Friday, May 31, 2013

How to prepare for Haruki Murakami's new novel

A blogger, Johnny Stategy has put together a "collection of music and literature that are all referenced in the Japanese novel (“Shikisai wo Motanai Tazaki Tsukuru to, Kare no Junrei no Toshi”)."

To read it go to his blog Spoon & Tamago:

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Chiaki Ishihara on Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and endings of novels

Chiaki Ishihara, a literature professor from Waseda University who encouraged us in May to "enjoy this Murakamifest a little longer" is now predicting that it may end sooner rather than later because of the novel's inconclusive ending.

筆の置き方で決まる 早稲田大学教授・石原千秋

2013.5.26 09:24 
To read the whole story go to:

Our first comment from a translator who is working on the Dutch translation of the novel

James Westerhoven is currently working on the Dutch translation of Colorless Tazaki Tsukuru.  Here are some thoughts he shared with us:
One question I intend to ask Murakami once I have worked my way through the entire text concerns the transliteration of the name 沙羅. You’d think that “Sara” would do the trick, but this girl’s full name is 「木元沙羅」.「 沙羅」is also the Japanese orthography for the shala or sal tree (Shorea robusta), which just happens to be the tree under which the Buddha was born and died (depending on which tradition you believe). Considering the girl’s role in the book—and also in view of the fact that Murakami goes to considerable lengths to explain the meaning of Tsukuru’s own name—I wouldn’t be surprised if Murakami had intended her name symbolically (Ki-moto). After all, she pretty much seems to save Tsukuru. Writing her name as “Sala” seems a good alternative, at this stage. I should point out that Jay Rubin in his translation of after the quake uses the same spelling for the name of the little girl in “Honey pie."
Birth of Buddha

Sala tree flower
Sala tree

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Korean translation expected in July!

Korean translation will once again be the first available on the market, the publisher, Minumsa announced yesterday having won the bidding war over the rights to Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki. 

Game over: Minumsa wins Murakami sweepstakes

Read the full story here:

Saturday, May 25, 2013

More on the translation

English translation of Haruki Murakami's 'Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage' announced

 “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage” (“Shikisai wo Motanai Tazaki Tsukuru to, Kare no Junrei no Toshi”) fever has been sweeping Japan since Haruki Murakami’s latest novel was unleashed on readers last month: sales exploded any commercial expectations with more than a million copies disappearing from shelves in just over a week (“It’s record-breaking, and possibly the largest advance print run ever,” said Shigeki Okawa, an editor at Bungei Shunju Ltd, of the initial 500,000 copy printing), and Lazar Berman’s recordings of Franz Liszt’s “Years of Pilgrimage,” which feature in the book, have proved so popular as to ascend several music charts.

While our Japanese counterparts have been basking in Murakami’s latest, the English-speaking world has been twiddling its thumbs and re-reading “Norwegian Wood.” The good news? The wait is over.

This week, Asahi Shinbun announced that University of Arizona professor Philip Gabriel and former Harvard University scholar Jay Rubin — responsible for translating Murakami’s “1Q84” trilogy — will undertake the task of bringing “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki” to the West.

Rubin, who is currently translating Murakami’s “Talking With Seiji Ozawa About Music,” ("Ozawa Seiji-san to, Ongaku ni Tsuite Hanashi o Suru”) was looking forward to the task.

"I'm very much interested in this book, which reminds me of 'Norwegian Wood'. But first, I will have to finish translating the book I am working on," he told Asahi Shinbun.

And readers? Translation should conclude by the end of the year, with publication forecast for 2014. If that’s too long a wait, there’s always Berlitz.

AFP reports: "Translation out next year." (But when?)

The eagerly-awaited English translation of Haruki Murakami's latest novel could hit bookstores next year, a Japanese newspaper has reported.

TOKYO: The eagerly-awaited English translation of Haruki Murakami's latest novel could hit bookstores next year, a Japanese newspaper has reported.
"Shikisai wo Motanai Tazaki Tsukuru to Kare no Junrei no Toshi (Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage)" was released last month in Japanese, with the publisher ordering a million copies in the first week.
Murakami's legion of fans around the world is waiting with bated breath for the translation, which is being worked on by University of Arizona professor Philip Gabriel, the Asahi Shimbun said.
Gabriel, who worked on the smash trilogy "1Q84" with former Harvard University scholar Jay Rubin, is expected to finish the translation by the end of this year, with publication expected next year, the paper said last week.
Murakami's latest novel tells the story of a young man struggling with an ordeal in his past, who uses the support offered by a romance to get back on his feet.
Murakami's works, which have drawn international praise and been translated into around 40 languages, include "Norwegian Wood", "Kafka on the Shore" and "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle".

