Ryū Murakami

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Ryū Murakami
Ryu Murakami.jpg
Ryū Murakami in 2005
Born (1952-02-19) February 19, 1952 (age 62)
Sasebo, Nagasaki, Japan
Occupation Author, Novelist, Film-maker
Nationality Japanese

Ryū Murakami (村上 龍 Murakami Ryū?, born February 19, 1952 in Sasebo, Nagasaki) is a Japanese novelist and filmmaker.


He was born Ryūnosuke Murakami (村上龍之助 Murakami Ryūnosuke?) in Sasebo, Nagasaki on February 19, 1952. The name Ryūnosuke was taken from the main character in Daibosatsu-tōge, a piece of fiction by Nakazato Kaizan (1885–1944).

He attended primary, middle and senior high school in Sasebo. While a student in senior high, Murakami helped form a rock band, in which he was the drummer. After the band’s breakup, he went on to join the rugby club, which he found especially grueling. He soon left the rugby club and transferred to the school’s newspaper department. In the summer of his third year in senior high, Murakami and his colleagues barricaded the rooftop of his high school and he was placed under house arrest for three months. During this time, he had an encounter with the hippie culture which influenced him greatly.

Murakami graduated from high school in 1970, around which time he went on to form yet another rock band and produce 8-millimeter indie films.

Murakami went to Tokyo and enrolled in the silkscreen department in Gendaishichosha School of Art, but dropped out halfway through the year. In October 1972, he moved to Fussa near the base of the U.S. Air Force and was accepted into the Musashino Art University in the sculpture program.


Murakami's first work, the short novel Almost Transparent Blue, written while he was still a student of Musashino Art University, deals with promiscuity and drug use among disaffected Japanese youth. Critically acclaimed as a new style of literature, it won the newcomer's literature prize in 1976 despite some observers decrying it as decadent. Later the same year, Blue won the Akutagawa Prize, going on to become a bestseller.

In 1980, Murakami published the much longer novel Coin Locker Babies, again to critical acclaim, for which he won the 3rd Noma Liberal Arts New Member prize. Afterward he wrote an autobiographical work 69. His next work Ai to Gensou no Fascism (1987) revolves around the struggle reforming Japan’s Survival of the Fittest model of society, by the secret "Hunting Society". His work in 1988, Topaz, is about a SM Girl’s radical expression of her sexuality.

Murakami's story The World in Five Minutes From Now (1994) is written as a point of view in a parallel universe version of Japan, which got him nominated for the 30th Tanizaki Junichiro prize. In 1996 he continued his autobiography 69, and released the Murakami Ryu Movie and Novel Collection. He also won the Hirabayashi Taiko literary prize. The same year, he wrote the novel Topaz II about a female high school student engaged in compensated dating, which later was adapted as a live action film Love and Pop by Anime director Hideaki Anno; as well as Popular Hits of the Showa Era, which concerns the escalating firepower of a battle between five teenage male and five middle-aged female social rejects.

In 1997 he wrote the Psycho-horror styled novel In the Miso Soup, set in Tokyo's Kabuki-cho red-light district, which won him the Yomiuri Prize for Fiction that year. In 1999 he became the Editor in Chief of the mail magazine JMM which discusses the ‘bubble’ economy of Japan.

In 2000, he wrote Parasites (Kyōsei Mushi) about a young hikikomori who is fascinated by war, which won him the 36th Tanizaki Junichiro Prize. The same year Kibō no Kuni no Exodus was written, a story about junior high students who lose their desire to be involved in normal Japanese society, and instead create a new society over the internet.

In 2001, he became involved in his friend Ryuichi Sakamoto's group N.M.L. No More Landmine (see Zero Landmine), which involves the removal of landmines that are still buried in many countries around the world.

In 2004, Murakami announced the publication of 13 Year Old Hello Work, a work whose aim is to increase an interest in young people to go and find jobs and work. His next work Hantō wo Deyo (2005) is about relations between Japan and Korea, which won him the 58th Noma Liberal Arts prize, and the 59th Mainichi Shuppan Culture Prize.

His novel Audition was adapted into a feature film by Takashi Miike. Murakami reportedly liked it so much he gave Miike his blessing to adapt Coin Locker Babies. The screen play was worked on by director Jordan Galland. However, Miike could not raise funding for the project. An adaptation directed by Michele Civetta is currently in production.[1]

Murakami has played drums for a rock group called Coelacanth. Since 2006 he has hosted a TV talk show on business and finance called Kanburia Kyuden which is broadcast on TV Tokyo.[2] The co-host is Eiko Koike.

