(January 12, 1949)
He is a Japanese writer, translator and academic.
It has been translated into about fifty languages and its best sellers have sold millions of copies. His fiction works have earned critical acclaim and numerous awards, both in Japan and internationally.
The most famous works include “A Wild Sheep Chase” (1982), “Norwegian Wood” (1987), “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle” (1994-1995), “Kafka on the Shore” (2002), and “1Q84” (2009–2010). He also translated many works from English to Japanese, ranging from Raymond Carver to J. D. Salinger.
Haruki Murakami was born in Kyoto during the post-World War II birth boom. Father Chiaki is the son of a Buddhist monk from Kyoto from whom he inherits the role of prior of the temple. Previously, however, he taught Japanese literature at the Kōyō Gakuinishi school in Nishinomiya, where he met his future wife Miyuki, also a teacher, daughter of shopkeepers from Senba. In 1950 the family moved to Ashiya, a small town in Hyogo prefecture, where Murakami attended the Seidō municipal middle school which is located in the residential neighborhood near his home. Subsequently he enrolled in the Kobe high school, in Kobe, renowned institute of preparation for the entrance exams to the best universities. In Kobe Murakami, who has already been able to freely read through the reads thanks to his father, he encounters books by foreign authors, especially English-speaking, then begins to write in the school newspaper.
After failing the admission exam to the state university for the first time and having spent a year as a rōnin, in April 1968 he arrived in Tōkyō to study dramaturgy at the Waseda University’s Faculty of Arts; he graduated in 1975 with a thesis on the idea of travel in American cinema.
In these years he deepens more and more the relationship with Takahashi Yōko which, from simple friendship, turns into a relationship that flows into marriage in 1971.
For one year Murakami stops attending university and starts working for a television channel. Due to dissatisfaction in the workplace he decides to open a jazz bar with his wife, thanks to the loans obtained from a bank and the money earned by the couple, working in a record shop during the day and in a café in the evening. The bar opened in Kokubunji (Tokyo), in 1974, and is called “Peter cat”, named after a cat that the writer had had with him a few years earlier and then left to a friend of his in the countryside.
Murakami prepared cocktails, put music, read books and listened to people; as he himself admitted, this experience has been invaluable for his training as a writer. In 1977 the jazz bar was moved to a more central area of Tokyo. The new restaurant has a huge Cheshire cat as its sign and inside everything (tables, sticks, cups, matches and so on) is decorated with cats.
Murakami has lived up to now interested in his two passions: music and literature, focusing mainly on the first, aware of not yet having the necessary experience to write a book. In April 1978, however, he suddenly discovered his literary vocation, and thus began the drafting of his debut novel, “Hear the Wind Sing” (Kaze no uta o kike), published in 1979. Thanks to it he won the prize for best rookie. The following year he published “Pinball, 1973” (1973-nen no pinbōru), while the publication of “A Wild Sheep Chase” (Hitsuji or meguru bōken) dates back to 1982, which earned him the Noma prize for emerging writers.