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Ryū Murakami

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Ryū Murakami
Ryū Murakami in 2005
Ryū Murakami in 2005
Born (1952-02-19) February 19, 1952 (age 72)
Sasebo, Nagasaki, Japan
  • Novelist
  • essayist
  • filmmaker
Literary movementPostmodernism
Notable works

Ryū Murakami (村上 龍, Murakami Ryū, born February 19, 1952 in Sasebo, Nagasaki) is a Japanese novelist, short story writer, essayist and filmmaker. His novels explore human nature through themes of disillusion, drug use, surrealism, murder and war, set against the dark backdrop of Japan. His best known novels are Almost Transparent Blue, Audition, Coin Locker Babies and In the Miso Soup.


Murakami was born Ryūnosuke Murakami (村上龍之助, Murakami Ryūnosuke) in Sasebo, Nagasaki on 19 February 1952. The name Ryūnosuke was taken from the protagonist in Daibosatsu-tōge, a work of fiction by Kaisan Nakazato [ja].

Murakami attended school in Sasebo. While a student in senior high, he joined in forming a rock band called Coelacanth, as the drummer.[1] In the summer of his third year in senior high, Murakami and his fellow students 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 hippie culture, which had a strong influence on him.

After graduating from high school in 1970, Murakami formed another rock band and produced some 8-millimeter indie films.[2] He enrolled in the silkscreen department at Gendaishichosha School of Art in Tokyo, but dropped out in the first year. In October 1972, he moved to Fussa, Tokyo and was accepted for the sculpture program at Musashino Art University. He married his wife, a keyboard player, in the 1970s and their son was born in 1980.[3] In the early 1990s, Murakami devoted himself to disseminating Cuban music in Japan and established a label, Murakami's, within Sony Music.

Murakami started the e-magazine JMM (Japan Mail Media) in 1999 and still serves as its chief editor. Since 2006, he has also hosted a talk show on business and finance called Kanburia Kyuden, broadcast on TV Tokyo.[4] The co-host is Eiko Koike. In the same year, he began a video streaming service, RVR (Ryu's Video Report). In 2010, he established a company, G2010 [ja], to sell and produce eBooks.[5][6]


Murakami's first work was the short novel Almost Transparent Blue, written while he was still a university student.[7] It deals with promiscuity and drug use among disaffected youth. Critically acclaimed as a new style of literature, it won the Gunzo Prize for New Writers in 1976, despite some objections on the grounds of decadence. Later the same year, his Blue won the Akutagawa Prize,[8] going on to become a bestseller.[2]

In 1980, Murakami published a much longer novel, Coin Locker Babies, again to critical acclaim, and won the 3rd Noma Liberal Arts New Member Prize. Next came the autobiographical novel 69, and then Ai to Gensō no Fascism (1987), revolving around the struggle to reform Japan's survival-of-the-fittest society with a secret "Hunting Society".[clarification needed] His work Topaz (1988) concerns a sado-masochistic woman's radical expression of her sexuality.

Murakami's The World in Five Minutes From Now (1994) is written as a point of view in a parallel universe version of Japan, and was nominated for the 30th Tanizaki Prize. In 1996 he continued his autobiography 69, and released the Murakami Ryū Movie and Novel Collection. He also won the Taiko Hirabayashi 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 the live-action film Love and Pop by anime director Hideaki Anno. His Popular Hits of the Showa Era concerns the escalating firepower in a battle between five teenage male and five middle-aged female social rejects. Literary scholar Barbara Greene suggests that the text reveals how "the invisible violence of post-Bubble Japan’s social order is made explicit through a low-stakes, yet hyperviolent, guerilla war undertaken by a set of ludicrous and narcissistic characters whose increasingly deadly attacks are met with public indifference. Within the consumer-capitalist social order, personal satisfaction is the paramount goal..."[9]

In 1997 came the psychological thriller novel In the Miso Soup, set in Tokyo's Kabuki-cho red-light district, which won him the Yomiuri Prize for Fiction that year. Parasites (Kyōsei chū, 2000) is about a young hikikomori fascinated by war. It won him the 36th Tanizaki Prize. The same year Exodus From Hopeless Japan (Kibō no Kuni no Exodus) told of junior high school students who lose their desire to be involved in normal Japanese society and instead create a new one over the internet.[2]

In 2001, Murakami became involved in his friend Ryuichi Sakamoto's group NML No More Landmines, which sets out to remove landmines from former battle sites around the world.