Selected bibliography[edit]

Year Japanese Title English Title Notes
1976 限りなく透明に近いブルー (Kagirinaku Tōmei ni Chikai Burū?) Almost Transparent Blue English translation by Nancy Andrew
1977 海の向こうで戦争が始ま (Umi no Mukō de Sensō ga Hajimaru?) War Begins Beyond the Sea
1980 コインロッカー・ベイビーズ (Koinrokkā Beibīzu?) Coin Locker Babies English translation by Stephen Snyder, republished by Pushkin Press, 2013
1986 走れ!タカハシ (Hashire! Takahashi?)
1987 Shikusuti Nain 69 sixty nine English translation by Ralph F. McCarthy, published by Pushkin Press, 2013
1989 ラッフルズホテル (Raffuruzu Hoteru?) Raffles Hotel
1993 エクスタシー (Ekusutashī?) Ecstasy
1994 昭和歌謡大全集 (Shōwa Kayō Daizenshū?) Popular Hits of the Showa Era: A Novel English translation by Ralph F. McCarthy. Published by Pushkin Press, 2013
1994 五分後の世界 (Gofungo no Sekai?) The World in Five Minutes From Now
1994 ピアッシング (Piasshingu?) Piercing English translation by Ralph F. McCarthy. Published in English January 2007.
1995 Kyoko French translation by Corinne Atlan
1997 イン ザ・ミソスープ (In za Misosūpu?) In the Miso Soup English translation by Ralph F. McCarthy. Published in English 2005.

French translation ("Miso Soup") by Corinne Atlan. Published in French January 2003.

ストレンジ・デイズ (Sutorenji Deizu?) Strange Days
1998 ライン (Rain?) Lines French translation ("Lignes") by Sylvain Cardonnel, Czech translation ("Čáry") by Jan Levora.
2000 共生虫 (Kyōsei Chū?) Parasites French translation by Sylvain Cardonnel
メランコリア (Merankoria?) Melancholia French translation by Sylvain Cardonnel
2004 It's Been Just a Year and a Half Now Since I Went with My Boss to That Bar short story published in Zoetrope: All-Story (Vol. 8, No. 4, 2004). English translation by Ralph McCarthy.[3]
2005 I am a Novelist short story published in The New Yorker (Jan. 3, 2005).
English translation by Ralph McCarthy
半島を出よ (Hantō o Deyo?) From the Fatherland, with Love Translated into English by Ralph McCarthy, Charles De Wolf and Ginny Tapley Takemori, published by Pushkin Press, 2013
2006 ダイアローグ 村上壟X伊藤穣一 (Daiarōgu Murakami Ryū X Itō Jōichi?) Dialogue: Ryu Murakami X Joichi Ito
2009 At the Airport short story in Zoetrope All-Story (Vol. 13, No. 2, 2009). English translation by Ralph McCarthy.[3]
2010 No Matter How Many Times I Read Your Confession, There’s One Thing I Just Don’t Understand: Why Didn’t You Kill the Woman? Zoetrope All-Story (Vol. 14, No. 4, 2010).[3]
2011 Penlight Zoetrope All-Story (Vol. 15, No. 3, 2011). English translation by Ralph McCarthy.[3]


Year Japanese Title English Title Role Director
1979 限りなく透明に近いブルー
Kagirinaku tōmei ni chikai burū
Almost Transparent Blue Writer, Director Ryu Murakami
1983 だいじょうぶマイ・フレンド
Daijōbu mai furendo
All Right, My Friend Writer, Director Ryu Murakami
1989 ラッフルズホテル
Raffuruzu Hoteru
Raffles Hotel Writer, Director Ryu Murakami
1992 トパーズ
Topaz a.k.a. Tokyo Decadence Writer, Director Ryu Murakami
1996 ラブ&ポップ
Rabu & Poppu
Love & Pop Writer Hideaki Anno
1999 オーディション
Audition Novel Takashi Miike
2000 KYOKO Because of You Writer, Director Ryu Murakami
2001 走れ!イチロー
Hashire! Ichirō
Run! Ichiro Writer Kazuki Omori
2003 昭和歌謡大全集
Shōwa kayō daizenshū
Karaoke Terror: The Complete Japanese Showa Songbook Novel Tetsuo Shinohara
2004 シクスティナイン
69 Writer Lee Sang-il
2006 ポプラル!
Popular! Executive Producer Jen Paz
2008 コインロッカー・ベイビーズ
Koinrokkā Beibīzu
Coin Locker Babies Writer Michele Civetta


  1. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0451019/
  2. ^ http://www.tv-tokyo.co.jp/cambria/
  3. ^ a b c d [1] Stories by Ryu Murakami published in Zoetrope: All-Story

External links[edit]