The building is presented as a place of literary research, cultural exchange and a gathering place for its fans
A library dedicated to the writings, albums and record collection of Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami opens next week in Tokyo as a place of literary research, cultural exchange and gathering for its fans.
Haruki Murakami Library, which opens October 1 at Waseda University, its alma mater, features a replica of his desk with a simple desk, rows of shelves and a record player, as well as a cafe run by of students serving their favorite black. roasted coffee.
“I hope this will be a place where students can freely exchange and materialize ideas – a free, unique and fresh place on the university campus,” Murakami, 72, said at a press conference announcing the opening of the library.
Visitors enter through a tunnel-shaped passage into the five-story building designed and renovated by architect Kengo Kuma, one of Murakami’s many fans and the designer of the Tokyo Olympic Stadium. Kuma said the tunnels are his image of Murakami’s stories, in which the protagonists often travel between the real and the surreal.
The library, officially called the Waseda International House of Literature, currently houses around 3,000 Murakami books, manuscripts and other materials, including translations of his work into dozens of languages, and part of his extensive collection of documents. In a lounge next to the library, there is an audio room where records are displayed, some stamped “Petercat”, the name of the jazz bar he ran after graduating from Waseda.
They include records by Billie Holiday, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane and Miles Davis.
“I wish a place like this was built after I died, so that I could rest in peace and someone take care of it,” Murakami joked. “I feel a little nervous seeing him while I’m still alive.”
Murakami said he would contribute as much as possible to the library. He is currently focused on his works, but said he hoped it would be expanded to include those of other novelists “so that it becomes a large and fluid research space.”
After his 1979 debut novel “Hear the Wind Sing”, the 1987 romance “Norwegian Wood” became his first bestseller, making him a young literary star. He is also known for his bestsellers such as “A Wild Sheep Chase”, “The Wind-up Bird Chronicle” and “1Q84” and is a standing candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Murakami is an avid listener and collector of music ranging from classical to jazz and rock, and he serves as an important motif in many of his stories. He has also written books on music.
Since 2018, Murakami has hosted a program “Murakami Radio” on Tokyo FM on which he plays his favorite music and sometimes responds to requests and questions from listeners.
The archival project began in 2018 when Murakami offered to donate his collection of materials, which had grown so much over the past 40 years that he was running out of storage space in his home and office.
Tadashi Yanai, founder of Uniqlo’s parent company and Waseda alumnus, donated 1.2 billion yen ($ 11 million) towards the cost of the library.