haruki murakami

Haruki Murakami in Asahi Shimbun

Reclusive novelist Haruki Murakami surprised and delighted the audience when he opened up about several topics during his recent speech at Kyoto University. Smiling and cracking jokes, the best-selling author and Nobel Prize contender was in high spirits from start to finish….

(Asahi Shimbun – Haruki Murakami)

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New Haruki Murakami Novel Set for April

Literary giant Haruki Murakami is set to release his first novel in three years in April, publisher Bungeishunju Ltd. said Feb. 16.

His last major work was in April 2010, when “1Q84: Book 3,” the final volume of a trilogy, was released by Shinchosha Publishing Co.

(Asahi – Haruki Murakami)

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China asks, “Meet Halfway?” on Islands Dispute

This is what a small minority of Japanese leaders are asking for. Just to meet halfway. We wrote about Haruki Murakami and Shunji Iwai’s voices about this subject which includes sharing. (Giant Robot)

China called on new Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday to meet Beijing ‘halfway’ to try and improve relations that have been hurt by a debilitating territorial dispute. (TimesofIndia – Halfway)


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Haruki Murakami and Shunji Iwai Weigh in on the Territory Dispute

The islands dispute has turned just a moment to Haruki Murakami who wrote an essay about the situation. Basically, from news reports, he’s siding with the logic that the islands are creating a huge conflict in relationships between China and Japan and both sides need to simmer down from their Nationalism and find practical solutions. His books along with other Japanese books are being removed from bookstore shelves in China. (WSJ – Haruki Murakami)

Also, director friend, Shunji Iwai, who is among the most popular Japanese directors in China has been vocal through some past tweets which has gathered a lot of views. They’ve been translated and paraphrased a bit. (@sindyeye)


We need to think of their situation and know how provocative the actions of buying the island appears. Japan seems to forget they started the strategy war.


Over all, the Japanese media is saying too many bad things about their neighboring countries. Children can understand how it’ll feel if someone talks bad about your own grand father or grand mother. There are so many people love Japan and so many Asians visiting Japan.


Because in a time like this, I think people who feel the same should get together and get united to protect the peace.


Japan tried to invade their neighboring countries, and lost the war with the US, but got an exemption. It is understandable for the country who got invaded to be still mad, It is crazy that Japan has forgotten about it. That is my understandings of the history.

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Haruki Murakami Leads Nobel Race

His odds are among the highest to win. With 46 new entrants in the running for the first time and some close runners up from the past, it’s not a safe bet. Murakami’s novel IQ84 was his most recent. (GuardianUK – Haruki Murakami)

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Grant Snider – Haruki Murakami Bingo Illustration

Grant Snider – Haruki Murakami Bingo Illustration

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Norwegian Wood Novel Promo at Giant Robot 2 Store (In Store and Online)

Get a free copy of Norwegian Wood, the novel by Haruki Murakami. Just follow the directions which are a) spend $40 and b) mention Norwegian Wood in the notes of your order. We have copies for both online and the store. We’ll also throw in what promo materials we have for the upcoming film opening soon. Take a look at the site for the show schedules. *In store folks, as an added bonus, we’ll also give you a signed mini poster with Rinko Kikuchi and Tran Anh Hung’s autograph. All you have to do is spend $40! Norwegian Wood Movie.

 The link to the GR Store.


Here’s the poster:


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GR Interview: Actress Rinko Kikuchi


Rinko Kikuchi might be best known for her role as the mute school girl in Babel directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu. Nominated for an Oscar, she’s gone on to numerous projects including Brothers Bloom and is in 47 Ronin with Keanu Reeves and yet another project currently filming with Guillermo Del Toro. Her role in Tran Anh Hung directed adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood is far from a tender character as she’s cast as Naoko, a person who’s mentally ill, plagued by her own demons. Kikuchi currently lives in New York City and we caught up with her during her Norwegian Wood promotions. Her English is coming along as well as her acting roles.