Source here:

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Tsukuru Tazaki Bento

This is a bento-box lunch made by a blogger who is a true "harukist" (that is what Murakami fans are called in Japanese).   Apparently she was going to wait for the novel to come out in paperback before buying the book, but her son got her a copy from his school library.  She read and liked it.  The letters made of konbu spell "Tazaki Tsukuru."

To read the whole post go to:

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


When it comes to publishing Haruki Murakami in English, nothing is lost in translation
May 15, 2013
Best-selling author Haruki Murakami's latest novel is already a blockbuster in Japan. Once it is translated in English, it is bound to take the world by storm.
In that sense, Murakami, who is 64 and considered among the world's greatest contemporary novelists, owes much of his international popularity to his loyal team of translators.
Murakami has used English-language translators Philip Gabriel and Jay Rubin for a number of his full-length novels.
The two scholars shared their thoughts with The Asahi Shimbun about the difficulties of bringing Murakami's "world" to a global audience.
Gabriel, a professor of Japanese literature at the University of Arizona, is now translating Murakami's latest best-seller, "Shikisai o Motanai Tazaki Tsukuru to, Kare no Junrei no Toshi" (Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage).
The novel, which has sold more than 1 million copies since its release in April, is Murakami's first in three years. Gabriel and Rubin shared translation work on his previous "1Q84" trilogy.
Gabriel said Murakami approached him late last year about translating the work.
He plans to complete the translation by the year-end, with publication expected in 2014.
"It is a very realistic book, like 'Norwegian Wood'," Gabriel said in an e-mail interview. "To me, it seems more serious, even somber, compared to some of his other novels, but one ultimately that is hopeful."
The protagonist, Tsukuru Tazaki, has four close friends, whose family names represent different colors, including "Akamatsu" (red pine).
Asked what problems he encounters in translating names in Japanese kanji characters, Gabriel acknowledged that it is "a difficult aspect of the translation."
Read the full, and very interesting story here: 

NEWSWEEK: The Haruki the Japanese do not know




Cover Story

作家 日本人が知らない村上春樹
■講演録 作家が自ら語った魂の闇と心の傷
書評 心地よい声音の中を旅して
THE UNITED STATES アメリカが見たムラカミ・ワールド
SOUTH KOREA 反日感情を一変させた「喪失感」
FRANCE 絶大なムラカミアン人気
NORWAY 日本文学ブームの火付け役
CHINA 中国の20年、村上ファンの20年

Dokushojin (weekly magazine): Translator Yukiko Konosu and novelist Nakajima Kyoko discuss Tsukuru Tazaki: "Perfection and harmony"

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Another report of Murakami's public appearance

Haruki Murakami: I live an ordinary life

By KAE MORISHITA/ Shukan Asahi Weekly Magazine
Reclusive novelist Haruki Murakami surprised and delighted the audience when he opened up about several topics during his recent speech at Kyoto University. Smiling and cracking jokes, the best-selling author and Nobel Prize contender was in high spirits from start to finish.
Murakami, 64, began his speech by saying, "I do not usually appear in public, but this is a special occasion, so I have emerged like a 'kappa' (a water goblin haunting mainly rivers). You may ask why I do not go out in public. I am a person who lives an ordinary life. I take the subway and bus to move around, and I shop at stores in my neighborhood. It would be troublesome if I was often approached on the street as a result of appearing on TV."
Murakami told a funny anecdote about his daily life.
"Years ago, I went to renew my driver's license. A staff member at the counter repeatedly called, 'Haruki Murakami.' When I went to the counter, the person asked me, 'You have the same name as that famous novelist, don't you?' I answered 'yes.' I am like an endangered Iriomote wildcat. I beg you not to come close and touch me."

"My previous work, '1Q84,' deals with the disappearance of the boundary between ordinary daily life and the bizarre, but I wanted to write a realist novel this time," he said in response to a question from essayist Yutaka Yukawa. "I wrote 'Norwegian Wood' (1987) with realism, and it was criticized as a literary retrogression. My latest novel may also be criticized along the same lines, but it has been a new attempt for me. I do not think I could have written it three or four years ago."

