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Author Study: Haruki Murakami Curated by Ashley Tang '19

This Libguide provides a detailed analysis of Japanese author Haruki Murakami and delves into his writing accomplishments.

Music is plays a huge role in Murakami's books; he portrays the emotions of the pieces through the plot and characters, music serving an important motif in his stories. Above is a playlist of all the songs he has included in his works in order to provide a  better reading experience for his readers. 



Although he is considered a Japanese author, Murakami is not as influenced by Japanese literature as other writers are. In fact, he centers most of his passages around American culture, including songs and brand names.

Music Inclusion

Throughout Murakami's works, music serves as an accompaniment in his plot, as seen in Norwegian Wood, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, and numerous other works. Murakami uses the piece to allow for better imagery, aiding in setting the mood and emphasizing relationships amongst characters,

Characters & Plots

According to Murakami, he uses himself as a template for the protagonist, hence the repetition in character personality. Usually displayed as isolated figures who find themselves being changed by a certain incident, the protagonist is encouraged to go on a long journey using side characters as stepping stones in order to find what as been absent in their lives. The protagonist is also a looking glass into Murakami's political stance; they usually follow societal laws and have nihilistc views. The context of social movements, wars, and the physical and social reconstruction affect the characters' growth and perception towards human relationships.

Plot Development

Murakami is well known for his casual, flowing, and often dreamlike writing style. He includes lyrical language and pours emotions into the imagery of scenery and characters. With simple diction and the great amount of symbolism pertaining to the main idea of the story, Murakami is able to touch on darker themes such as depression, suicide, disease, death, and rage without coming off as too harsh. 


“Being with her I feel a pain, like a frozen knife stuck in my chest. An awful pain, but the funny thing is I'm thankful for it. It's like that frozen pain and my very existence are one.”- Kafka By the Shore


“Time weighs down on you like an old, ambiguous dream. You keep on moving, trying to sleep through it. But even if you go to the ends of the earth, you won't be able to escape it. Still, you have to go there- to the edge of the world. There's something you can't do unless you get there.”- Kafka By the Shore


You know, somewhere I’m not at all sure where I think I cut something’s throat. Sharpening my knife, my heart a stone. Symbolically, like making a gate in China.” – Sputnik Sweetheart