A Library Dedicated to Haruki Murakami

The International House of Literature at Waseda University in Tokyo received a donation from the author of 3000 works from his collection.


WordsHenri Robert

© Waseda University

Designed by architect Kengo Kuma, the Waseda University International House of Literature — Haruki Murakami Library in Tokyo opened its doors on 1 October 2021. This library houses a collection of 3000 books bequeathed by the most widely read Japanese author outside Japan, a former student at the institution where he studied Greek drama.

‘I’ve been writing for almost 40 years and I’ve accumulated heaps of manuscripts, documents and newspaper cuttings that I don’t have space to keep at home or in my office any more’, Haruki Murakami explained in 2018 when outlining this project.


A replica of the writer’s desk

Faced with such a rich body of work, the library is not exclusively intended to make available his novels and short stories, but also his translations —among these, he produced the Japanese versions of works by Francis Scott Fitzgerald, Raymond Carver and John Irving—, essays and research, along with his vinyl collection. The site also houses a replica of the writer’s desk, a radio studio and a café run by students.

The son of a Japanese literature professor, Haruki Murakami began his career by opening a jazz club in Tokyo in 1974 before cutting this venture short in 1981 to devote himself fully to writing. Feeling uncomfortable witnessing Japanese society transformed by the economic boom, in a position between arrogance and conformism, he left Japan, and after a stay in Italy and Greece, he settled in the United States in 1991, where he taught Japanese literature at Princeton University. The events of 1995, namely the sarin gas attack in the Tokyo subway and the Kobe earthquake, convinced him to return to his native land.


Seminars, symposiums and exhibitions

From his first novel onwards, Hear the Wind Sing, published in 1979, for which he received the Gunzo Prize at the age of 30, the author has produced a body of work with overtones that are ‘dreamlike, tending towards the fantastic, displaying a fertile imagination’, according to Florence Bouchy, journalist for Le Monde.

His work includes A Wild Sheep Chase (1982), Kafka on the Shore (2002), 1Q84 (2009) and more recently Killing Commendatore (2017). Haruki Murakami has now achieved international fame and his work has been translated into over 50 languages, making each publication an event. Every year, the ‘Harukists’ campaign for him to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

In addition to the resources it houses, ‘the library aims to create a space for a sharing, a place that allows an open international dialogue about literature and culture through seminars, symposiums and special exhibitions’. The Waseda University International House of Literature will also strive to offer ‘online exhibitions and functions that are accessible to all’, the press release states.


More information about the library can be found on the Waseda University International House of Literature — Haruki Murakami Library website.


© Waseda University

© Waseda University

© Waseda University