Toward the end of the interview, Murakami answered some of the 1,500 questions submitted to him for the event. Excerpts of the Q&A follow:
Question: Who are your favorite writers?
Murakami: Natsume Soseki (1867-1916) and Junichiro Tanizaki (1886-1965), whose writing skill is excellent. Also, Shotaro Yasuoka (1920-2013). Authors I do not like are (Yasunari) Kawabata (1899-1972) and (Yukio) Mishima (1925-1970). I cannot accept their works instinctively. When I read Ryu Murakami’s “Coin Locker Babies” (1980), I thought I want to write a novel like that. Then I quit my job to concentrate on writing novels.
Q: What is your favorite beer?
A: Maui Brewing Co.’s canned beer tasted good.
Q: What is your favorite professional baseball team?
A: When I was a child, I liked the Hanshin Tigers, but I became a fan of the Yakult Swallows after moving to near Jingu Stadium (the team's home stadium). I watch games from the right-field seats, drinking beer. I used to live in Boston, so I am also interested in the Red Sox. But former Yakult outfielder Norichika Aoki has moved to the (Milwaukee) Brewers, so I am rooting for that team as well.
Q: Where is your favorite place in Kyoto?
A: Actually, I was born in Kyoto. I like the area around the Nanzenji temple where I used to walk.
Q: What about marathon running, one of your hobbies?
A: I have run full marathons for more than 30 years. When I was running along the Kamogawa river (in Kyoto) this morning, I was surprised when a person wearing geta wooden clogs told me, "I hope you will keep up the good work." I once jogged with author John Irving in New York's Central Park. He is such an offbeat guy as to advise me to watch out for horse droppings. I hope to continue running full marathons until I am 85.

By KAE MORISHITA/ Shukan Asahi Weekly Magazine
Full story here:

HMV on another Liszt recording:


Saturday, April 13th 2013



Monday, May 13, 2013

Murakami's agent reports on the book's success

Haruki Murakami’s latest novel is a phenomenal success in Japan

Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage Japanese Edition
MAY 07, 2013
Haruki Murakami’s latest novel Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage has been a phenomenal success in Japan, with nine print runs and over one million copies now in print, less than a month after its release.

Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage was published in Japanese on 12th April 2013 and is Murakami’s first work in three years after the release of Book 3, the concluding part of his ambitious 1Q84 trilogy. Before its publication, few details were released about the novel. There were record numbers of pre-orders for the book and book stores in Japan had midnight launch parties with fans lining up by the hundreds eager to find out more.

More here:

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The NATION (Bangkok newspaper) prints the report of Murakami's public appearance

Moving out from the cold

In an all-too-rare lecture, author Haruki Murakami opens up about himself

In an extremely rare public appearance, best-selling author Haruki Murakami opened up about himself and the worlds of his novels in a lecture at Kyoto University last Monday.

"My profession is writing. So I'd rather not get involved with things [other than writing]," Murakami, 64, said when asked about his reclusive nature.

"I'd really appreciate if you treated me like an endangered Iriomote wild cat. So even if you spot me, I want you to observe me from a distance," the writer joked with an audience of about 500 people.

Fans from across the nation gathered for his lecture at the university's ClockTower Centennial Hall. Titled "Tamashii o Miru, Tamashii o Kaku" ("Observing a Soul, Writing a Soul"), the interview-style event was held to commemorate the establishment of literary prizes named after clinical psychologist Hayao Kawai.

Murakami, who was close to Kawai, also spoke about his memories with the late psychologist and his latest book, "Shikisai o Motanai Tazaki Tsukuru to Kare no Junrei no Toshi" ("Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage").


At the end of his lecture, Murakami left the audience, saying: "Sometimes I hear people saying, 'I cried a lot' when they read my books. But I'd be happier if they told me they couldn't stop laughing. Sorrow causes you to turn inward, but laughter broadens your mind."

Read the whole thing here (but you've read it already ...):

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Year of Pilgrimage is leading the April 2013 bestseller list in Japan

NIPPAN, or Nippon Shuppan Hanbai Inc., Japan's largest publication distributor, announced April 2013 bestsellers. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage leads the ranking, followed by Kaizoku to yobareta otoko by Naoki Kyakuta and Isha ni korosarenai 47 no kokoroe by doctor Makoto Kondo. 

