No Place Like Murakami’s: Famed Author Answers Fan Questions


On January 15, novelist Murakami Haruki started answering questions from his fans at the website Murakami-san no tokoro (Murakami’s Place). In less than a week, he has already responded to over 100 inquiries.

Some have sought advice on interpreting his novels, such as a Chinese student who wasn’t sure if 1Q84 was about the purity of human nature or simply pornographic. “I write sexual scenes, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy doing so,” Murakami was keen to point out. “I write them because they’re necessary to the story. It’s highly embarrassing to write about things like that.” Ultimately he resisted any kind of interpretation. “What I wanted to convey through 1Q84 was simply the book itself. As a whole. You can’t break it up into parts.”

Another reader wanted to know his views on same-sex marriage, as his latest novel Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage depicts a homosexual relationship. “I have very many gay friends and acquaintances,” Murakami replied, stating that he knows many people in same-sex marriages in the United States. “They are all very happy that they were able to marry. It’s a good thing. Which is to say, I support same-sex marriage.”

He has also found time to share his views on life after death. “I think that after I die, I just want to take a restful sleep. I don’t want heaven or hell or a cabaret club. I just want to quietly sleep without being bothered by anyone. Though I think I’d like to eat a little fried oyster from time to time.”

Murakami confesses his failure to get through Marcel Proust’s mammoth In Search of Lost Time as a high school student, stating that he may never get around to finishing it. He hedges on naming a favorite Japanese author, saying he prefers not to talk about currently active writers from Japan, but expresses a liking for Kazuo Ishiguro, Cormac McCarthy, Russell Banks, and Donna Tartt. And he’s also a fan of Breaking Bad, telling one fan, “It’s the first show that’s captivated me since Lost.”

Asking questions by email wasn’t enough for one woman, who wondered whether Murakami would ever hold a special event to greet his fans. “It’s my dream to meet you one day.” The author responded that he often shakes hands with fans at autograph sessions. “I was kissed by a lot of girls at a session in Barcelona,” he remembers. “There are many beautiful girls in Barcelona. Of course, there are many in Japan too . . .”

Murakami’s Place will be open for questions until January 31.

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