Murakami Fans, You Must Visit This New Library in Tokyo

Murakami Fans, You Must Visit This New Library in Tokyo
Photo Credit: Asia Travel / Shutterstock

Browse through the manuscripts of Murakami’s works, listen to his audio collection and enjoy his favourite brew at this architecturally stunning library

OT Staff
October 26 , 2021
06 Min Read

The much awaited Haruki Murakami Library in Tokyo’s Waseda University was opened to the public on October 1. Formally known as The Waseda International House of Literature, it contains the much acclaimed Japanese author’s manuscripts, his collection of books and vinyl records, among other things, all housed in an architecturally superb building designed by Kengo Kuma.

Born in Kyoto (January 12, 1949), Murakami majored in drama at the Waseda University and went on to open a Jazz Bar after college. According to Murakami, he had no intention of being an author until he had his moment of epiphany while watching a baseball game between the Yakult Swallows and the Hiroshima Carp at the Jingu Stadium, sometime in 1978. He returned home and began writing that night.

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The library contains a variety of items and works donated by Haruki Murakami, including manuscripts, first editions of his novels, interviews, literary reviews and essays, as well as overseas editions of Murakami’s work in translation, books by foreign authors translated to Japanese by Murakami, and his record collection.

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The museum even has a replica of Murakami’s study, complete with his desk, books and record player.

The entry to the library is through a tunnel-like passage while a sweeping arched wooden bookshelf occupies the B1 level. Visitors can sit on the stairs as they browse the large collection of books. In between the literary sojourns, you may repair to the Orange Cat, a student-run café to sip on Murakami’s favourite dark roast coffee. The café has been named after Peter Cat, the jazz bar run by Haruki Murakami and his wife. In the audio room, you are likely to find some of the records still bearing the name Peter Cat.  

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And if you are not able to visit the library at present, you may read excerpts of his books, browse through some of the famous quotes from his writings, find out about references to musicians, songs, and albums found in Murakami’s work, read his interviews and discussions with his translators and jacket designers, and more here.

You may enjoy a virtual visit to the library here presented by The Straits Times.


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