Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman

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Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman
UK 1st edition cover
Editor Haruki Murakami
Author Haruki Murakami
Original title めくらやなぎと眠る女
Mekurayanagi to nemuru onna
Translator Philip Gabriel, Jay Rubin
Country Japan
Language Japanese
Genre Short story collection
Published 2006 (Harvill Secker) (UK)
Media type Print (Hardcover and Paperback)
Pages 334 (UK)
352 (US)
ISBN 1-84343-269-2
OCLC 65203792

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman (めくらやなぎと眠る女 Mekurayanagi to nemuru onna?) is a collection of 24 short stories by Japanese author Haruki Murakami.

The stories contained in the book were written between 1980 and 2005, and published in Japan in various magazines then collections. The contents of this compilation was selected by Murakami and first published in English translation in 2006 (its Japanese counterpart was released later in 2009). Around half the stories were translated by Philip Gabriel with the other half being translated by Jay Rubin. In this collection, the stories alternate between the two translators for the most part.

Murakami considers this to be his first real English-language collection of short stories since The Elephant Vanishes (1993) and considers after the quake (2000) to be more akin to a concept album, as its stories were designed to produce a cumulative effect.[1]

In the introductory notes to the English-language edition of Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, Murakami declares, "I find writing novels a challenge, writing stories a joy. If writing novels is like planting a forest, then writing short stories is more like planting a garden." This analogy serves to give the reader some idea of what awaits.[2]


Many of the stories in the collection have been published previously in Japanese periodicals (not listed here), then translated in literary magazines (mentioned below), although some have been revised for Blind Willow. The stories are listed below in the order in which they appear in the book.

Title Previously published
in English in[3]
Year written[1]
Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman Harper's [1983][4] 1995
Birthday Girl Harper's and Birthday Stories 2002
New York Mining Disaster 1980 / 1981
Aeroplane: Or, How He Talked to Himself as If Reciting Poetry The New Yorker [1987] 1989
The Mirror 1981 / 1982,
A Folklore for My Generation: A Prehistory of Late-Stage Capitalism The New Yorker 1989
Hunting Knife The New Yorker 1984
A Perfect Day for Kangaroos 1981
Dabchick McSweeney's Quarterly Concern 1981
Man-Eating Cats The New Yorker 1991
A 'Poor Aunt' Story The New Yorker 1980
Nausea 1979 1984
The Seventh Man Granta 1996
The Year of Spaghetti The New Yorker 1981
Tony Takitani The New Yorker 1990
The Rise and Fall of Sharpie Cakes 1981 / 1982,
The Ice Man The New Yorker 1991
Crabs Stories #50 1984,[5]
Firefly (later reused within Norwegian Wood) 1983
Chance Traveller Harper's 2005
Hanalei Bay 2005
Where I'm Likely to Find It The New Yorker 2005
The Kidney-Shaped Stone That Moves Every Day 2005
A Shinagawa Monkey The New Yorker 2005

Tony Takitani (トニー滝谷) was adapted into a 2004 Japanese movie directed by Jun Ichikawa.

The final five stories all appeared in the book Tōkyō Kitanshū (Strange Tales From Tokyo), published in Japan in 2005.



  1. ^ a b Murakami, Haruki (2006). "Introduction to the English edition". Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman. 
  2. ^ Article about Blind willow, Sleeping Woman [1], retrieved June 1, 2007.
  3. ^ Murakami, Haruki (2006). "Publishers notes, English edition". Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman. 
  4. ^ "Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman" was first published in 1983 as a different version (whose title didn't bear a comma), then rewritten in 1995 (taking its final title). (See also the story's article ja:めくらやなぎと眠る女 in Japanese.)
  5. ^ "Crabs" was first published nested within another short story in 1984, then cut out and revised for separate publication in 2003. See also: Daniel Morales (2008), "Murakami Haruki B-Sides", Néojaponisme, May 12, 2008: "Thus begins “Baseball Field” [1984], one of Haruki Murakami's lesser-known short stories. Part of the story was extracted, edited and expanded into “Crabs”, published in Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, but the entirety has never been published in English. The young man in the story is at a café with Murakami himself. He mailed Murakami one of his short stories (the content of which the real-life Murakami later turned into “Crabs”), and Murakami, charmed by the young man's interesting handwriting and somewhat impressed with the story itself, read all 70 pages and sent him a letter of suggestions. “Baseball Field” tells the story of their subsequent meeting over coffee."
  6. ^ "Stories 50" (in English, Italian). Leconte Editore. April 2003. p. 2. 
  7. ^ Archives
  8. ^ Kiriyama Winners for 2007

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