Ryū Murakami

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Ryū Murakami
Ryu Murakami.jpg
Ryū Murakami in 2005
Born (1952-02-19) February 19, 1952 (age 64)
Sasebo, Nagasaki, Japan
Occupation Novelist, essayist, filmmaker
Nationality Japanese
Literary movement Postmodernism

Ryū Murakami (村上 龍 Murakami Ryū?, born February 19, 1952 in Sasebo, Nagasaki) is a Japanese novelist, short story writer, essayist and filmmaker. Murakami's 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, Coin Locker Babies and In the Miso Soup.

Biography[edit]

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 protagonist in Daibosatsu-tōge, a piece of fiction by Nakazato Kaizan (1885–1944).

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 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.

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. 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-mail 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.[3] 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 (ジーニーゼロイチゼロ Jī Nī Zero Ichi Zero?), to sell and produce eBooks.[4][5]

Works[edit]

Murakami's first work was the short novel Almost Transparent Blue, written while he was still a university student. It deals with promiscuity and drug use among disaffected youth. Critically acclaimed as a new style of literature, it won the Gunzō newcomer's literature prize in 1976, despite some objections on the grounds of decadence. Later the same year, his Blue won the Akutagawa Prize,[6] going on to become a bestseller.[7]

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 Gensou no Fascism (1987), revolving around the struggle to reform Japan’s survival-of-the-fittest society with a secret "Hunting Society". His work Topaz (1988) concerns a sadomasochistic 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 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 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.

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.[8]

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 and Mainichi Shuppan Culture prizes.

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.[9][needs update]

In 2011, Utau Kujira won the Mainichi Art Award.

Selected bibliography[edit]

Novels[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る (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
1983 だいじょうぶマイ・フレンド (Daijōbu mai furendo?) All Right, My Friend
1985 テニスボーイの憂鬱 (Tenisu Bōi no Yūutsu?) Melancholy of Tennis Boy
1987 69 Shikusuti Nain 69 English translation by Ralph F. McCarthy, published by Pushkin Press, 2013
愛と幻想のファシズム (Ai to Gensō no Fasizumu?) Fascism of Love and Fantasy
1989 ラッフルズホテル (Raffuruzu Hoteru?) Raffles Hotel
1991 コックサッカーブルース (Kokkusakkā Burūsu?) Cocksucker Blues
超電導ナイトクラブ (Chōdendō Naito Kurabu?) Superconduction Nightclub
1992 イビサ (Ibisa?) Ibiza
長崎オランダ村 (Nagasaki Oranda Mura?) Nagasaki Holland Village
1993 エクスタシー (Ekusutashī?) Ecstasy
フィジーの小人 (Fijī no Kobito?) Fijian Midget
368Y Par4 第2打 (Sanbyakurokujūhachi Yādo Pā Fō Dai Ni Da?) 368Y Par4 the 2nd shot
音楽の海岸 (Ongaku no Kaigan?) The seashore of the music
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
五分後の世界 (Gofungo no Sekai?) The World in Five Minutes From Now
ピアッシング (Piasshingu?) Piercing English translation by Ralph F. McCarthy. Published in English January 2007.
1995 KYOKO Kyoko French translation by Corinne Atlan
1996 ヒュウガ・ウイルス 五分後の世界Ⅱ (Hūga Uirusu Gofungo no Sekai Tū?) Hūga Virus: The World in Five Minutes From Now II
メランコリア (Merankoria?) Melancholia French translation by Sylvain Cardonnel
ラブ&ポップ トパーズⅡ (Rabu ando Poppu Topāzu Tū?) Love & Pop: Topaz II
1997 オーディション (Ōdishon?) Audition English translation by Ralph McCarthy[10]
ストレンジ・デイズ (Sutorenji Deizu?) Strange Days
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.
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
希望の国のエクソダス (Kibō no Kuni no Ekusodasu?) Exodus of the country of hope
2001 タナトス (Tanatosu?) Thanatos
THE MASK CLUB The Mask Club
最後の家族 (Saigo no Kazoku?) The Last Family
2005 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
2010 歌うクジラ Singing Whale
2011 心はあなたのもとに (Kokoro wa Anata no Motoni?)

Short story collections[edit]

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

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.[11]
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.[11]
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).[11]
2011 Penlight Zoetrope All-Story (Vol. 15, No. 3, 2011). English translation by Ralph McCarthy.[11]

Non-fiction and essays[edit]

Year Japanese Title English Title Notes
1985 アメリカン★ドリーム American Dream
1987 すべての男は消耗品である。 Every Man is a Consumable Vol.1–11 (1987–2010)
1991 村上龍全エッセイ 1976-1981 All the Ryū Murakami essays 1976-1981
村上龍全エッセイ 1982-1986 All the Ryū Murakami essays 1982-1986
村上龍全エッセイ 1987-1991 All the Ryū Murakami essays 1987-1991
1992 龍言飛語
1993 「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 あなたがいなくなった後の東京物語 Tokyo Story after you go away
1998 寂しい国の殺人 Murder in the lonely country
フィジカル・インテンシティ Physical Intensity Vol.1-5 (1998-2002)
1999 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 誰にでもできる恋愛 The love that anyone can do
2001 ダメな女 Useless Woman
2002 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
恋愛の格差 Involuntary celibacy
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 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 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

村上龍文学的エッセイ集 The collection of Ryū Murakami literary essays
2007 案外、買い物好き Unexpectedly, I’m a shopping lover
2008 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 無趣味のすすめ Encouragement of the having no hobby
2010 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 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 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 ("Ko" wo Mitsumeru Daiarōgu Murakami Ryū X Itō Jōichi?) 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) (Sīrudo (Tate)?) Shield Illustrator: Yuka Hamano

Filmography[edit]

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
Topāzu
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
Ōdishon
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 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
Shikusutinain
69 Novel Lee Sang-il
2006 ポプラル!
Popuraru!
Popular! Executive Producer Jen Paz
2008 コインロッカー・ベイビーズ
Koinrokkā Beibīzu
Coin Locker Babies Novel Michele Civetta

References[edit]

External links[edit]