GR: Can you tell me about your experience of reading Norwegian Wood?

RK: When I read the book, I was the same age as Naoko, so I fell in love with Naoko’s character and ten years later, I got this role. Now I understand her better than when I first read the book.


GR: When I read some books when I was younger and then I re-read it again at a different time it felt a lot different. How did you see that? Did it change a little bit when you read it one more time before the movie?

RK: Yea, when I made this film, I learned everything has an end. Naoko and Kizuki wanted to keep their beautiful memory so they committed suicide. They were scared to open the other door, you know? That’s why I think this book is really beautiful, poetic and fragile. So I got a new experience of the book after making the film.



GR: I know that the character is kind of a difficult one and I was reading how you had to get into that character. How do you do that?

RK: I read the book over and over again, and I asked Naoko questions and tried to get the right answers from her. Right at the beginning of the shoot, the answers and questions melded, so finally I could do that the role, but every specific hint from the novel mattered.


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GR Interview Tran Anh Hung

From Tran Anh Hung, “Murakami and his wife loved the film. I’m not the right person who can repeat all the nice things they said about the movie. They used the word ‘noble’ to describe the movie. That’s all I can say.”

Norwegian Wood is a beloved book by Haruki Murakami. The fans have rallied behind this author in almost any endeavor, thus a film adapted from one of his novels proves to be near impossible in escaping built in scrutiny from the moment it’s conceived. Director of films such as Scent of Green Papayas and Cyclo, Tran Anh Hung rose to the task and proved that a film could be made and done well. The film isn’t action. It’s is a Haruki Murakami novel adapted into a film. It’s meant to be meditative, spiritual and also beautiful which Tran Anh Hung delicately captures. The film will open in January.


GR: Can you talk about your relationship with Haruki Murakami.

TAH: I sent him a letter when I learned that he gave his permission to a Japanese director to adapt one of his short stories. Since I wanted to adapt his books. In ’94 was the first time I read his book. So five years ago I sent him a letter asking him if he would be interested to meet in Tokyo and he said ‘yes, come over’ and that’s how we met for the first time. During this meeting he was very simple. He wanted to read the script and also to know about the budget of the movie.

GR: Oh wow.

TAH: Yea so we spent, the producer and I, a year of two to give him the project.

GR: You’ve mentioned that he is one of your influences. Is that something that you kind of grew up with, did you read his novels?

TAH: No, no, I only read one book. As usual when I’m interested in something I have to keep it very fresh meaning that I was not interested in finding out who is the writer and to read his older books. I didn’t want to read his older books because I only wanted to keep this book very fresh in my mind and wait for the moment where I can sign a contract with a producer to start working on the book. It’s only when I stopped working on the book that I start to learn how important is the book for the people that it’s a very successful book. I didn’t know this before.



200 Special Copies of Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood Spread Across NYC


It’ll have a code that you need to enter in at the email address provided. Here’s more info:

“This weekend a number of *very special* copies of Norwegian Wood will be hidden across Manhattan, giving you the chance to attend the New York Premiere with Rinko Kikuchi and Tran Anh Hung next Wednesday.

Inside each of the books is a code and email address: just email the code and you’ll be entered into the competition.

They’ll be placed at locations related to the film: a record shop, somewhere Beatles-y, a beautiful designer store… and will be easily identifiable by the Pick Me Up yellow sticker that is on the front.”

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Norwegian Wood Ticket Giveaway Winners

It wasn’t easy to pick the 10 winners of the tickets for two to see Norwegian Wood. There were 60+ entries for the ten spots. They were picked by me based on whatever criteria I felt at the moment. There isn’t a “if I write more, I have a better chance” system. It could be how I felt at that moment and your short poetic words caught me off guard, maybe that’s how I picked. If you didn’t get in, please try again during our next giveaway. Some of your words were too generic, in a “let me in” type of way, but if you offered just a little more, you were in the running. Here’s my picks. (I left the editing part out, some probably wrote from their smart phones and some carefully crafted their words)


