Mu­rakami plans li­brary of works

No­bel favourite re­veals plans for Ja­pan-based ar­chive

Saturday Star - - L I F E S T Y L E -

HARUKI Mu­rakami is plan­ning an ar­chive at his Ja­panese alma mater that will in­clude drafts of his best­selling nov­els, his trans­la­tion work and his mas­sive col­lec­tion of mu­sic.

Mu­rakami, 69, be­gan writ­ing af­ter grad­u­at­ing from Waseda Univer­sity in 1975 and his lat­est novel, Killing Com­menda­tore, re­cently hit US book­stores.

Mu­rakami said the ar­chive and li­brary project will de­velop as he con­trib­utes ma­te­ri­als in the years to come. He also wants to see it stim­u­late cul­tural ex­changes.

The writer an­nounced the plan on Sun­day at his first news con­fer­ence in his home coun­try in 37 years. Here are some of his com­ments:

Q: What is the Mu­rakami Li­brary go­ing to be like?

A: I hope this (li­brary) would be­come a place of open in­ter­na­tional ex­changes for lit­er­a­ture and cul­ture. And I would def­i­nitely want to cre­ate a room where we can hold sem­i­nars for such ex­changes.

I also hope to even­tu­ally set up a schol­ar­ship, which would be per­fect. And if I’m al­lowed to wish even more, I also hope to cre­ate a space that func­tions as a study where my record col­lec­tion and books are stored. It would be won­der­ful if we get to play records for con­certs.

In my study, I have my own space, such as a col­lec­tion of records, au­dio equip­ment and some books. The idea (for the li­brary) is to cre­ate an at­mos­phere like that, not to cre­ate a replica of my study.

I be­lieve a col­lege cam­pus should have an al­ter­na­tive place that you can drop by. I would like to get


power of mak­ing break­throughs by us­ing sto­ries as their strength. And I’d be happy if there are peo­ple, re­gard­less of their age, who pur­sue such ef­forts. I think it would be dif­fi­cult to de­velop such strengths if you only stay in a sin­gle cul­ture.

Q: Is mu­sic in­sep­a­ra­ble to your sto­ries?

A: I wake up at 4am or 4.30am and start work­ing. The night be­fore, I choose records that I plan to lis­ten to the next day, like I used to, put next to my pil­low what to take to an el­e­men­tary school out­ing. I write while lis­ten­ing to the mu­sic, and it’s my plea­sure.

Q: What do for­eign books and trans­la­tion mean to you?

A: I started read­ing for­eign lit­er­a­ture as a teenager. It was like open­ing a win­dow and breath­ing in fresh air, or see­ing dif­fer­ent scenery. Be­cause, my par­ents both spe­cialised in Ja­panese lit­er­a­ture, I also wanted to do some­thing dif­fer­ent. I ex­tremely en­joy trans­la­tion, the process of con­vert­ing one lan­guage to an­other, and I still like it very much.

Even to­day, I don’t con­sider trans­la­tion as work, it’s more like my hobby. Trans­la­tion, how­ever, has been very use­ful for writ­ing nov­els. Aware­ness that a lan­guage is ex­change­able could make a dif­fer­ence as to what I write.

It’s not that I try to write sen­tences that are eas­ier to trans­late, but I feel dif­fer­ently just with the aware­ness that this can be con­verted and read by peo­ple in dif­fer­ent lan­guages.

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