書     名
著   者
出 版 社
3医者に殺されない47の心得近藤 誠1,155アスコム
4わりなき恋岸 惠子1,680幻冬舎

Friday, May 10, 2013

The New Yorker on Murakami and translation

MAY 9, 2013


Last month, Haruki Murakami published a new novel in Japan. Before anyone could read it, the novel broke the country’s Internet pre-order sales record, its publisher announced an advance print run of half a million copies, and Tokyo bookstores opened at midnight to welcome lines of customers, some of whom read the book slumped in corners of nearby cafés straight after purchase. But this time, the mania was déjà vu in Japan—a near-replica of the reception that greeted Murakami’s last novel, “1Q84,” three years ago. The response was news to nearly no one. Except, maybe, Haruki Murakami.
“The fact that I have been able to become a professional working novelist is, even now, a great surprise to me,” Murakami wrote in an e-mail three days before the release of “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage.” He added: “In fact, each and every thing that has happened over the past 34 years has been a sequence of utter surprise.” The real surprise, perhaps, is that Murakami’s novels now incite a similar degree of anticipation and hunger outside of Japan, even though they are written in a language spoken and read by a relatively small population on a distant and parochial archipelago in the North Pacific.
Murakami would likely agree. In a recently published essay on his decision to render “The Great Gatsby” in Japanese, the sixty-four-year-old author reveals that it became something of a lifelong mission. He told others about his ambition in his thirties, and believed then that he’d be ready to undertake the challenge when he reached sixty. But he couldn’t wait. Like an overeager child unwrapping his presents, he translated “Gatsby” three years ahead of schedule. After all, translation, he writes, is similar to language and our relationship with our world, in that it, too, needs to be refreshed:
Translation is a matter of linguistic technique… which naturally ages as the particulars of a language change. While there are no undying works, on principle there can be no undying translations. It is therefore imperative that new versions appear periodically in the same way that computer programs are updated. At the very least this provides a broader spectrum of choices, which can only benefit readers.
Roland Kelts is the author of “Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture Has Invaded the United States.” He divides his time between New York and Tokyo.
Photograph: Kevin Trageser/Redux
Read full story here: 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Bungakukai magazine: Special issue with four articles on Murakami and his latest novel

More here:

More about Murakami's public interview

Author Murakami acknowledges writing each character in detail for the first time

May 06, 2013
KYOTO--Best-selling author Haruki Murakami gave a rare public interview here May 6 to talk mainly about his new novel and his relationship with a late friend, psychologist Hayao Kawai.
Murakami's latest work, titled "Shikisai wo Motanai Tazaki Tsukuru to, Kare no Junrei no Toshi" (Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage) and published in April by Bungeishunju Ltd., has already sold more than 1 million copies.
About 500 people, chosen in a lottery, had the opportunity to listen to Murakami speak at Kyoto University on the theme "Tamashii wo Miru, Tamashii wo Kaku" (Seeing a soul, writing a soul).
Read more here: 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Reuters reports about Murakami's yesterday's public appearance

KYOTO, Japan | Mon May 6, 2013 8:57am EDT

(Reuters) - Japanese author Haruki Murakami made his first public appearance in his homeland in 18 years on Monday, describing his newest novel, which was an instant-best seller, as a story that takes place in the real world, unlike many of his other novels.

"Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage" has attracted positive reviews, with readers spotting familiar Murakami themes such as people bonding through pain.
Publisher Bungeishunju made the rare decision to print 1 million copies within a week of its April release in Japan.
The novel is about a lonely 36-year-old engineer named Tsukuru Tazaki, who embarks on trips in Japan and Finland to overcome his most painful experience - broken friendships.
"Usually things are divided into the real and unreal, but I was wondering how it will be if I bring all of that into the stage of the real world," Murakami told an audience of about 500 fans in Kyoto.
"People get hurt and close their minds, but as time passes, they gradually open up, and they grow as they repeat that. This novel is about growth."
The fans who won a lottery to attend the event were surprised that the 64-year-old, whose fiction is often surreal and who has made a handful of speeches overseas in recent years but none in Japan, was actually speaking to the public.
"I am a fan of his novels but I have never seen him in person nor heard his voice. Is he a normal person?" Hiroko Yamada, 40, asked as she waited for the event to start.
Murakami said he decided to speak in public to honor his friend Hayao Kawai, a psychologist who died in 2007.
"It's not like I get purple dots all over myself when I am in front of many people. I like to go around on the bus and the subway and live a normal life," he joked.
"I want you to think of me like an endangered species - it's fine to look at me from far away, but be careful because I may bite if you come near and talk to me or touch me."
(Editing by Robert Birsel)