The 100% Perfect Girl

I’m a huge Haruki Murakami fan. I have his more recent books but unfortunately haven’t read Norwegian Wood. I loved 1Q84. I just found out about this movie a week ago and was stoked. I’d love to attend and already know “the 100% perfect girl” who would be my date, as she’s a big fan too!
Greg Wong

-Greg, you are the dark horse, there are fans of all of his books, fans of the filmmaker, and fans of the actors who aren’t getting in, but this “100% perfect girl” is intriguing. If there’s such a thing for you and you know who she is, I’m picking you just on that merit, so hurry and ask her.



oh, let me count the ways…

it was the first murakami book i read almost 20 years ago. and i read it in a tiny, tiny city in southeastern japan, so that made it even more special. i lived a long time in japan, and his books kept me grand company as the still do today. in fact, i just re-read norwegian wood about a month ago and it’s still a lovely little tome to me.

i’m very excited to see this movie, especially because rinko kikuchi is in it.

flipping love her!

ALSO, i speak/read/write japanese, am a member of the Japan Society here in new york, and have always loved me some Giant Robot.

so in closing:

Jennifer Andrews

-Jennifer, Yes, we love her too. I doubt she loves us back the same. The GR plug, a great move. Have a great time.




Giant Robot Giveaway 10 Pairs of Tickets to see Norwegian Wood in NYC + Q and A – Dec 14, 2011

New York Giant Robot readers and friends, Tran Anh Hung’s adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood is set to be released, but there’s a special screening.

Send us just a bit of why you’d like to see this film to [email protected] First 10 to qualify can go and see this movie.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011. 7:00 pm Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street, New York City

Followed by a Q&A with writer-Director Tran Anh Hung and Actress Rinko Kikuchi and a reception.

Japan Society, Soda Pictures + Red Flag Releasing, and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, invite you and a guest to a screening of Norwegian Wood, the new film by Tran Anh Hung (Academy Award nominee for The Scent of Green Papaya and Golden Lion winner for CYCLO), based on the internationally acclaimed and bestselling novel by Haruki Murakami.

Written and directed by Tran Anh Hung. Based on the novel by Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood.
Starring Kenichi Matsuyama, Rinko Kikuchi, and Kiko Mizuhara. Cinematography by Mark Lee Ping Bin. Music score by Jonny Greenwood. Released by Soda Pictures + Red Flag Releasing


Norwegian Wood is a moving story of loss and sexuality set in Tokyo in the late 1960s against a time of global instability. Watanabe (Japanese star Kenichi Matsuyama, Death Note, Detroit Metal City) looks back on his days as a freshman university student living in Tokyo. Through his reminiscences, we see him develop relationships with two very different women, the beautiful yet emotionally troubled Naoko (Oscar nominee Rinko Kikuchi, Babel), and the outgoing, lively Midori (Japanese-Korean model-actress Kiko Mizuhara.) The film’s cinematography is by Mark Lee Ping Bin (In the Mood for Love, Devils on the Doorstep). Originally published in 1987, Murakami’s novel has since been translated into 33 languages and published in 36 countries.

Vietnam-born and Paris-based writer-director Tran Anh Hung was nominated for an Academy Award for The Scent of the Green Papaya and won the Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion for Cyclo. Norwegian Wood is his fifth feature.

Norwegian Wood is scheduled to open in New York on Friday, January 6 followed by a national roll out.


The 1980s and the Murakami Phenomenon

The English publication of Haruki Murakami’s novel, 1Q84, is  beyond the horizon and the literary world is abuzz with excitement. As the name suggests, it takes place during 1984, a curious contemporary setting given that this was the same decade where Murakami’s career took flight. As many economic historians know, it’s also a period where Japan’s economic wealth was at its height before their economic bubble burst  and a recession stretched past the turn of the millennium. Writers and historians stress the monetary decadence of the 1980s, but there was more than just productional consumption at play. A closer look into the country’s “consumption of knowledge” reveals a lesser known account of Japan’s “intellectual” trends of the time and where Murakami fit into the picture.

