Haruki Murakami Library

October 4, 2021 By mk

On October 1, 2021, The Waseda International House of Literature (The Haruki Murakami Library) is opened at Waseda University which Murakami graduated in 1975. Here, the library stores and exhibits resources of Haruki Murakami’s novels and the sources of the author’s inspiration. <map>

For now, the number of visitors is limited by prior online booking. It is open from Thursday to Tuesday, from 10:00 to 17:00, with free admission. Bookings start one month before the day of the visit. As of today, all booking slots have been filled.

Haruki Murakami Library Stairs
View of the stairs from the basement to the ground floor
Two little people are reading
View of the stairs from the ground floor to the basement

On both walls are bookshelves featuring Murakami’s books and related titles, as well as books from around the world named “Selected Works of World Literature, Connecting the Present to the Future” selected by the following people;

Ye Hu, translator, Malaysia; Anna Zielinska-Elliot, translator, Poland; Bryan Washington, novelist, USA; Lee Chang-dong, film director, South Korea; Deborah Treisman, editor at the New Yorker Magazine; Shi Xiaowe, translator, China; David Mitchell, novelist, UK; Motoyuki Shibata, professor and translator, Japan; Mieko Kawakami, novelist, Japan; Hideo Furukawa, novelist, Japan

The books referred to in Murakami’s novels are displayed, classified by the novel. For example, The Brothers Karamazov.
Murakami’s works translated into various languages are also on the shelves.
This room is a reproduction of Murakami’s private room in the same layout.
The Sheepman is watching you
The records in the audio room were donated by Murakami.
This piano is used at Murakami’s jazz bar, “Peter Cat”.
Haruki Murakami Library was created by renovating the old building No. 4. The renovation cost of JPY1.2B (USD10.7M) was donated by Tadashi Yanai (President of Uniqlo), who entered Waseda University in 1968, the same year as Murakami.
The Library is located beside the Theatre Museum, modelled on the historic Elizabethan “Fortune Playhouse” in the UK.

Beside The Theatre Museum

The Theatre Museum was established at Waseda University in 1928 to commemorate the 70th birthday of Dr Shoyo Tsubouchi, the father of modern Japanese literature, and the completion of his translation project of Shakespeare’s Complete Works.

Murakami studied film and theatre at Waseda University and read many drama scripts at the Theatre Museum. When he received the Tsubouchi Award in 2007, Murakami said at the reception: “I used to read old film scenarios at the Theatre Museum and makeup films in my head, like daydreaming”.

The Haruki Murakami Library is not a fancy tourist attraction. There are no souvenir shops or huge photo panels for Instagrammers, but there are many books selected with a reliable eye, including Murakami himself.

Just Like Breathing

As is implied in the “First Person Singular”, the 72-year-old author is thinking about what he can leave to the younger generation. The library is surely a part of it, in addition to his work, as the words on the library panel state.

Hope that new talent will emerge from this library!

We each have a special something we can get only at a special time of our life. Like a small flame. A careful, fortunate few cherish that flame, nurture it, hold it as a torch to light their way. (Sputnik Sweetheart, Ch.14)

Added on 6 October 2021.