Episode of Haruki Murakami-1
To imagine the background of his/her choice had an attraction for us when talking about his/her personal history.
It is not too much to say that his choice on his debut epitomized the author Haruki Murakami.
In this post, I will let you know his choices aside from his works.
3 years before Haruki Murakami’s debut, Ryu Murakami splendidly entered on the literary world with his first novel “Almost Transparent Blue”.
He is 3 years younger than Haruki and has the same family name “Murakami”.
Under the influence of hippie culture, he lusciously describes young people who indulged their selves in drugs, sex and rock'n'roll in the mid-1970s.
Creating much sensation, he was honored to win the Akutagawa prize, the most notable literary award in Japan.
Meanwhile, Haruki passed a newly married life at his wife's parent’s home.
They met at University in Tokyo and married while they were students.
To make a living as a head of the household, he quested for a job, but it didn't go well.
After saving up money, they started to run a jazz club / coffee-house.
And then Ryu Murakami appeared. It is not difficult to imagine that it might impact Haruki.
In reality, he started writing. Here, I call it his first choice.
By the way, he stated that it was when he was watching the baseball game in Jingu Stadium in 1 Apr, 1978 that he conceived the idea to write a novel.
The second choice was to decide to use his autonym.
Before demonstrating my claim, let me make it clear the situation in Japan.
A. In the case of Japanese names, the family name precedes the given name.
So books are displayed on shelves at bookshops and libraries by order of family name.
B. At that time, readers usually find authors at bookshops or libraries as internet didn't come into wide use.
C. So to decide what name he/she use was a make‐or‐break decision for author than what we guess now.
D. When Haruki publishes his books, they are displayed by the side of Ryu Murakami's books, which was a kind of risk.
In these circumstances, Haruki’s choice was to use “Murakami”.
How he made the second choice was each one of the following, I guess.
1. He didn't care about the author who has the same family name with him.
2. He couldn't use a pen name as he had a great love of his autonym.
3. He had an idea of taking advantage of Ryu Murakami.
4. He has a strong sense of rivalry against Ryu.
And he dares to choose the same family name to impress public as "Murakami" means nothing but Haruki Murakami.
Which one do you choose?
Of course, it is too simplistic to choose just one.
But it fires our imagination? Putting his untiring (sometimes too much) effort of writing and activities together, we can find his essence on these choices.
Hear the Wind Sing (1979)