A Wild Sheep Chase

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A Wild Sheep Chase
Haruki murakami a wild sheep chase 9780375718946.jpg
First US edition cover
Author Haruki Murakami
Original title Hitsuji o meguru bōken
Translator Alfred Birnbaum
Country Japan
Language Japanese
Genre Surreal novel, magical realism
Publisher Kodansha International
Publication date
October 15, 1982
Published in English
December 31, 1989
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 299 (US)
400 (UK)
405 (JP)
ISBN 0-87011-905-2 (US)
ISBN 0-09-944882-3 (UK)
ISBN 4-06-200241-8 (JP)
OCLC 19670739
895.6/35 20
LC Class PL856.U673 H5713 1989
Preceded by Pinball, 1973
Followed by Dance Dance Dance

A Wild Sheep Chase (羊をめぐる冒険 Hitsuji o meguru bōken?) (literally An Adventure Surrounding Sheep[1]) is the third novel by Japanese author Haruki Murakami. First published in Japan in 1982, it was translated into English in 1989. It is an independent sequel to Pinball, 1973, and the third book in the so-called "Trilogy of the Rat". It won the 1982 Noma Literary Newcomer's Prize.

In A Wild Sheep Chase, Murakami blends elements of American and English literature with Japanese contexts, exploring post-WWII Japanese cultural identity. The book is part mystery and part magical realism with a postmodern twist.

A Wild Sheep Chase has been defined as a parody or a renewal of Yukio Mishima's Natsuko no Bōken (夏子の冒険?, Natsuko's Adventure).[2][3][4]

Plot summary[edit]

This mock-detective tale follows an unnamed Japanese man through Tokyo and Hokkaidō in 1978. The passive, chain-smoking main character gets swept away on an adventure that leads him on a hunt for a sheep that has not been seen for years. The apathetic protagonist meets a woman with magically seductive ears and a strange man who dresses as a sheep and talks in slurs; in this way there are elements of Japanese animism or Shinto[citation needed]. The manipulation of the narrator into the hunt and repeated references to The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes raise connections to Conan Doyle's story "The Adventure of the Red-Headed League"[citation needed].


Murakami wrote a sequel to this book, entitled Dance Dance Dance, which also follows the adventures of the unnamed protagonist and the Sheep Man. However, its plot, tone and the majority of the characters are sufficiently different that Dance Dance Dance can be seen as separate from the "Trilogy of the Rat."[citation needed]


Book information[edit]

A Wild Sheep Chase (English edition) by Haruki Murakami; translated by Alfred Birnbaum.


  1. ^ Slocombe, Will http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1232&context=clcweb
  2. ^ Sato, Mikio (2006). 村上春樹の隣には三島由紀夫がいつもいる [The neighbor of Haruki Murakami always being Yukio Mishima] (in Japanese). PHP Institute. 
  3. ^ Takasawa, Shuji (2007). 吉本隆明 1945-2007 [Takaaki Yoshimoto 1945-2007] (in Japanese). INSCRIPT. 
  4. ^ Osawa, Masachi (2008). 不可能性の時代 [The times of Impossible] (in Japanese). Iwanami Shoten, Publishers.