And this year's No­bel Prize for lit­er­a­ture goes to... some­one who's not Haruki Mu­rakami again. The BBC delves into the de­jected world of his long-suf­fer­ing fans whose sole de­sire - to see the Ja­panese writer win the prize - is thwarted ev­ery year.

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - INTERNATIONAL - Al­ways a brides­maid, never a bride

Known for his pen­sive philo­soph­i­cal nov­els, Mu­rakami is Ja­pan's most in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned au­thor right now. For years, many in Ja­pan have hoped he would clinch the big­gest prize in lit­er­a­ture, and wait­ing for the No­bel an­nounce­ment has be­come an an­nual, heav­ily re­ported, rit­ual.

Cue the "Haruk­ists" - acolytes who would gather across the coun­try to pe­ruse their dog-eared copies of Mu­rakami's books, sip on whisky (a mo­tif in his writ­ing) with jazz play­ing in the back­ground (also a mo­tif), all un­der the spot­light of tele­vi­sion cam­eras.

At one such gath­er­ing on Thurs­day night at a Tokyo shrine, about 200 "Haruk­ists", sur­rounded by re­porters, read­ied their cel­e­bra­tory party pop­pers in an­tic­i­pa­tion, while watch­ing a livestream of the an­nounce­ment. But it was not to be - Bri­tish writer Kazuo Ishig­uro was de­clared the win­ner. A cho­rus of sighs erupted from the crowd which, af­ter a beat, burst into po­lite ap­plause.

It was slightly more em­bar­rass­ing for staff at Tokyo's flag­ship Ki­noku­niya book­shop, who had laid out more than 30 ti­tles of Mu­rakami's books in a spe­cial dis­play.

Af­ter they let out a loud sur­prised "Ohhh", staff quickly dis­man­tled their Mu­rakami cor­ner and re­placed it with their hand­ful of copies of Ishig­uro's books while rush­ing to or­der more, ac­cord­ing to Asahi Shim­bun.

Mean­while, Ishig­uro's Ja­panese pub­lisher tweeted (in Ja­panese): "We're all flus­tered."

On the No­bel Prize Com­mit­tee's Face­book page, some were quick to make a dig at Mu­rakami fans.

Mu­rakami's yearly non-win has now be­come some­thing of a run­ning joke to the rest of the Ja­panese pub­lic - many say au­tumn hasn't started in Ja­pan if Mu­rakami hasn't lost once again.

"When Haruki Mu­rakami loses out on the No­bel lit­er­a­ture prize and Haruk­ists around the coun­try all fall to their knees in dis­ap­point­ment, I feel au­tumn has come," joked one Twit­ter user yes­ter­day.

Mu­rakami is part of a se­lect club of best­selling or crit­i­cally lauded artists who, de­spite re­peat nom­i­na­tions or wide spec­u­la­tion, have failed to win the top prizes in their in­dus­try.

Th­ese in­clude ac­tors Amy Adams and the late Peter O'Toole (though he did get an hon­orary Os­car), as well as singers Björk and Katy Perry.

But cheer up Mu­rakami fans, hope springs eter­nal - af­ter all, Leonardo DiCaprio won an Os­car last year af­ter a 23-year wait.

But it's still okay right, be­cause the No­bel win­ner's Ja­panese... or is he?

Ishig­uro, a Bri­tish ci­ti­zen who writes in English, was born in Ja­pan and moved to the UK when he was five.

Still, that hasn't stopped some in Ja­pan from claim­ing him as their own. The news­pa­per Sankei pro­claimed him the "third Ja­pan-born lit­er­ary lau­re­ate", af­ter Ya­sunari Kawa­bata and Ken­z­aburo Oe.

Mean­while other out­lets have zoomed in on how Ishig­uro - who has writ­ten two books linked to Ja­pan - has talked about the im­por­tance of his Ja­panese iden­tity.

Book­shop owner Ta­suku Saito told Nikkan Sports he was dis­ap­pointed by Mu­rakami's loss, but added he ac­cepted Ishig­uro's win as it's "some­one with Ja­panese blood in him".

But it's also sparked a back­lash on­line, where some have crit­i­cised the dou­ble stan­dards in em­brac­ing a Ja­panese raised abroad, given re­cent con­tro­ver­sies over mixe­drace cit­i­zens such as politi­cian Renho.

"Kazuo Ishig­uro was raised in Bri­tain and has Bri­tish cit­i­zen­ship, but we call him the third Ja­panese lau­re­ate. On the other hand... Renho, who was born and raised in Ja­pan and has Ja­panese cit­i­zen­ship, we look down upon her.... Ja­pan is a shame­ful coun­try," said Twit­ter user 1957ry.

Haruki Mu­rakami

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