literature

Author Haruki Murakami’s Q&A blog closes, posts hint at his own incredibly sad marriage

Haruki Murakami has answered many questions from readers on his blog since it opened in January, ranging from the meaning of life to nuclear power to TV addiction, but now it has closed up shop. Murakami will be selecting the best questions and answers and publishing them plus some extras in a new book in the near future.

With the full corpus of questions and answers still available online though, some fans have gone through and discovered an interesting part of Murakami’s life that was unknown up until now: his sad marriage.

Murakami makes numerous comments directly and indirectly about his wife and their life together, and after reading all of them you really start to feel sorry for the guy.

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“We should apologize” – Authors Murakami and Hyakuta engage in war of words over words of war

Haruki Murakami and Naoki Hyakuta are two of Japan’s most popular writers. Murakami is the author of such international bestsellers as Norwegian Wood and 1Q84 and is currently a prolific and outspoken blogger on a range of topics from the meaning of life to nuclear power. Hyakuta, on the other hand, is the writer of domestic hits such as Eien no Zero (The Eternal Zero) and Monsuta (Monster) and currently a passionate Twitter user putting out 140-character quips on everything from masturbation to Asian international relations.

Hyakuta also had some sour tweets aimed at Murakami following an interview which at one point dealt with the issue of Japan acknowledging and apologizing for its actions during World War II.

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Haruki Murakami’s solution to the nuclear power debate in Japan: Actually call it “nuclear power”

You may have heard that legendary Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami runs a blog where he answers questions sent in by readers. He’s tackled subjects ranging from the meaning of life to how to become a writer to what animal ability he’d like to have.

In one of his most recent questions, Murakami gives his opinion on a very touchy subject in Japan: nuclear power. Instead of calling out for reform or regulations though, he suggests one very simple change: that Japanese people refer to what they currently call “atomic energy power plants” as “nuclear power plants” instead.

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Haruki Murakami answers the question, “What is the meaning of life?”

For the last few months, internationally celebrated writer Haruki Murakami has been fielding questions about, well, just about anything on his personal website. A lot of the inquiries sent his way are, predictably, about the creative writing process, but Murakami has also shown an amicable willingness to chat about such myriad subjects as romance, cats, baseball, and donuts.

From the beginning, though, Murakami said he’d only be keeping the question and answer portion of the site running until the end of March. With the project winding down, one fan decided to write in with a fittingly comprehensive query: What’s the meaning of life?

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Teen whose Frozen chalkboard art went viral gets an art commission before a high school diploma

A while back, we took a look at an amazing piece of artwork by student and Twitter user Rena Rena. Almost finished with her last year of high school, Rena realized her opportunities to indulge in youthful abandon were about to become that much scarcer, so she grabbed a piece of chalk and drew an amazing scene of Frozen’s Elsa standing on a snowy mountaintop.

Two months later, it looks like Rena’s life has indeed become so busy that she has no time for such ambitious amateur chalkboard art projects. On the bright side, that’s because she’s now doing professional chalkboard art, having been commissioned to create the cover to the newest book from one of Japan’s most celebrated fantasy authors.

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Having trouble writing your paper? Just copy it! This Japanese professor wants you to!

For many students, the Internet is an amazing resource for writing papers. All the information is right at your fingertips and can all be found so very quickly. The most difficult part of using the Internet for research is resisting the urge to use that beautiful phrase you just found verbatim. You have to carefully rework the sentence and put it in your own words to avoid being accused of plagiarism.

But what if your professor explicitly asks you to plagiarize a paper? What if they ask for at least 2,000 words of someone else’s work, word for word? Just such an assignment was given to a class in Osaka University’s Literature Department.

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Check out these doodles by legendary Japanese author Osamu Dazai!

From the Heian period to today, Japan has had more than its fair share of great writers. While Ki no Tsurayuki and Murasaki Shikibu are this humble writer’s favorite members of the Japanese literati, today we’re talking about someone a bit more modern: Osamu Dazai. Famous for his first-person and often morose stories, such as the world-famous novel No Longer Human, Dazai was one of the more troubled figures of Japanese literature–and he eventually died in a double suicide when only 38 years old.