In 2004, Murakami announced the publication of 13 Year Old Hello Work, aimed at increasing interest in young people who are entering the workforce. Hantō wo Deyo (2005) is about an invasion of Japan by North Korea. It won him the Noma Liberal Arts Prize and Mainichi Shuppan Culture Award [ja].

The novel Audition was made into a feature film by Takashi Miike. Murakami reportedly liked it so much he gave Miike his blessing to adapt Coin Locker Babies. The screenplay for the latter was worked on by director Jordan Galland but Miike failed to raise enough funding for it. An adaptation directed by Michele Civetta is currently in production.[10][needs update]

In 2011, Utau Kujira won the Mainichi Art Award [ja].

Selected bibliography[edit]


Year Japanese Title English Title Notes
1976 Kagirinaku Tōmei ni Chikai Burū (限りなく透明に近いブルー) Almost Transparent Blue English translation by Nancy Andrew
1977 Umi no Mukō de Sensō ga Hajimaru (海の向こうで戦争が始まる) War Begins Beyond the Sea French translation by Claude Okamoto
1980 Koinrokkā Beibīzu (コインロッカー・ベイビーズ) Coin Locker Babies English translation by Stephen Snyder, republished by Pushkin Press, 2013
1983 Daijōbu mai furendo (だいじょうぶマイ・フレンド) All Right, My Friend
1985 Tenisu Bōi no Yūutsu (テニスボーイの憂鬱) Melancholy of Tennis Boy
1987 69 Shikusuti Nain 69 English translation by Ralph F. McCarthy, published by Pushkin Press, 2013
Ai to Gensō no Fasizumu (愛と幻想のファシズム) Fascism of Love and Fantasy
1989 Raffuruzu Hoteru (ラッフルズホテル) Raffles Hotel
1991 Kokkusakkā Burūsu (コックサッカーブルース) Cocksucker Blues
Chōdendō Naito Kurabu (超電導ナイトクラブ) Superconduction Nightclub
1992 Ibisa (イビサ) Ibiza
Nagasaki Oranda Mura (長崎オランダ村) Nagasaki Holland Village
1993 Ekusutashī (エクスタシー) Ecstasy
Fijī no Kobito (フィジーの小人) Fijian Midget
Sanbyakurokujūhachi Yādo Pā Fō Dai Ni Da (368Y Par4 第2打) 368Y Par4 the 2nd shot
Ongaku no Kaigan (音楽の海岸) The seashore of the music
1994 Shōwa Kayō Daizenshū (昭和歌謡大全集) Popular Hits of the Showa Era: A Novel English translation by Ralph F. McCarthy. Published by Pushkin Press, 2013
Gofungo no Sekai (五分後の世界) The World in Five Minutes From Now
Piasshingu (ピアッシング) Piercing English translation by Ralph F. McCarthy. Published in English January 2007.
1995 KYOKO Kyoko French translation by Corinne Atlan
1996 Hūga Uirusu Gofungo no Sekai Tū (ヒュウガ・ウイルス 五分後の世界II) Hūga Virus: The World in Five Minutes From Now II
Merankoria (メランコリア) Melancholia French translation by Sylvain Cardonnel
Rabu ando Poppu Topāzu Tū (ラブ&ポップ トパーズII) Love & Pop: Topaz II
1997 Ōdishon (オーディション) Audition English translation by Ralph McCarthy.[11] Spanish translation by J.C. Cortés.
Sutorenji Deizu (ストレンジ・デイズ) Strange Days
In za Misosūpu (イン ザ・ミソスープ) 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.
1998 Rain (ライン) Lines French translation ("Lignes") by Sylvain Cardonnel, Czech translation ("Čáry") by Jan Levora.
2000 Kyōsei Chū (共生虫) Parasites French translation by Sylvain Cardonnel
Kibō no Kuni no Ekusodasu (希望の国のエクソダス) Exodus of the country of hope
2001 Tanatosu (タナトス) Thanatos
Saigo no Kazoku (最後の家族) The Last Family
2005 Hantō o Deyo (半島を出よ) From the Fatherland, with Love Translated into English by Ralph McCarthy, Charles De Wolf and Ginny Tapley Takemori, published by Pushkin Press, 2013
2010 歌うクジラ A Singing Whale[12]
2011 Kokoro wa Anata no Motoni (心はあなたのもとに) My Love is Beneath You
2015 Ōrudo Terorisuto (オールド・テロリスト) Old Terrorist

