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)
2006 (Knopf) (U.S.)
Media type Print (hardback & paperback)
Pages 334 (UK)
352 (U.S.)
ISBN 1-84343-269-2 (UK)
1-4000-4461-8 (U.S.)
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 and 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."[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. Many of the stories are translated by Philip Gabriel and Jay Rubin.

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
"Airplane: 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 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
  • The story "Tony Takitani" (トニー滝谷) was adapted into the homonymous Tony Takitani, a 2004 Japanese film directed by Jun Ichikawa.
  • The final five stories all appeared in the collection Tōkyō kitanshū (Strange Tales from Tokyo), published in Japan in 2005.
  • The story "The 1963/1982 Girl from Ipanema" (translated in Jay Rubin's 2002 Haruki Murakami and the Music of Words) was originally to be added as a bonus 25th story (hence its mention by advance-copy reviewers such as Kirkus Reviews[7] or Los Angeles Times[8]) but the collection was eventually left with the 24 stories Murakami intended.



  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. ^ The short story "Crabs" (, Kani) was first published nested within the untranslated story "Baseball Field" (野球場, Yakyūjō) 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 and Italian). Leconte Editore. April 2003. p. 2. 
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Archives[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ Kiriyama Winners for 2007

External links[edit]