Considering his turbulent life, it’s probably no surprise that his classroom doodles, drawn in his English and Ethics notebooks, are so fascinating! Even if you’ve never read a single word by the author, you still won’t want to miss these drawings.

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Got a question for Haruki Murakami? Website lets you ask the author directly, and in English, too

Earlier this month, we talked about a piece of not-so-helpful advice celebrated author Haruki Murakami gave to a fan about what makes a great writer. Murakami just his write-in website this month, though, and given that he’s sort of new at dishing out direct advice to his admirers, maybe we should cut him a little slack while he’s still getting the hang of it.

Then again, we’re not sure even the most experienced advice columnists could come up with considerate and helpful responses to some of the oddball questions Murakami has been getting. Thankfully, even if he can’t always help out those who write to him, he can at least give a laugh to everyone else who reads his responses. Even better, if you act quickly, you could ask him a question of your own, even if you don’t speak Japanese.

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French literature classic ‘The Little Prince’ coming soon to cinemas as an animated film!

Calling all movie-goers, animation fans and literature enthusiasts! It’s not often that we get the chance to pique the interest of individuals from these three groups all at the same time, but the animated version of The Little Prince, one of the most famed pieces of French literature of our time, is set to hit the big screens in the later half of this year! If you haven’t already seen the trailer, read on and get ready to be mesmerized!

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Haruki Murakami’s advice on how to be a great writer: Be born with talent

Among contemporary writers, there’s no Japanese author with a bigger international following than Haruki Murakami. The novelist and translator is also highly respected within his home country, as Japan holds an especially deep respect for any of its citizens who succeed in making a name for themselves on the international stage.

As such, we imagine one young graduate student was hoping for some sage advice when she contacted Murakami and asked him for pointers on how to become a better writer. The response she got was as surprising, unique, and challenging as Murakami’s books themselves.

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Guri and Gura, the classic children’s book that’s a little bit different in every country

First published back in 1963, Rieko Nakagawa and Yuriko Omura’s Guri to Gura is one of Japan’s most beloved children’s books. Nearly every adult and child in the country has read or been read the story and has been enchanted by the tale of two mice who overcome one of the cutest logistical problems ever in order to cook up a cake big enough to last a whole day.

Over the years, the book has been translated into dozens of languages, from English to Esperanto, to the point that few now realise the story originally come from Japan. Hawk-eyed netizens in Japan have noticed, however, that in some versions of the delightful tale the dish the field mice cook up at the end of the story changes depending on the country in which the book is published. Let’s take a look to see how Guri and Gura differs the world over.

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How the Expired Copyright License of Old Literary Works Could Keep Japan’s Cultural Soil Fertile

When it comes to reading famous literary works whose copyright license has expired, there is one piece of software that is renowned for doing the job rather well. It goes by the name of “Aozora Bunko” and is a digital contents reader available on a wide variety of devices; there’s even a version available for smart phone users. It is currently host to a plethora of copyright-free material rich in Japanese history and culture. What’s particularly exciting is that the more time goes by, the more the library of works can be seen to grow.

Anyone with an interest in old Japanese masterpieces – and can read Japanese – will surely be lured in by what this software has to offer. In this connection, on January 1 this year, the legendary writer Eiji Yoshikawa’s work “Miyamoto Musashi” is also set to be added to the collection. Miyamoto Musashi is a bestselling novel depicting the life of legendary samurai Musashi Miyamoto, who actually existed during the Japanese Edo era.

Just what makes all this free content possible is the rule that governs copyright licensing laws: 50 years after an author has passed away, copyrighted works are released freely into the public domain.

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Just last week while picking up milk at my local 7-Eleven, I found myself chuckling at the sight of a teenage boy trying to peek at the adult magazines arranged on the rank right beside the comic books. I had to admire his technique as he stood holding a weekly manga collection open in front of him while staring, unblinking and open-mouthed, at the covers of the naughty magazines to his right.

Alas, this young man and thousands like him could soon be reduced to checking out far more explicit and abundant images of girls via the internet as “a certain convenience store” is rumoured to be clearing its naughty magazine section away very soon.

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