Short story collections[edit]

Year Japanese Title English Title Notes
1984 Kanashiki Nettai (悲しき熱帯) Tropical Sad reissued under the new title of "Summer in the city" in 1988.
1986 Posuto Poppu Āto no aru Heya (POST ポップアートのある部屋) POST, Room with Pop Art
Hashire! Takahashi (走れ!タカハシ) Run! Takahashi a series of novels about one baseball player
ニューヨーク・シティ・マラソン New York City Marathon
1988 Topāzu (トパーズ) Topaz
Murakami Ryū Ryōri Shōsetsushū (村上龍料理小説集) The collection of the Ryū Murakami dish novels
1991 Koi wa itsumo Michina mono (恋はいつも未知なもの) Love is always strange
1995 Murakami Ryū Eiga Shōsetsushū (村上龍映画小説集) The collection of the Ryū Murakami movie novels
1996 Monika – Ongakuka no Yume Shōsetsuka no Monogatari (モニカ-音楽家の夢・小説家の物語) Monica - Dream of a musician, story of a novelist Joint work with Ryuichi Sakamoto
1997 Hakuchō (白鳥) Swan
1998 Wain Ippai dake no Shinjitsu (ワイン一杯だけの真実) Truth of a cup of wine
2003 Tōku Hanarete Soba ni ite (とおくはなれてそばにいて)
Dokonidemo aru Basho Dokonimo inai Watashi (どこにでもある場所どこにもいないわたし) renamed to Kūkō nite (空港にて, at the airport) in the paperback edition
2007 Tokkenteki Jōjin Bishoku Murakami Ryū Ryōri & Kannō Shōsetsushū (特権的情人美食 村上龍料理&官能小説集) The privileged mistress gastronomy: The collection of Ryū Murakami dish & sensuality novels
2012 Gojūgo-sai kara no Harōraifu (55歳からのハローライフ) Hello Life from 55 years old
2016 Tokyo Decadence: 15 Stories A collection of stories from several of Murakami's story collections, translated by Ralph McCarthy. Spanish translation by J.C. Cortés

English short stories[edit]

Year Japanese Title English Title Notes
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.[13]
2005 I am a Novelist short story published in The New Yorker (Jan. 3, 2005).
English translation by Ralph McCarthy
2009 At the Airport short story in Zoetrope All-Story (Vol. 13, No. 2, 2009). English translation by Ralph McCarthy.[13]
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).[13]
2011 Penlight Zoetrope All-Story (Vol. 15, No. 3, 2011). English translation by Ralph McCarthy.[13]

Non-fiction and essays[edit]

