). Consisting mainly of short fiction, it takes its name from the concluding autobiographical essay.
1982 Wins the Noma Literary Prize for A Wild Sheep Chase.
1985 Wins the Tanizaki Jun'ichirō Prize for Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.
1987 Success of Norwegian Wood propels him to celebrity status in Japan. To date, the novel has sold more than 10 million copies in Japanese.
1996 Wins the Yomiuri Literature Prize for The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.
2003 Publishes a Japanese translation of JD Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye that becomes a best-seller in Japan.
2006 Wins the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award for his collection Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel for Kafka on the Shore, and the Franz Kafka Prize, fueling media speculation about being awarded the Nobel Prize.
2008 Receives honorary doctorate from Princeton University and wins the inaugural Berkeley Japan Prize awarded by the Center for Japanese Studies at University of California, Berkeley.
2009 Wins the Mainichi Publishing Culture Award for 1Q84 and awarded the Jerusalem Prize and the Order of Arts and Letters of Spain.
2011 Wins the International Catalunya Prize.
2016 Wins the Hans Christian Andersen Literature Award.
2017 Publishes his latest novel, Killing Commendatore.
2018 Nominated for the New Academy Prize—established to substitute for the Nobel Prize in Literature, which was not awarded—but chooses to withdraw himself from the running. Announces he will donate manuscripts and other materials to his alma mater Waseda University, which is planning to set up a center for studying his works.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo: Murakami Haruki at a press conference at Waseda University on November 4, 2018. © Jiji.)

literature Murakami Haruki Nobel Prize