The Impact Of Haruki Murakami On The World Of Literature

Fish dropping from the sky and human-animal hybrids are only a few of the “common” happenings in Haruki Murakami’s stories. The famous Japanese author has millions of admirers across the globe, with his best-selling novels translated into over 50 languages.

Haruki Murakami’s widespread fame signals the twenty-first century’s progress to a much more interconnected society, one where origin has no bearing on impact and everyone is a descendant of the diverse communities that happened to come before. Murakami’s huge reach stems in large part from the scope of his own preferences and capabilities. He not only has made many western readers acquainted with some of the East’s modern written achievements, but he’s also translated several  works of English authors like Raymond Carver, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and J.D. Salinger to Japanese, giving Japanese readers exposure to some of  these works for the very first time.

Murakami is heavily inspired by Western writers, finding inspiration in authors ranging from Franz Kafka to Kurt Vonnegut. He now admires the novelists Kazuo Ishiguro and Cormac McCarthy. He became particularly captivated to American culture as a young child, devouring any relics he would discover, whether jazz albums, dollar store paperback books, or Hollywood films.

Murakami’s life has been influenced by jazz music. Several of his novels, like Norwegian Wood (from the same Beatles song) as well as Tsukuru Tazaki, depend heavily on the music of Franz Liszt. 

When it pertains to Haruki Murakami, there seems to be an odd synchronicity between his supporters and his detractors. Everybody thinks that he’s often humorous, especially in his dialogue. His protagonists, who are frequently drawn into detective storylines without the need for a “FOR HIRE” notice in their windows, and who doesn’t love a detective? 

Cats, mundane kitchen activities, dingy barrooms, pop and/or classical theme tunes are always be present in the books, set against a surreal, Manichaean danger zone into which the modest yet progressively resilient protagonist must descend in quest as to what he’s missing, most likely to find something else instead. The hero may also stay a bit of time at the bottom of a well or in another dark and solitary place.

His thoughts and emotions will be torn between yearning for an otherworldly, spiritual lady (typically the one who has vanished) and desire towards a feisty, sensual, down-to-earth woman (who may at first just seem more like his sidekick on the journey but may just turn out to be just what he needed all along).  

Murakami has been writing many versions on similar themes for almost 40 years, and he admits about his tendency of reusing certain types of ideas in several interviews. Some people consider his repeats to be a detriment to him. But what divides his detractors is whether they will accommodate his logical leaps and propensity to build dreamworlds which defy consistency and appear to live irrespective of any writer-imposed constraints.

Although the Kyoto-born novelist might not be the first Japanese author to achieve international recognition, Murakami has dramatically changed the perception of Japanese literature throughout the globe, resulting in a high demand for Japanese books to be translated.