Year Japanese Title English Title Notes
1985 Amerikan Dorīmu (アメリカン★ドリーム) American Dream
1987 Subete no Otoko wa Shōmōhin de aru (すべての男は消耗品である。) Every Man is a Consumable Vol.1–11 (1987–2010)
1991 Murakami Ryū zen essei 1976-1981 (村上龍全エッセイ 1976-1981) All the Ryū Murakami essays 1976-1981
Murakami Ryū zen essei 1982-1986 (村上龍全エッセイ 1982-1986) All the Ryū Murakami essays 1982-1986
Murakami Ryū zen essei 1987-1991 (村上龍全エッセイ 1987-1991) All the Ryū Murakami essays 1987-1991
1992 Ryū gen higo (龍言飛語)
1993 "Futsū no onna no ko" to shite sonzaishitakunai anata e. (「普通の女の子」として存在したくないあなたへ。) To you who don't want to exist as "an ordinary girl."
1996 Anata ga inakunatta ato no Tōkyō monogatari (あなたがいなくなった後の東京物語) Tokyo Story after you go away
1998 Samishī koku no satsujin (寂しい国の殺人) Murder in a lonely country
Fijikaru intenshiti (フィジカル・インテンシティ) Physical Intensity Vol.1-5 (1998–2002)
1999 Samishī koku kara haruka wārudo sakkā e (寂しい国から遥かなるワールドサッカーへ) From the Lonely country to far-off world soccer
2000 Dare ni demo de kiru renai (誰にでもできる恋愛) The love that anyone can do
2001 Dame na onna (ダメな女) Useless Woman
2002 Damesarenai tameni, watashi wa keizai manda Murakami Ryū Weekly Report (だまされないために、わたしは経済を学んだ 村上龍weekly report) I studied economics so as not to be deceived: Ryū Murakami weekly report
Renai no Kakusa (恋愛の格差) Involuntary celibacy
Makuro Nihon keizai kara mikuro anata jishin e Murakami Ryū Weekly Report (マクロ・日本経済からミクロ・あなた自身へ 村上龍weekly report) From macro, Japanese economy to micro, yourself: Ryū Murakami weekly report
2003 Jisatsu yori wa SEX Murakami Ryū no Renai Jōsei ron (自殺よりはSEX 村上龍の恋愛・女性論) SEX is better than Suicide: Ryū Murakami's theory of love and woman
2006 Watashi wa amaete iru no deshō ka? 27 sai OL (わたしは甘えているのでしょうか?27歳・OL) Am I spoiling myself? 27 years old, female office worker
Murakami Ryū bungaku teki essei shū (村上龍文学的エッセイ集) The collection of Ryū Murakami literary essays
2007 Angai, kaimono suki (案外、買い物好き) Unexpectedly, I'm a shopping lover
2008 Sore de mo watashi wa koi ga shitai kōfuku ni naritai okane mo hoshī (それでもわたしは、恋がしたい 幸福になりたい お金も欲しい) Still I want to love, want to be happy, and also want money
2009 Mushumi no susume (無趣味のすすめ) Encouragement of having no hobby
2010 Nigeru chuukōnen, yokubō no nai wakamonotachi (逃げる中高年、欲望のない若者たち) Old and middle age who run away, youths with few wants
2012 Sakura no ki no shita niwa gareki ga uzumatte iru. (櫻の樹の下には瓦礫が埋まっている) Debris is buried under the cherry tree.

Interviews and letters[edit]

Year Japanese Title English Title Notes
1977 中上健次vs村上龍 俺たちの船は、動かぬ霧の中を、纜を解いて
Kenji Nakagami vs Ryū Murakami: Our ship unmoors in a stagnant fog with Kenji Nakagami
1981 ウォーク・ドント・ラン 村上龍VS村上春樹

Wōku donto ran Murakami Ryū vs Murakami Haruki

Walk, Don't Run: Ryū Murakami vs Haruki Murakami with Haruki Murakami
1985 EV.Cafe 超進化論 EV.Cafe ultra-Darwinism with Ryuichi Sakamoto
1992 友よ、また逢おう See you, my friend Ryū Murakami = Ryuichi Sakamoto letters
1994 村上龍+椹木野衣 最新対論 神は細部に宿る Ryū Murakami + Noi Sawaragi Latest Discussion: God is in the details with Noi Sawaragi
1999 村上龍対談集 存在の耐えがたきサルサ Ryū Murakami interview collection: The Unbearable Salsa of Being
2006 「個」を見つめるダイアローグ 村上壟X伊藤穣一 Dialogue to stare at "individual": Ryū Murakami X Joichi Ito

