“Beloved in the West, scorned by Japanese literati, Haruki Murakami tries to make his own world, a realm of jazz and rhythmic writing.”
Ben Naparstek in the Melbourne Age:
HARUKI MURAKAMI would seem the very picture of the Japanese writer-prophet. He gazes out over the rooftops of Tokyo’s chic suburb of Ayoama, speaking in low, urgent tones about Japan’s rightward lurch.
“I am worrying about my country,” says the 57-year-old writer, widely considered Japan’s Nobel laureate-in-waiting. “I feel I have a responsibility as a novelist to do something.”
He is particularly concerned about Tokyo’s popular governor, the novelist Shintaro Ishihara. “Ishihara is a very dangerous man. He is an agitator. He hates China.”
As Murakami discusses plans to make a public statement opposing Ishihara, and weave an anti-nationalist subtext into his next novel, it’s hard to recognise the writer often derided by the Tokyo literati as an apathetic pop artist – a threat to the political engagement of Japanese fiction.