Murakami wrote a collection with Shigesato Itoi titled Yume de Aimashou (Let’s Meet in a Dream) in 1981. Gamers are quick to recognize Itoi as the director of the Earthbound (Mother 2) video game. However, Itoi was renowned for neither work during his prime. It’s his position  as a copywriter that made Itoi a national celebrity–a Japanese Don Draper if you will–in the 1980s.  Itoi’s unlikely ascent to superstardom offers a greater insight towards Japanese commercial life during this decade and further aids us in understanding Murakami’s popularity–or what some have deemed the “Murakami Phenomenon.”


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Old Magazine Cover of Murakami

I stumbled on this the other day. It’s a cover Of Haruki Murakami on a Japanese magazine from 1983. Now graph out his bibliography and calculate its chronology in your head. At the time he only had a handful of short stories, two brief novellas, and A Wild Sheep Chase notched beneath his belt.

This was well before Norwegian Wood. Before he made it big.

It’s kind of surreal to see him this young.


More Haruki Murakami

Just days ago, we wrote about the world wide stardom of Author Haruki Murakami. The BBC writes their own gushing piece about the author. One book store rep mentions Harry Potter in the same sentence as IQ84 in terms of sales. His book is set to come out next week, and it’s set to be a best seller at 1600 pages. There’s a lot of Murakami factoids and this one should wet your appetite to actually read this behemoth of a novel.

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Haruki Murakami’s IQ84 Reviewed

WSJ reviews IQ84 by Haruki Murakami. I can’t think of a writer that a person of our generation might care about as much as he. His books haven’t all been made into huge block buster movies. There’s some arty ones, or at least one arty one, but for the most part, they haven’t worked out. Perhaps his novels are ones that can’t be made into film because they are created for the written experience. Murakami’s words are ones that are meant to be read, not said or visualized since the prose is special (at least to many). It’s what makes him popular and what makes his books sell even when they’re behemoths. It’ll take a special mind to make it all work on screen, but for now, a near 1000 page book is something you have to work through and endure as much as enjoy. Therefore, here’s a review of the book and it’s not by me. The illustration shows some age rather than the same old press photo that’s been used for a decade. He’s a special character and as much as he’s intriguing, he’s also a dinosaur in a way. A symbol. A person who isn’t the public rock star that he could be. A guy who stands out for his actual writing, rather than what he says publicly. While writing seems like it’s gone way of photography – digital cameras and blogs changing the face of what’s pro vs not pro, Haruki Murakami still stands up.

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More about Haruki Murakami’s IQ84

The book is on it’s way, and it’s a monster at 900+ pages. It’s all of it in one. In some places it’ll be in multiple volumes, but in the US it will be in one giant book. Evidently the third installment was something added later after Murakami had thought his story was complete. Haruki Murakami has to be one of the most anticipated writers in current times. (WSJ – Murakami)


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Read Haruki Murakami’s IQ84 Excerpt Free

Highly anticipated, IQ84 by Haruki Murakami isn’t out for another month and a half. But you can read an excerpt of the first paragraph and see if you like it by liking his Facebook page. That’s all  you have to do. (Facebook – Haruki Murakami)

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Wind Up Bird Chronicle – Theater Edinburgh

Yes, it gets panned. This sounds like a disaster. Walk outs happened. It’s not the first time it’s been on stage, but this has to be hard to do. Here’s a review. This is still something that we’d like to see.

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Haruki Murakami wins Award then Blasts the Nuclear Policy

Haruki Murakami goes back to WWII, and basically says that Japan should have never had nuclear anything after the two bombs. He’s quoted as saying, “However, this time it was not a bomb being dropped upon us, but a mistake committed by our very own hands.” The award it turns out is given to a person who helps the world! It’s been handed out to Jimmy Carter and Aung San Suu Ki in the past.(Guardian UK – Haruki Murakami) (Catalan News Agency – Haruki Murakami)

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