Picture book[edit]

Year Japanese Title English Title Notes
1983 絵本 だいじょうぶマイ・フレンド Picture book: All Right, My Friend Illustrator: Katsu Yoshida
1989 友達のラ リ ル レ ロ Illustrator: Sumako Yasui
1996 絵物語・永遠の一瞬 すてきなジェニファー Wonderful Jennifer Illustrator: Yoko Yamamoto
1999 あの金で何が買えたか バブル・ファンタジー What were we able to buy with that money?: Bubble Fantasy Illustrator: Yuka Hamano
2000 ストレイト・ストーリー The Straight Story picture book of the movie (director: David Lynch) of the same title, Illustrator: Yuka Hamano
2001 おじいさんは山へ金儲けに 時として、投資は希望を生む The old man goes to the mountain for money-making. The investment occasionally produces hope. Illustrator: Yuka Hamano
2003 13歳のハローワーク Hello Work for 13 years old Illustrator: Yuka Hamano
ポストマン Postman Illustrator: Yuka Hamano
シールド(盾) Shield Illustrator: Yuka Hamano


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 Novel, Scriptwriter, Director Ryū Murakami
1983 だいじょうぶマイ・フレンド
Daijōbu mai furendo
All Right, My Friend Novel, Scriptwriter, Director Ryū Murakami
1989 ラッフルズホテル
Raffuruzu Hoteru
Raffles Hotel Novel, Director Ryū Murakami
1992 トパーズ
Topaz a.k.a. Tokyo Decadence Novel, Scriptwriter, Director Ryū Murakami
1996 ラブ&ポップ
Rabu & Poppu
Love & Pop Novel Hideaki Anno
1999 オーディション
Audition Novel Takashi Miike
2000 KYOKO Because of You Novel, Scriptwriter, Director Ryū Murakami
2001 走れ!イチロー
Hashire! Ichirō
Run! Ichiro Novel Kazuki Ōmori
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 Novel Lee Sang-il
2006 ポプラル!
Popular! Executive Producer Jen Paz
2018 ピアッシング


Piercing Novel Nicolas Pesce


  1. ^ Noble, Barnes &. "Almost Transparent Blue". Barnes & Noble. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Pilling, David (27 September 2013). "Ryu Murakami". Financial Times. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  3. ^ Pilling, David (2013-09-27). "Ryu Murakami". Financial Times.
  4. ^ "カンブリア宮殿:テレビ東京". カンブリア宮殿:テレビ東京. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  5. ^ 「電子書籍は文字文化の革命」——作家・村上龍さんが電子書籍会社設立 (in Japanese). ITmedia Enterprise. 2010-11-04. Retrieved 2014-06-29.
  6. ^ "iBookstoreとともに「村上龍電子本製作所」が始動" (in Japanese). ASCII Corporation. 2013-03-08. Retrieved 2014-06-29.
  7. ^ "Murakami ryu Archives".
  8. ^ "The Future of Japan Is 'Very Dark', Says Ryu Murakami". 3 May 2013. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  9. ^ Greene, Barbara (2023-05-17). "A subaltern civil war: Precariat in-Fighting in Murakami Ryu's Popular Hits of the Showa Era". Contemporary Japan: 1–21. doi:10.1080/18692729.2023.2208400. ISSN 1869-2729.
  10. ^ "404 Error - IMDb". Retrieved 17 February 2018 – via www.imdb.com. {{cite web}}: Cite uses generic title (help)
  11. ^ Boddy, Kasia (17 February 2018). "Audition by Ryu Murakami - review". Retrieved 17 February 2018 – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  12. ^ "Might Ryu Murakami's switch to the iPad signal the beginning of the end for traditional publishers?". TheGuardian.com. 24 July 2010.
  13. ^ a b c d "Zoetrope: All-Story". www.all-story.com. Retrieved 17 February 2018.

External links[edit]